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Hazardous Substance Funding

Ready for Reuse Loan and Grant Program

The RR Program accepts applications for traditional hazardous substance grants and loans year-round. There is no application deadline. We recommend that anyone interested in applying for funding first discuss your project with DNR staff. Please contact Gena Larson to discuss your project.



In order to qualify for this program, an applicant must meet all of the following criteria.

  • The site must meet the federal definition of an eligible brownfield site.
  • Grants: The applicant must be an eligible governmental entity, tribe (or other eligible tribal entity) or an eligible non-profit organization. Also, the applicant must own the site.
  • Loans: The applicant must be an eligible governmental entity.
  • The applicant must have no CERCLA liability for the site. (see Liability tab)
  • Cleanup is for hazardous substance contamination only.
  • The ch. NR 716 Site Investigation for the site is complete, and has been at least submitted to the DNR, if not approved.
  • The applicant has secured financing in place to complete the cleanup and redevelopment.
  • A municipal resolution authorizing the governmental entity to apply for and receive Ready for Reuse funding has been passed. (not applicable to non-profits)

Eligible Sites

An eligible site must meet the federal definition of an eligible brownfield, which is "...real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant." Brownfield sites include all "real property," including residential, as well as commercial and industrial properties.

There are a number of types of sites that are not eligible for funding without a property-specific determination, and other types of sites that are never eligible for funding or a property-specific determination. 

Sites needing a property-specific determination

If you have a site that meets one of these definitions, please contact Gena Larson, who will work with EPA.

  • Facilities subject to planned or ongoing CERCLA removal actions.
  • Facilities that are subject to unilateral administrative orders, court orders, administrative orders on consent or judicial consent decree or to which a permit has been issued by the United States or an authorized state under the Solid Waste Disposal Act (as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)), the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), or the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
  • Facilities subject to corrective action orders under RCRA (sections 3004(u) or 3008(h)) and to which a corrective action permit or order has been issued or modified to require the implementation of corrective measures.
  • Facilities that are land disposal units that have filed a closure notification under subtitle C of RCRA and to which closure requirements have been specified in a closure plan or permit.
  • Facilities where there has been a release of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and are subject to remediation under TSCA.
  • Portions of facilities for which funding for remediation has been obtained from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund.
Sites not eligible
  • Facilities listed (or proposed for listing) on the National Priorities List (NPL).
  • Facilities subject to unilateral administrative orders, court orders, administrative orders on consent or judicial consent decree issued to or entered into by parties under CERCLA.
  • Facilities that are subject to the jurisdiction, custody or control of the United States government. (NOTE: Land held in trust by the United States government for an Indian tribe is eligible for brownfield funding.)

Eligible Applicants


The following entities are eligible to apply for Ready for Reuse grants:

  • general purpose unit of local government, including the following:
    • county, city, town, or village;
    • redevelopment authority under s. 66.1333, Wis. Stats,;
    • community development authority under s. 66.1335, Wis. Stats.;
    • housing authority under s. 66.1201, Wis. Stats.; and
    • any local public authority (including any public and Indian housing agency under the United States Housing Act of 1937), school district, special district, intrastate district, council of governments (whether or not incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under State law), any other regional or interstate government entity, or any agency or instrumentality of a local government.
  • tribe, or other eligible tribal entity under 40 CFR 31.3 [exit DNR]; and
  • nonprofit organizations. (For the purposes of the brownfields grant program, the term "nonprofit organization" means any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other organization that is operated mainly for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purpose in the public interest; is not organized primarily for profit; and uses net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand the operation of the organization. Nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that lobby are not eligible for EPA grant funding.)

Only a "municipality," as defined in s. 67.01(5), Wis. Stats., may apply for a Ready for Reuse loan.


