Frequently Asked Questions

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.