FY18 Brownfield Grants Open for Applications with New Guidelines Released

By September 21, 2017 April 24th, 2019 No Comments

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Eligible entities may now submit application(s) for EPA brownfield assessment, cleanup AND/OR revolving loan grants for a shot to win a share of government’s most effective, highest impact competitive grant competitions.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Land and Emergency Management Grants and Funding (OLEM) has released the guidelines to help grant applicants in the process of applying for ~$50 million in 2018 grant funding. The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (“Brownfields Law,” P.L. 107-118) requires EPA to publish guidance to assist applicants in preparing proposals for grants to assess and clean up brownfield sites. EPA’s Brownfields Program provides funds to empower states, communities, tribes, and nonprofits to prevent, inventory, assess, clean up, and reuse brownfield sites.

A critical part of EPA’s assessment and cleanup efforts is to ensure that residents living in communities historically affected by economic disinvestment, health disparities, and environmental contamination have an opportunity to reap the benefits from brownfields redevelopment. EPA’s Brownfields Program has a rich history of high returns and higher impact rooted in environmental justice and is committed to helping communities revitalize brownfield properties, mitigate potential health risks, and restore economic vitality.

EPA provides brownfields funding for three types of grants: Brownfields Assessment Grants, Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grants, and Brownfields Cleanup Grants.  New in this brownfield grant cycle are three changes to the Cleanup Grant process, which are provided below:

FY 2018 Guidelines for Brownfields Assessment Grant (PDF)

EPA-OLEM-OBLR-17-07 – Application Closing Date: November 16, 2017

Under the Assessment Grants RFP, EPA provides funds to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct planning (including cleanup planning) and community involvement related to brownfield sites.

The total funding available under the national competitions for Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants is estimated at $50 million subject to the availability of funds and other applicable considerations. EPA may expend up to 25 percent of the amount appropriated for Brownfields Grants on sites contaminated with petroleum. EPA anticipates awarding an estimated 198 grants among all three grant types. Under this competitive opportunity, EPA anticipates awarding an estimated 145 Assessment Grants for an estimated $33.5 million.

FY 2018 Guidelines for Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants (PDF)

EPA-OLEM-OBLR-17-08 – Closing Date: November 16, 2017

Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grants provide funding to a grant recipient to capitalize an RLF program. RLF programs provide loans and subgrants to eligible entities to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites contaminated with hazardous substances and/or petroleum. Revolving loan funds generally are used to provide no-interest or low-interest loans for eligible brownfields cleanups and other eligible programmatic costs necessary to manage the RLF. An RLF grant recipient must use 50% or more of the awarded funds for loans. RLF grantees may not subgrant to themselves. However, the RLF grant recipient may subgrant to other coalition members. Subgrants are limited to $200,000 per site. Entities receiving RLF subgrants must own the site that is the subject of the subgrant. An RLF grant recipient cannot make a loan or a subgrant to a party potentially liable for the contamination at the brownfield site under CERCLA §107, nor may the RLF grant recipient make a loan or subgrant to clean up a site that it is potentially liable for under CERCLA §107.

Under the RLF Grants RFP, EPA provides funds to capitalize a revolving fund and to make loans and provide subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites.

EPA anticipates awarding an estimated 15 Revolving Loan Fund Grants for an estimated $9 million.

FY 2018 Guidelines for Brownfields Cleanup Grants (PDF)

EPA-OLEM-OBLR-17-09 – Closing Date: November 16, 2017

Cleanup Grants provide funding to carry out cleanup activities on brownfield sites owned by the applicant.  Under the RFP, EPA is seeking proposals for Cleanup Grants to provide funds to carry out cleanup activities at a specific brownfield site owned by the applicant.


  1. Applicants may request funding to address either a single brownfield site, or multiple brownfield sites, within each proposal.
  2. An applicant may request up to $200,000 in each proposal.
  3. An applicant can submit up to three cleanup proposals.

