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Brownfields

Montana's Brownfields Programs

The Montana DEQ’s Brownfields Program works collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to address Hazardous Substance and Petroleum Brownfields sites across Montana. The program provides both technical and financial expertise on the assessment and cleanup of Brownfields properties. DEQ’s Brownfields Program also provides grant writing assistance, outreach, and workshops for communities interested in Brownfields. 


Petroleum Brownfields Program

DEQ’s Petroleum Brownfields Program is part of the Petroleum Tank Cleanup Section which directs and oversees cleanup of petroleum releases. The Petroleum Brownfields Program assiasts landowners and potential purchasers by determining if their former gas station is eligible for their Petroleum Brownfields funding. The Petroleum Brownfields Program works closely with the Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board (PTRCB) which can be leveraged with Brownfields funding to provide financial assistance for eligible corrective action cleanup costs. The Petroleum Brownfields Program also assists property owners and communities with sites that are approaching an enforcement action through the Petroleum Tank Cleanup Section.


Hazardous Substance Brownfields Program

DEQ’s Hazardous Substance Brownfields Program is part of the Cleanup, Protection, and Redevelopment Section which addresses multiple types of contaminated properties. The Hazardous Substance Brownfields Program personnel work on both State Superfund and Brownfields Voluntary Cleanup Facilities ranging from multiple acre industrial facilities to lead-paint and asbestos contaminated historic structures. The Hazardous Substance Brownfields Program provides regulatory oversight for the assessment and cleanup of sites using Brownfields funding. In addition, personnel have assisted communities apply for and manage non-Brownfields grants to address publically owned contaminated properties.

Contacts

Brownfields 

DEQ’s Brownfields Coordinator
Jason Seyler (406) 444-6447

DEQ’s Petroleum Brownfields Coordinator
Brandon Kingsbury (406) 444-6547

CPR Section Supervisor
Katie Morris (406) 541-9017

 

EPA awards brownfields grant funding to communities throughout the United States. These grants support revitalization efforts by funding environmental assessment, cleanup, and job training activities.

  • Brownfields Assessment Grants - provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments, and community outreach.
  • Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants - provide funding to capitalize loans and grants used to clean up brownfields.
  • Brownfields Job Training Grants - provide funding to conduct environmental training for residents of brownfields communities.
  • Brownfields Cleanup Grants - provide direct funding for cleanup activities at brownfield sites.

More information on each type of grant is provided below.

These grants are awarded annually through a competitive process with the grant deadline sometime each fall. Eligible applicants must submit a grant proposal that addresses all the requirements detailed in EPA’s proposal guidelines. Proposals are evaluated and ranked by evaluation panels. These panels evaluate each proposal according to set criteria. The highest-ranking proposals are then awarded grants.

EPA awards separate grants for assessment and cleanup of properties that have been contaminated with hazardous substances and those properties that are contaminated with petroleum products. Examples of hazardous substances include asbestos, solvents, metals and controlled substances such as methamphetamine. Petroleum-contaminated properties are commonly abandoned gas stations with underground storage tanks, as well as properties with aboveground storage tanks, such as bulk plants. Some properties may be contaminated with a mix of both hazardous substances and petroleum contamination. For these properties with ‘co-mingled’ contamination, EPA allows applicants to apply for two grants for the same property, or apply for a hazardous substance grant for co-mingled contaminants.

Grant Guidelines are available for downloading in either HTML or PDF format.

In order to apply for a grant, the site must meet certain qualifications:

  • Be a clear benefit to the community
  • Applicant must not have contributed to the contamination
  • Must meet the definition of a brownfields site

Additional petroleum site requirements:

  • Be of “relatively low-risk” compared with other petroleum only sites in the state
  • Have “no viable responsible party”
  • Be assessed, investigated, or cleaned up by a person not potentially liable for the contamination
  • Not be subject to a corrective action order under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Not be funded by the leaking underground storage tank trust fund (LUST Trust)

Sites not eligible:

  • Sites listed or proposed for listing on the National Priorities List (Federal Superfund)
  • Sites subject to unilateral administrative orders, court orders, administrative orders on consent or judicial consent decrees issued to or entered into by parties under CERCLA
  • Sites that are subject to the jurisdiction, custody or control of the United States Government

Eligible Applicants

Type of Applicant Assessment RLF Remedial Cleanup Job Training

Local governments

X

X

X

X

Land clearance authority or other quasi-governmental entity that operates under the supervision and control of, or as an agent of local government

X

X

X

X

Government entity created by state legislature

X

X

X

X

Regional councils

X

X

X

X

Redevelopment agencies sanctioned by the State of Montana

X

X

X

X

The State of Montana

X

X

X

X

Indian tribes

X

X

X

X

Nonprofit organizations

 

 

X

X

Brownfields Assessment Grants

Assessment grants provide funds for inventory, characterization and assessment of brownfields properties. Assessment grant funds may also be used to develop cleanup plans and conduct community involvement related to brownfield properties. Assessment grants may not be used for actual cleanup. Assessment grants may be used to address sites contaminated by petroleum or hazardous substances, including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum. An entity may apply for a community-wide or site-specific grant. Community-wide assessment grant funding can be used to conduct a number of assessments on more than one property. Site-specific grant funding can only be used on the site identified in the grant application. The performance period for these grants is three years.

