“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law last month, will dedicate more than $1.5 billion to the U.S. EPA Brownfields program. The Act includes hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to Multipurpose Grants, Assessment Grants, Cleanup Grants, Revolving Loan Fund Grants, and technical assistance intended to improve equity, create jobs, and mitigate environmental degradation.”
CCLR has provided the expected breakdown and timelines from EPA. The EPA has hundreds of millions of dollars allocated for FY22 that will be applied for in July and awarded in November 2022. This timeline is different and with much larger individual grants possible, up to $10mil per grant.
SCS Engineers has a stellar win rate for brownfields grant writing and implementing brownfields programs. Please let our brownfields and remediation experts know if you have any questions or if we can provide assistance in grant support.
The live webinar is recorded and available on-demand below.
The affordable housing crisis, exacerbated by the global pandemic, has widened the economic gap between Americans. A large part of the solution to close the gap is in funding for developing affordable housing. Recently, two brand new state funding sources have become available.
Join our panel of experts…
as they discuss new and existing state and federal resources available for the development of affordable housing, such as:
The notice of funding availability is released, and the Pre-Qualifying Application Round for the DTSC ECRG grants is open through December 7, 2021. DTSC plans to launch the full ECRG application in the spring of 2022. Participants are encouraged to apply for pre-qualification. The program gives California communities an unprecedented opportunity to address historic environmental injustices. Use the funding to set a new land-use path with immediate and lasting benefits, such as parks and other green spaces, commercial enterprises, and affordable housing. ECRG funding is available to help California local governments, qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, and tribes to conduct community-wide assessments, environmental investigations, and cleanup.
DTSC is accepting Pre-Qualifying Applications now! Don’t miss this unprecedented opportunity to combine public and private resources to address persistent environmental injustices and set a new land-use path that will have immediate and lasting benefits for California communities.
SAVE THE DATE! Be a part of the 2021 Florida Redevelopment Association Annual Conference at the brand new Luminary Hotel & Co. in Fort Myers, FL, October 27-29, 2021 (Exhibit dates October 27 & 28).
Network with some 300 redevelopment professionals, elected officials, and appointed officials who oversee redevelopment (economic development) programs in Florida cities and counties, and community redevelopment agencies/CRAs. The Conference addresses:
The conference is co-sponsored by the Florida Redevelopment Association Annual Conference and the Florida League of Cities.
Previously recorded – now on-demand
Complimentary Registration for CCIM Institute Members and Non-members
This CCIM webinar on overcoming environmental challenges in real estate transactions is being hosted by the San Diego chapter of CCIM to better understand:
Start at 8:14 to skip housekeeping and introductions.
The panel of experts includes:
Progressive energy companies are rushing to corner the growing hydrogen market, excited as they see this renewable fuel’s cost steadily drop and as they prioritize decarbonization.
As they work to stay ahead of the pack, they need to put time and thought into building out and implementing these projects. There are complex technical and regulatory considerations; safety is also priority one at every step when managing this flammable, compressed gas.
As the market takes off, there is a need for scaled development along the whole supply chain, and some developers are rising to the occasion for more control and more opportunity. Rather than only build fueling stations, they buy into vertically integrated hydrogen networks to produce, transport and distribute hydrogen. But these multifaceted projects present even more complexity— calling for a team with highly specialized, comprehensive skill sets.
SCS Engineers supports energy companies and contractors looking to diversify their hydrogen services portfolio to include building production plants, including moving the gas via pipeline or truck to offload at fueling stations, ultimately selling to consumers.
“We enter these strategic partnerships to give our clients what they are looking for: a full spectrum of competencies and services; and a proven history of working on hydrogen to deliver turnkey projects. The idea is to take the environmental burden off clients as they pursue these major undertakings,” says Nathan Eady, an SCS vice president, and project manager.
SCS makes site selection; performs environmental due diligence and remediation; feasibility analysis; design and construction of environmental controls; land use, air, and water quality permitting.
The contractors’ specializations are detailed design, engineering, and construction management–from civil to structural to mechanical and fire protection.
This team meets all environmental and regulatory design requirements and develops process safety management and risk management plans with their combined expertise. They also take on the role of community educator, explaining the unique attributes of hydrogen and easing any concerns.
