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For information on RR Program services and fees, contact:
Judy Fassbender
608-266-7278

Remediation & Redevelopment (RR) Program services and fees

Wisconsin's RR Program assists in the investigation and cleanup of environmental contamination and the redevelopment of contaminated properties. The RR Program is a comprehensive, streamlined program that consolidates many state and federal programs to offer time and cost savings. Since 1998, the program has implemented a legislative directive to collect fees to support certain oversight activities.

Technical Assistance and Environmental Liability Clarification Request Form

This optional form lists 20 types of technical assistance, environmental liability clarifications and specialized agreements and their fees available through the RR Program. It is intended as a convenience for those requesting a written response from the RR Program.

Overview

Program overview

The RR program is responsible for overseeing investigation and cleanup at:

  • brownfield properties and voluntary cleanups;
  • spills of waste or product materials - both new and historic spills;
  • leaking underground storage tanks (LUST);
  • hazardous waste cleanups;
  • closed solid waste facilities; and
  • Superfund sites.

The RR Program generally deals with people in one of the three following situations.

  1. Persons who caused a discharge of a hazardous substance to the environment.
  2. Persons who own/purchased contaminated property.
  3. Persons interested in purchasing a property that may be contaminated. Persons who are interested in purchasing property that may be contaminated are often interested in liability clarifications or exemptions.

Persons who caused a discharge or own contaminated property need to notify DNR and contract with a qualified private environmental consultant to investigate and clean up in accordance with state regulations. Environmental liability has more information about legal responsibility.

Services and assistance

The RR Program provides three basic types of service/assistance.

1. Technical assistance

Persons who caused a discharge or who are responsible for cleaning up a contaminated property receive letters from DNR regarding required environmental actions. For the most part, investigations and cleanups of contaminated soil and groundwater are conducted by private environmental consultants that are hired by the responsible party. These actions are then reviewed by RR program staff. The department also has enforcement authority to compel a party to proceed with an environmental cleanup. A standard cleanup is completed when the department sends a case closure letter.

The NR 700 rule series, Wis. Adm. Code, defines acceptable environmental response actions. Program staff are not able to provide technical assistance on all aspects of each cleanup, but responsible persons may pay fees for specific technical assistance, such as work plans, site investigations, remedial action plans, monitoring, negotiated schedules, and requests for case closure. Please see the Fees tab for a list of fees for technical assistance, and the Technical Assistance and Environmental Liability Clarification Request (Form 4400-237) [PDF].

2. Liability exemptions

Local Government Unit Liability Exemption

Local governments can use their authority to acquire title to brownfield properties without concern about environmental liability after taking ownership. The 1993 Land Recycling Law (Wisconsin Act 453) and the 1997-1999 and 1999-2001 state budget bills created incentives for local governments and certain economic development organizations to acquire property through specific measures that do not incur environmental liability.

Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE)

This is a fee-based option for owners, purchasers, local governments and others to become exempt from future liability for contamination that has been satisfactorily cleaned up.

Lender Liability Exemption

Lenders and representatives may also finance the purchase of known or suspected contaminated land without liability due to the Land Recycling Law. To be eligible for the lender liability exemption, a lender foreclosing on property with potential environmental contamination must comply with all requirements of the lender liability statute.

Impacted Neighbor Off-Site Exemption

The off-site exemption, s. 292.13 Wis. Stats., helps property owners and prospective purchasers understand who is liable when contamination has crossed a property line and impacted neighboring properties. In general, persons in Wisconsin who own contaminated land are responsible for the environmental cleanup. However, this exemption allows neighboring property owners to submit information demonstrating that the contamination came from another property and to obtain written confirmation from DNR that they are not liable for the cleanup.

3. Liability clarifications

These letters may help property owners, neighbors, or persons interested in purchasing property complete business, real estate or financial transactions by providing written clarification of their environmental liability. For more information on a specific letter or an application form, click on the links below.

If you are interested in a liability clarification letter please contact our regional staff, who are assigned to specific geographic areas.

Fees

Fees

Chapter NR 749, Wis. Adm. Code, "Fees for Providing Assistance; Remediation and Redevelopment Program," establishes fees for assistance requested by those undertaking cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties. These fees are based on the average amount of time necessary to perform reviews.

Fees for sites in the Voluntary Party Liability Exemptions (VPLE) process are established in chapter NR 750. Read chapters NR 749 and NR 750.

How to pay fees

You can pay fees by check or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT/ACH). Consult the chart below or NR 749 for fee amounts.

NR 749 fee schedule

The table below provides a list of common RR Program fees. For a printable version of program fees please see the Remediation and Redevelopment Program Fee Schedule (RR-966) [PDF].

Type of Letter or Assistance Fee ($)
Closure under ch. NR 726 1,050
Closure GIS Fee - soil 300
Closure GIS Fee - groundwater/monitoring wells need abandonment 350
Exemption to Build on Historic Fill Sites 700
General Liability Clarification Letters 700
Lease Letters - Multiple Properties 1,400
Lease Letters - Single Properties 700
Lender Liability Assessments 700
Long-term Monitoring Plans 425
Modification or removal of site on closure databse 1,050
Negotiated Agreement Cleanup Schedule 1,400
No Further Action Letters under ch. NR 708 350
Off-site Letters 700
Operation and Maintenance Reports 425
Other Technical Assistance 700
Remedial Action Design Reports 1,050
Remedial Action Documentation Report 350
Remedial Action Options Report 1,050
Site Investigation Report 1,050
Site Investigation Workplan 700
Site Specific Soil Cleanup Standards 1,050
Tax Assignment Agreement 700
Tax Cancellation Agreement 700

FAQ

Frequently asked questions about fees

1. How are fees paid under NR 750 for Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) sites?

There is a $250 VPLE application fee, then DNR takes hourly fees from a deposit made by the applicant. Please visit Voluntary Party Cleanup for more information about this option. When paying fees under NR 750, the fees listed in NR 749 do not apply in most cases.