Assessment grant applicants may apply for up to $200,000. Applicants may seek a waiver to this limit and request up to $350,000. Such waivers must be based on the anticipated level of contaminants at a single site.


Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants

Eligible entities may apply for grant funding to establish a revolving loan fund. An RLF works by lending money to public and private borrowers to finance cleanup at brownfields properties. Loan payments of the principal and interest are then paid back into the RLF loan fund pool by the borrowers. An RLF may be capitalized for up to $1 million and the performance period is 5 years.

In addition to loans, a portion of the loan pool may be used for subgrants to eligible entities and nonprofit organizations. These subgrants do not require repayment to the loan pool. RLF subgrant applicants must own the site for which they are seeking funding by the time the award is made. RLF loans and subgrants may only be used for cleanup activities at eligible brownfields sites.


Brownfields Cleanup Grants

Cleanup grants provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. An eligible entity may apply for up to $200,000 per site. No entity should apply for more than five cleanup grants. Cleanup grant applicants must also own the site for which they are seeking funding by the time the award is made. Cleanup grants may be used to address sites contaminated by petroleum or hazardous substances, including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum. The performance period for these grants is three years.

Cleanup grants require a 20 percent cost share of the amount of funding provided by EPA. The cost share may be in the form of a contribution of money, labor, material, or services, and must be for eligible and allowable costs. The cost share cannot include administrative costs or be matched by other federal grant funds. A cleanup grant applicant may request a waiver of the 20 percent cost share requirement based on hardship.


Brownfields Job Training Grants

Training grants provide funding for environmental job training projects that will facilitate site assessments, remediation of brownfields properties, community involvement, or site preparation. To help ensure that economic benefits derived from brownfields revitalization efforts remain in local neighborhoods, EPA requires that job training grant applicants propose to serve a community that currently receives, or has received financial assistance from EPA’s other brownfields competitive grants. Training grants are intended to foster employment of trainees from socio-economically disadvantaged communities, provide quality worker-training, and give local residents an opportunity to qualify for jobs developed in environmental fields as a result of brownfields efforts.

An eligible entity may apply for up to $200,000. The project must be completed within 12 to 24 months.

What is a Brownfields?

 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines brownfields as 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.

How do I know if my site is eligible to receive Brownfields funding?

 To be eligible for Brownfields funding the grantee must be: a governmental entity, tribe, or certified regional development corporation. In addition, other criteria that must be met are:
1.    The proposed project must be a clear benefit to the community
2.    The prospective grantee must not have contributed to the contamination
3.    Assistance is crucial to the redevelopment or reuse of the site

Also, if the site is contaminated with petroleum products, the site must:

1.    be of “relatively low-risk” compared to other petroleum-contaminated sites in the state
2.    have “no viable responsible party”
3.    be assessed, investigated, or cleaned up by a person not potentially liable for the contamination,
4.    not be subject to a corrective action order under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

How do I determine if a site is eligible to receive Brownfields funding?

1.    If the site is a hazardous substance site, the determination is made by the EPA Brownfields Program
2.    If the site is a petroleum contaminated site, the determination is made by DEQ. Please consult DEQ’s Petroleum Brownfields Guidance document and submit the petroleum Brownfields eligibility determination form and submit to DEQ’s petroleum Brownfields Coordinator.

How long does it take DEQ to make a petroleum Brownfields eligibility determination?

Complete and accurate eligibility forms enable DEQ to make a determination in less than 30 days. To expedite DEQ’s review process, all questions regarding a site’s eligibility should be directed to DEQ’s petroleum Brownfields Coordinator.

How do I apply for Brownfields funding and what can it be used for? 

There are multiple funding mechanisms from which you can apply for brownfields funding:

1.    Montana Targeted Brownfields Assessments: For a Montana targeted brownfields assessment, DEQ will hire one of its contractors to conduct an assessment of the property in question. An assessment may include a phase I assessment, phase II assessment and/or the establishment of cleanup options. Currently, DEQ will only consider targeted brownfields assessments for sites it is currently working on. Please contact DEQ to discuss its ability to conduct an assessment on the property in question. Then please submit the MT TBA application.