“We take science and engineering and translate that for neighbors and city councils. It’s important to show communities, as well as regulators, that these facilities are designed and operated with the utmost safety,” Eady says.
Requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. But with a national reach, SCS sails through processes and regulations by region.
“That matters to our clients; they want to get through the detailed permitting steps and launch as soon as they can to maintain their competitive edge. And when they plan to expand into other regions, they like to know they already have a vetted team in place who knows the territory and can do the work there,” he says.
Permitting and technical considerations vary by location and production method, whether via steam methane reforming (SMR) or electrolysis.
Some operators are taken off-guard by the air quality permitting requirements associated with SMR facilities − or the stringent wildlife and water quality regulations encountered with the larger footprint photovoltaic systems requiring open space to support electrolysis. SCS has the expertise to address the issues, whether state-specific cap and trade regulations for carbon emissions or air basin specific criteria pollutants. SCS also has the unique talent of finding brownfield sites or closed landfill properties, making excellent receiver sites for electrolysis and solar facilities near existing infrastructure.
Building hydrogen projects on these idle properties can save developers significant time and money in the overall project outcome.
“We do a lot of brownfield work helping to clean and redevelop these properties. These sites have special permitting considerations, especially since they typically have a history of industrial use,” Eady says.
SCS performs Phase I Assessments to research records on previous use, and if the team finds a potential problem, they move to Phase II, which entails groundwater and soil testing.
“If we find evidence of existing contamination, we reconcile it so our clients can move forward with the development of their new facilities,” Eady says.
SCS is seeing a growing interest in building hydrogen projects on closed landfills. As brownfields, they have value for their open space and often have some existing infrastructure, offsetting the cost of building new.
“We have done permitting and design work on several closed landfills, sometimes adding solar systems. Hydrogen projects leveraging electrolysis require a tremendous amount of electricity, and when we can bypass the grid enabling clients to make their own electricity, it’s a major plus,” Eady says.
Lately, large energy companies are pivoting from conventional oil and gas to hydrogen, and some smaller, young companies are also joining the clean renewables movement.
SCS has gotten interest from startups looking to obtain government grants and subsidies. Some of these firms need more process engineering support to ensure their new technology can operate at a cost and environmental efficacy equivalent to larger operations.
“We use our knowledge gained working with major conventional energy companies to support these new hydrogen firms in executing successful launches. All in all, a positive trend.”
Together, SCS and its partners play an integral role in helping to see hydrogen continue to climb the energy sector ranks, maintaining an excellent record of accomplishment supporting the planning-design-build of clean-energy plants.
Popular Mechanics recently published an article entitled The Pungent History of America’s Garbage Mountains. The article starts with a little-known ferryman on Lake Michigan when a storm beached his craft on an oﬀshore sandbar in July 1886. Thus started Chicago’s open dump on today’s Lake Shore Drive, home to landmarks such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Wrigley Building, the Chicago Tribune Tower, Northwestern University, and the Magniﬁcent Mile – all on turn-of-the-century garbage.
Transportation centers, stadiums, and even entire neighborhoods are now built on landﬁlls. This is a fascinating, well-written article on the history and possibilities of building on remediated properties and brownfields.
“Landﬁll redevelopment projects tend to be real estate projects, and you know what matters in real estate: location, location, location,” says Mike McLaughlin of SCS Engineers, who specializes in brownﬁelds and landﬁll redevelopment. “A landﬁll in an urban area might be the only piece of open land in that area. People go to extraordinary lengths to redevelop because the property is so valuable.”
The Florida Engineering Society (FES) and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida (ACEC-FL) promote professional engineers in Florida. FES and ACEC support engineering education, advocate licensure, promote the ethical and competent practice of engineering, and further the public’s knowledge and understanding of the profession’s importance.
These firms create innovative solutions while upholding their responsibility to the public’s health, safety, and wellbeing.
Michael W. (Mike) McLaughlin has been elected to the Virginia State Bar Environmental Law Section Board of Governors. His four-year term began on July 1. Mike began his career with SCS as a summer intern as a rising sophomore at Virginia Tech. After receiving his civil (environmental) engineering degree, he received his J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of law. He has been with SCS ever since, applying his combination of law, science, and engineering expertise to environmental matters. His knowledge helps businesses and communities protect air, water, and land resources while serving the needs of their clients or constituents.