2. When are fees required under NR 749?

Fees are required anytime a person specifically requests that the RR Program review and respond to a submittal in writing. If a responsible party submits a plan or report simply to comply with NR 700 rule requirements and expects no response, no fee is due. The cover letter for submittals should indicate whether or not a response is expected.

3. What type of services are available under NR 749 and what type of response will be provided?

The Technical Assistance and Environmental Liability Clarification Request (Form 4400-237) [PDF] lists more than 20 specific types of technical assistance and liability clarification letters available from the RR Program, and the fees for each.

4. When are fees not required?

Fees are not required:

  • for immediate actions associated with spill cleanup activities, including DNR signature on the spill reporting form. See question #13 for more information about spills;
  • when funding has been specifically identified  to cover review times, such as site investigation workplans and remedial action options reports, for sites being reviewed under the Dry Cleaners Environmental Response Fund (DERF). However, fees are required for DERF reviews beyond those specifically delineated in NR 169;
  • when the code requires a specific document to be submitted, unless a written response from DNR has been requested;
  • when the Department chooses to review a document; and
  • when DNR reviews NR 141 (Groundwater Monitoring Well Requirements) exemption requests.
5. What fees apply to case closure review?

S. NR 726.05(3) requires that all requests for case closure include the $1,050 review fee. In addition, a $300 database fee applies if residual soil contamination is above standards, and an additional $350 database fee applies if groundwater contamination is above the enforcement standards in NR 140.  If DNR imposes a continuing obligation under s. 292.12, Stats., that is not covered by either the soil or groundwater fee (such as cases with a vapor mitigation system) a $350 database fee is required.  If one or more monitoring wells are not properly abandoned but no residual groundwater contamination is present, a $350 database fee applies.

6. What happens if DNR finds my case closure request to be seriously incomplete?

If a case closure request is submitted that substantially fails to define the degree and extent of contamination, the $1,050 fee will be applied as if a site investigation report had been submitted. Another $1,050 case closure fee will be due after the problems with the site investigation have been addressed and a new closure request is submitted.

7. What fees apply to a site or property being modified or removed from the Department database?
  • For a property owner whose soil and groundwater contaminant levels have decreased and now meet standards, another $1,050 case closure review fee applies when the new data is submitted to DNR to remove the site from the database.
  • For an owner who subdivides a property on the database, and wants an uncontaminated parcel removed from the database, a $1,050 fee applies for review of the information submitted for the uncontaminated parcel. Information showing the legal division of the property must be included.
  • For an affected neighboring property owner who wants to be removed from the database because contamination on his or her property is now below standards, although contamination on the source property has not yet reached standards, a $1,050 fee applies to review of the data from the neighboring property.
  • In all cases the appropriate database fee would also be required.
8. Does DNR charge a fee for technical assistance provided over the telephone?

DNR does not usually charge for assistance provided by phone, such as general questions, requests for information, interpretation of rules or guidance, as well as many site-specific questions. However, NR 749 allows a person paying a fee to request a verbal response. In that case DNR will provide detailed verbal comments after receiving the review fee.

9. Does DNR charge for meetings and if so, under what conditions?

DNR generally does not charge for meetings to discuss general issues. If we agree to a meeting after a review fee has been paid, another fee would not usually apply to the meeting. However, if no fee has been paid, DNR would usually charge for a meeting where detailed comments were provided.

10. Does DNR waive fees if a review takes less than a specified amount of time?

No. The fees in NR 749 are flat fees.

11. Does DNR charge separate review fees if several reports are submitted concurrently?

No. For example, if a site investigation report is submitted along with an evaluation of remedial alternatives, or if a request for approval of site-specific soil residual contaminant levels (RCLs) is included with a case closure request, only the higher of the two possible fees must be paid.

12. Must fees be paid when DNR issues an order to compel a cleanup?

Yes. State statutes authorize DNR to assess and collect fees from persons that are subject to an order or other enforcement action. DNR will specify the documents that require agency review and the associated fees.

13. When does DNR charge a fee for closing out a spill case under the provisions in NR 708?

When the responsible party requests a letter documenting DNR's decision that no further action is required after a spill response, a $350 fee is applicable. This request should be made before the file is closed.

14. Does DNR charge fees for approval of landspreading plans under ch. NR 718, and for infiltration/injection proposals under ch. NR 812?

Yes. These are significant technical reviews and the $700 fee for "other technical assistance" is applicable. The fee for landspreading approval covers site approval, review of the operational plan, oversight of operations and review of the treatment verification report.

15. Does DNR charge fees for review of petroleum tank closure assessments with low level contamination if no further investigation is necessary?

No fee is required unless the responsible party requests a letter stating that no further action is required. If contaminated backfill has been removed, a $350 fee applies for a "no further action" letter if the request is made immediately. If no response action has been taken a $700 general liability clarification letter may be requested.

Last revised: Friday October 31 2014