Applicants that exceed the maximum number of proposals allowable for Cleanup Grants will be contacted, prior to review of any of the proposals by EPA, to determine which proposals the applicant will withdraw from the competition. An applicant cannot propose an alternate site(s) if the site(s) identified in the proposal is determined by EPA to be ineligible for brownfield’s funding. An applicant may request up to $200,000 to address hazardous substances and/or petroleum contamination at one or more site(s). If the site is co-mingled with both hazardous substances and petroleum contamination and the hazardous substances and petroleum-contaminated areas of the site are distinguishable, the proposal must address both eligibility criteria and indicate the dollar amount of funding requested for each type of contamination. If the petroleum and hazardous substances are co-mingled and not easily distinguishable, the applicant must indicate which contaminant is predominant and respond to the appropriate site eligibility criteria.

The performance period for Cleanup Grants is three years. Refer to Section VI of the grant guidelines). for a list of certain grant and programmatic requirements. An applicant must be the sole owner of the sites(s) that is the subject of its Cleanup Grant proposal and must own the site(s) by November 16, 2017, in order to be eligible to receive a cleanup grant.

Note: EPA strongly recommends contacting the Regional Brownfields Contact listed in Section VII. to ensure the proposed site(s) eligibility for funding.

The Brownfields Law requires applicants to provide a 20 percent cost share for Cleanup Grants. For example, a $200,000 cleanup grant will require a $40,000 cost share. The cost share, which may be in the form of a contribution of money, labor, material, or services, must be for eligible and allowable costs under the grant and cannot include administrative costs, as described in the Brownfields Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at­ 07/documents/fy18-arc-faqs.pdf (PDF). Applicants may request a waiver of the 20 percent cost share requirement based on hardship. EPA will consider hardship waiver requests on a case-by-case basis and will approve such requests on a limited basis.

EPA urges applicants to review the Frequently Asked Questions, which can be found at: (PDF).

Upcoming Webinars

Stay tuned for details of a national webinar to assist those interested in applying even further. Contact your regional EPA representatives or your regional Technical Assistance to Brownfield (TAB) provider for specific help applying for a FY18 Brownfield Grant.

But you can catch Patricia Overmeyer, the Land Revitalization Coordinator from U.S. EPA Office of Brownfields Cleanup and Redevelopment and Dan French, Brownfield Listings CEO, this Thursday, September 21st in an EDR webinar moderated by Bloomberg BNA Deputy Editorial Directory Mary Ann Grena Manley. Dial in for the very latest on U.S. EPA’s budget, the recently released regulatory agenda, and likely areas of policy focus for site assessment and cleanup. Hear the latest views of what is likely to change, and where bipartisan support remains strong, as well as an outside the Beltway view of current macro conditions converging to drive such a hot period of public and private sector interest in redevelopment.

What’s Next?

Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grants (EWDJT)–so vital in today’s labor locked market–are expected to open in four weeks when the FY18 EWDJT Guidelines are released.

Who Can Apply?

The following information indicates which entities are eligible to apply for a Cleanup Grant.

  • General Purpose Unit of Local Government. [For purposes of the EPA Brownfields Grant Program, a “local government” is defined as stated under 2 CFR 200.64.: Local government means a county, municipality, city, town, township, 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.]
  • Land Clearance Authority or another quasi-governmental entity that operates under the supervision and control of, or as an agent of, a general purpose unit of local government. • Government Entity Created by State Legislature.
  • Regional Council or group of General Purpose Units of Local Government. • Redevelopment Agency that is chartered or otherwise sanctioned by a state.
  • State.
  • Indian tribe other than in Alaska. (The exclusion of Alaskan Tribes from Brownfields Grant eligibility is statutory at CERCLA §104(k)(1). Intertribal Consortia, comprised of eligible 10 Indian tribes, are eligible for funding in accordance with EPA’s policy for funding intertribal consortia published in the Federal Register on November 4, 2002, at 67 Fed. Reg. 67181. This policy also may be obtained from your Regional Brownfields Contact listed in Section VII.)
  • Alaska Native Regional Corporation, Alaska Native Village Corporation, and Metlakatla Indian Community. (Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Alaska Native Village Corporations are defined in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 and following). For more information, please refer to Brownfields FAQs at
  • 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 and is not organized primarily for profit; and uses net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand the operation of the organization.)
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