McLaughlin recalls his early career choices: “It was exciting to work on some of the earliest research projects sponsored by the then-new Environmental Protection Agency. I chose W&L Law because it had Professor Andrew (Uncas) McThenia on its faculty. Uncas was a Virginia State Water Control Board member and taught one of the few environmental law classes in the country. When I told him he was the reason I came to W&L, Uncas apologized and said he would not teach environmental law anymore—the field had too much politics involved. That was an early and important lesson for me.
“Not to worry,” says Mike. “Turner Smith of the Hunton & Williams law firm taught the environmental law class; he was one of the country’s most well-known Clean Air Act attorneys. His knowledge of the subject matter and teaching ability inspired several of us to seek careers in the field.”
Mike is SCS Engineers’ Senior Vice President of Environmental Services. He advises developers, contractors, lenders, and land development professionals on the technical and regulatory requirements for construction on brownfield sites nationwide. Landfill redevelopment is an area of special interest. His combined engineering and legal background provides an unusual perspective on land development where hazardous wastes or other environmental challenges are present.
In addition to his extensive brownfield redevelopment experience in North America, Mike has worked at more than three dozen Superfund National Priorities List sites in 17 states and on scores of regulatory compliance, voluntary cleanup, and remediation projects for commercial, industrial, municipal, and military clients. His work for electric utilities began in 1980 with research on upgrading solid waste management and has evolved to support greenhouse gas mitigation measures and support the transition to renewable energy.
Mike’s new role with the VSB builds on his decades of experience with the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, where he is completing a two-year term as Budget Officer and a member of the Executive Committee.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021. It provides funds to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID–19 pandemic. To learn more about the ARP, read the House Bill.
EPA is assisting under-resourced communities by quickly getting out ARP funding to leverage important programs that improve air quality, drinking water, revitalization of brownfields, diesel emissions from buses in low-income communities and communities of color. In addition, the agency is awarding its first competitive grants focusing directly on the unequal impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations.
Projects include training, developing citizen-science tools, pollution monitoring, and educational campaigns to enable EJ advocates such as SCS Engineers, scientists, and decision-makers to address pollution and create thriving communities.
Funding currently being distributed totals approximately $2.8 million for 14 EJ-focused projects, with more to be announced soon throughout the country. In addition to the Baltimore City grant, today’s announcement includes funding for the following projects in underserved communities:
EPA also announced for the first time how the agency would distribute the $50 million in ARP funds.
A breakdown is provided below:
The main thoroughfare in Madison, Wisconsin, leading to the state capitol, is going through a major renaissance. Once an idle brownfield, and before that an active industrial-commercial area, the entire block has now been converted to residential, commercial, and office spaces, as well as a youth art center. After extensive due diligence to assess, then successfully remediate significant adverse environmental conditions from past uses, the property’s new mixed-use buildings are open for occupancy. The community art center opens in 2021.
The block formerly housed a dairy operation, gas station, auto maintenance shops, a print shop, and a dry cleaner. These past uses and the historic fill placed on the property resulted in chlorinated solvents, petroleum, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and heavy metal contamination.
Remediating and mitigating environmental contamination and redeveloping brownfields like this one into vibrant, revenue-generating community assets takes pooled expertise from multiple disciplines, including hydrogeology and environmental engineering.
While these projects can provide high value for communities long into the future, they are complex and require large investments up front, explains Ray Tierney, an SCS vice president. Having a team that gets a full picture of the property’s environmental condition, knows regulators’ expectations, and can identify technically sound, cost-effective remediation and mitigation approaches can translate to substantial money savings.
In this case, a solid knowledge base and vetting key details resulted in seven-digit figure savings and facilitated prized redevelopments.
“We identified the amount of soil and groundwater contamination, evaluated strategies to best address the issues, and came up with a cost estimate for remediation. Based on the estimate, along with documentation validating the scientific rationale for our recommendations, the seller reduced their price to account for the legacy environmental liabilities which the purchaser agreed to accept and address as part of the property’s redevelopment.”
SCS Engineers assessed for contamination; oversaw the management of contaminated soil and groundwater during construction according to the materials management plan; supported the client in securing grants, permits and documented compliance with the approved planning documents.
For this project, as is often true in historic urban areas, the greatest expense was dealing with widespread contamination found in the historic fill soils and with groundwater issues.