2.    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Targeted Brownfields Assessments: For an EPA targeted brownfields assessment, EPA will hire one of its contractors to conduct an assessment of the property in question. An assessment may include a phase I assessment, phase II assessment and/or the establishment of cleanup options. The application to apply for an EPA targeted brownfields assessment can be obtained on EPA’s brownfields website at http://www.epa.gov/region08/land_waste/bfhome/bftba.html.
3.    EPA competitive grants: Each year EPA solicits grant applications for assessment, cleanup, revolving loan funds and job training. EPA reviews these grant applications on a national basis and typically awards around $100 million each year. Assessment funding can be used for assessments and the establishment of cleanup options. Cleanup money can be used for actual cleanup of a site. A revolving loan fund can be used to provide grants and low-interest loans for cleanup at sites. Job training grants can be used to provide training regarding different environmental aspects. To find out when the next grant application process begins and to learn how to apply, go to EPA’s brownfields website at http://www.epa.gov/brownfields.
4.    Request from an EPA competitive grantee within your target area either assessment or cleanup funds (which may be either subgranted or provided as a loan from a revolving loan fund). Please see the following link which is a searchable list for current Cities and eligible entities that have Brownfields funding.

Can Brownfields funds be used at a site that is also eligible to receive reimbursement from the petroleum tank cleanup release fund (Petro Fund)?

 
Yes, DEQ encourages the leveraging of multiple funding sources to cleanup and redevelop properties

What are other common sources of funding used at Brownfields sites?


How can I best leverage brownfields grant funds at petroleum sites?

1.  We recommend identifying all potential sources of funding at each site.
2.  We encourage all petroleum brownfields sites to apply for Petro Fund eligibility
3.  If a site is Petro Fund Eligible, grantees may only need to use grant funds to meet the Petro Fund copay, after which time the Petro Fund will reimburse costs deemed actual necessary and reasonable by the Petro Fund up to $1,000,000 . Please note that, grantees may be able to use brownfields funds on tasks that are not eligible for reimbursement from the Petro Fund.
4.    This approach ensures that the greatest quantity of sites can be cleaned up and redeveloped using the limited funding available.

What is All Appropriate Inquiries and what is its role in Brownfields funding?

All appropriate inquiries is the process used by prospective purchasers to evaluate: (1) potential environmental contamination on, at, in or to a parcel of real property; and (2) a prospective purchaser's potential liability for such contamination. The final rule provides standards and practices for conducting all appropriate inquiries. The final rule will increase certainty regarding liability protection, improve information about environmental conditions of properties, increase the number and quality of cleanups, and reduce the use of greenfields.
Congress mandated that EPA develop these standards to ensure that prospective purchasers make sufficient efforts to identify actual and potential releases of hazardous substances at a property before acquisition. The requirement to conduct all appropriate inquiries is one of several statutory criteria required of prospective property owners who wish to claim protection from CERCLA liability, including those purchasers who may seek an innocent landowner defense on the basis that they did not know and had no reason to know of contamination prior to purchase.

Brownfields Partners

Is there a list of Brownfields Partners in Montana that have received Brownfields funding or a list of Certified Regional Economic Development Corporation (CREDC) that can apply for Brownfields Funding?

The following link is a searchable list for current Cities and CREDCs that have Brownfields funding. In addition there is a map and list of all the CREDCs that could apply for Brownfields Funding.

A targeted brownfields assessment is an environmental assessment of a brownfields site. A TBA may consist of a phase I site assessment; a phase II site assessment; and/or development of cleanup plans, including cost estimates. Both DEQ and EPA have funding available for TBAs. For an eligible entity, DEQ or EPA has one of their contractors conduct the work.

A site must meet the following qualifications to be considered for a TBA:

  • Be a clear benefit to the community
  • Applicant must not have contributed to the contamination
  • Must meet the definition of a brownfields site

Additional petroleum site requirements:

  • Be of “relatively low-risk” compared with other petroleum only sites in the state
  • Have “no viable responsible party”
  • Be assessed, investigated, or cleaned up by a person not potentially liable for the contamination
  • Not be subject to a corrective action order under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Not be funded by the leaking underground storage tank trust fund (LUST Trust)

If you are interested in applying for a TBA through DEQ, please contact a brownfields coordinator to discuss site and applicant eligibility. Site and applicant eligibility are determined with the information requested in the DEQ TBA application.

If you are interested in applying for a TBA through the Federal EPA, you must fill out the EPA TBA Application.

Harlowton Railyard and Roundhouse

The DEQ has been working with the City of Harlowton to address the contamination left to the community when the Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul, and Pacific Railroad went bankrupt in 1980. Below are links to the Harlowton Railyard Transformation homepage as well as a story map of a recent planning project funded by EPA’s Brownfields in partnership with Snowy Mountain Economic Development Corporation.