CERCLA liability defenses

The applicant cannot have liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) [exit DNR]:

  1. The applicant may not have caused the contamination and have "no affiliation" with the liable party; and
  2. The applicant may demonstrate that they have no CERCLA (i.e. Superfund) liability by making one or more of the following defenses:
    • Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Defense – for property acquired after January 11, 2002, where proper environmental due diligence was conducted, there is no affiliation with the liable party; and the specified continuing obligations (e.g., compliance with a land use control) are met.
    • Involuntary Acquisition or Transfer Defense – for property involuntarily acquired by or transferred to a governmental agency, such as through tax delinquency, escheat, foreclosure, abandonment, condemnation or slum clearance or blight determinations. This defense is generally available only to governmental entities.
    • Standard Practice for Due Diligence – for property acquired prior to January 11, 2002. This defense is used when the applicant can demonstrate that the level of environmental due diligence conducted prior to acquisition was "standard practice" at that time. The standard for sites purchased in the last several years is a Phase 1 Environmental Assessment conducted in accordance with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) guideline that was the in effect at the time the assessment was conducted.

For more information, also read EPA's Fact Sheet entitled EPA Brownfields Grants, CERCLA Liability, and All Appropriate Inquiries [PDF exit DNR].


First steps

The Ready for Reuse program will only be funding sites that are READY to begin cleanup activities, and have enough secured funding to finish the cleanup. If you feel that you have a project that fits this program, take the following steps as soon as possible.

  • Read the Wisconsin Ready for Reuse Loan and Grant Program Fact Sheet (RR-753) [PDF]
  • Familiarize yourself with state and federal requirements during loan or grant work.
  • Contact Gena Larson to discuss your project.
  • Document eligibility as (1) an eligible applicant, and (2) having no CERCLA liability.
  • Receive DNR approval on a Site Investigation Report;
  • Document financial commitments in place to ensure cleanup activities can be completed within two years.
  • Prepare a budget for the grant or loan, which may only include expenses for work that has not yet been completed.
  • Prepare a municipal resolution to apply for and accept the grant or loan funds.

Application form

The Ready for Reuse Program - Hazardous Substance Loan and Grant Application (Form 4400-238) is available in two formats, PDF and Microsoft Word.

Model municipal resolution

Municipal obligations for loans

In order to be approved for a Ready for Reuse loan, a municipality must agree to issue an obligation authorized under one of the following provisions of Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes as security for the Ready for Reuse loan:

  1. A general obligation Promissory Note issued under s. 67.12.(12), Wis. Stats.
  2. A Note Anticipation Note issued under s. 67.12(1)(b)2, Wis. Stats. which provides as follows:
    • Any municipality may issue municipal obligations in anticipation of receiving proceeds from brownfields revolving loan program loans or grants under the program described in s. 292.72 if the municipality has received written notification from the department of natural resources that the department intends to distribute such proceeds to the municipality. The obligation shall be repaid within 10 years after the original date of the obligation, except that the obligation may be refunded one or more times. Any refundings shall be repaid within 20 years after the original date of the original obligation.
  3. Any other municipal obligation authorized under ch. 67, Wis. Stats.

If you are awarded a grant or loan

If you are awarded a Ready for Reuse loan or grant, DNR staff will work closely with you to begin implementing the project. DO NOT START GRANT OR LOAN-ELIGIBLE CLEANUP ACTIVITIES immediately upon award. Several steps need to be taken before cleanup can occur, including executing a financial agreement with the DNR and performing a 30-day public comment period.

Many of the forms and sample documents you will need during the loan or grant period are contained on our Documents for Borrowers and Grantees page.

Requirements during loan or grant period

Most requirements during a loan or grant period are dictated by the source of the federal funding, EPA's Brownfields Program. Federal requirements include a fair amount of governmental reporting and public participation.

Upon being awarded a grant the local government or tribe must:

  1. Go through step-by-step DNR review and approval of cleanup plans and actions. The associated fees are eligible grant costs.
  2. Complete EPA-mandated 30-day public participation requirements. For detailed information, see the Materials for Borrowers and Grantees page.
  3. Comply with all Federal Terms and Conditions [PDF]. The terms and conditions include, but are not limited to:
    • lobbying and litigation;
    • fair share in contracting;
    • public accommodation;
    • reporting;
    • small business in rural areas;
    • procurement of recycled products;
    • debarment and suspension;
    • recycled paper;
    • worker protection (Davis Bacon); and
    • the Uniform Relocation Act.