“Our client is obligated to handle contaminated materials properly. We plan and permit the proper procedures, work with contractors to facilitate the work, documenting that procedures and plans are followed while making sure they only invest what is necessary to be judicious in protecting the environment and public health,” says the SCS Project Manager and Geologist Dr. Betty Socha.
During construction, Socha’s team was onsite to assist contractors in complying with environmental plans and permits, documenting that activities were completed safely and in compliance with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) expectations. The team oversaw soil removal and management during site demolition and construction of the foundation, including piles and a structural slab. This support system reduces the geotechnical requirement of the underlying soils to reuse more onsite soil safely. But knowing what soil is acceptable and orchestrating the separation of contaminated and non-contaminated materials takes specialized expertise and skill.
“During construction, we evaluate soil conditions, so contaminated soil is safely disposed of at a landfill. But landfilling large volumes of soil is a considerable expense, so it’s important to determine what is safe to be segregated as clean soils for reuse elsewhere. Knowing how to do this efficiently will minimize disposal costs and maximize the use of valued resources,” Socha says.
Getting a handle on groundwater conditions and identifying the best management strategy requires equal attention.
“This property sits on a strip of land (an Isthmus) between two large and prized lakes, with a shallow water table. We thoroughly assessed the groundwater (aka, hydrogeologic) site conditions and managed groundwater generated during construction and dewatering activities,” says Tierney.
“We documented the extent of contamination, and the WDNR confirmed our evaluation that no additional remedial groundwater treatment systems were needed. We could show the contamination was contained enough to pose no risk to municipal wells, private wells, surface water, or other sensitive environments. However, the client still needed a permit to dispose of the contaminated groundwater generated during dewatering for construction of the building foundation and underground utilities,” says Tierney.
Major brownfield redevelopment projects are involved with multistep processes. They begin with a Phase I Environmental Assessment entailing an inspection of the property and a historical review.
That’s where SCS initially identifies potential or existing environmental liabilities from contamination. Then the team confirms the presence of multiple soil and groundwater contaminants through a Phase II Assessment, involving collecting and analyzing soil and groundwater samples.
Next comes a site investigation, a robust testing program to see exactly what is going on. This is where the team further defines contamination, locations, how far it spread, and concentrations. That information lays the groundwork for developing the remedial action plan to file with the WDNR. The team then works with the redevelopment contractors to seamlessly and concurrently manage both the property’s remediation and the buildings’ construction.
In Madison, Socha, Tierney, and their team also helped the developer apply for and win a $500,000 brownfield grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a practice that is as much an art as a science. Additional public support for the project was also received through tax incremental financing (TIF) and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) tax credits for low‐income housing.
“We merge our technical backgrounds to show the land has the potential to be turned into a strong asset that addresses the legacy environmental contamination, promotes public health, and delivers a high-value property that pays taxes and supports important city services,” says Tierney.
It takes technical horsepower to show regulators just how you are addressing contamination. You need to show the economic development group awarding the grant that the project will create well-paid jobs and tax revenue. Equally important, it must be shown that the redevelopment helps address a community need for affordable workforce housing and additional market-based housing,” Tierney says.
Tenants have already moved into the two 11-story mixed-use buildings. In addition, The Madison Youth Arts Center (MYAC) is slated to open in early summer, with a grand opening ceremony this fall. The MYAC includes classrooms, offices, rehearsal spaces, and a 300-seat auditorium.
The final project showcases the heartbeat of this popular downtown space situated between two large lakes, with features such as a rooftop terrace, plazas with seating and green space, and soon to come are 3D urban art installations and murals that tell the story of this long-lived community.
“The redevelopment of brownfields and the creation of projects like the Lyric and the Arden align with the City of Madison’s Performance Excellence Framework Vision of Our Madison – Inclusive, Innovate, and Thriving. These types of redevelopment projects help the City act as a responsible steward of our natural, economic, and fiscal resources. While making efficient use of land and cleaning up brownfields, the City is able to provide workforce housing, job opportunities, and cultural venues, all while enhancing the City’s tax base,” says Dan Rolfs, the Community Development Project Manager for the City of Madison’s Office of Real Estate Services – Economic Development Division.
It takes a village, or in this case – a City, to revitalize an urban brownfield!
Brownfields Resources to Organize, Educate, and Implement Plans in Your Community