“success tips tool” for epa fy-09 brownfields assessment, cleanup and revolving loan fund grants: composed by u.s. epa region 4 draft
“Success Tips Tool”
For EPA FY-09 Brownfields Assessment, Cleanup and Revolving Loan Fund
Grants: Composed by U.S. EPA Region 4
Draft #4: 10/2/08
Preface: The below suggestions have been acquired over several years
by EPA Region 4 Brownfields Staff. Our main intent of these “success
tips” is to help you succeed in writing stronger responses to the
scoring, or Ranking Criteria section. Note that this handout does not
address tips on responding to the Threshold (pass/fail) criteria. All
of the information, instructions, and recommendations on this “success
tips” handout are offered on a strictly "as is" basis. This material
is offered as a free public resource, without any warranty, expressed
or implied. It is up to the reader to determine the suitability of any
information viewed here, and if this applies to your proposal. These
tips are not intended to replace the FY-09 Grant Guidelines located
(Assessment, Ranking Criteria on pages 24-28)
(Cleanup, Ranking Criteria on pages 26-30)
Ranking Criteria on pages 17-23)
Table of Contents
Subject Page #
Ranking Factor Tips:
Community Need 2
Project Description and Feasibility of Success 4
Community Engagement and Partnerships 10
Project Benefits 12
Getting Started 15
Getting Help and Being Strategic 15
Ranking Factor Tips:
1. Community Need – Tips
Subsections: Health, Welfare, and Environment
Preface: This is the first section the EPA evaluators will read, so be
sure to get off to a strong first impression by stating your unique
case that your community really needs a brownfields grant from a
health, welfare, environmental and financial standpoint. It is
important to make a concise, persuasive argument, by ‘painting a
picture’ of how truly needy, as well as deserving, the targeted
community is for this grant, within each and every sub-criteria.
Health, Welfare and Environment
● Identify the “Targeted Community.” If you have needy, disadvantaged
and environmental justice (low-income and/or minority) populations
within your targeted community, be sure to emphasize this point.
Describe the geographical boundaries of your target area by using
jurisdictional boundaries (town, city, street corridor, industrial
section, county, counties, or street perimeters) and suggest you
estimate square miles or acreage involved.
● Mention the approximate number and size, but also suggest you
mention types of brownfields. Remember that the EPA Brownfields
definition cites: abandoned, idled or underused industrial and
commercial properties. Suggest you do not target residential areas
within this grant application (except for perhaps minimal testing of
off-site contamination). Mention the types of brownfields present
(e.g., drycleaners, junkyards, corner gas stations, textile mills,
abandoned rail roads, air strips, mining areas, abandoned meth labs,
former automobile refinishing, landfills, machine shops, former
plastics manufacturing, scrap metal, etc.) in your targeted area. If
you focus on a community-wide area, suggest you identify 1-2 real
examples of localized brownfields sites – by name (e.g. former GE
plant) -- in your targeted community.
● Share approximate number, size in acreage and location of
brownfields sites. Research to see if any agency within your
jurisdiction has historically done a brownfields inventory. If not,
then for purposes of this proposal, conduct an anecdotal estimate
(e.g., driving survey, City Directory research) or call your state
Brownfields Coordinator and request a list of former manufacturing
sites, or Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) for your town/area.
Consider asking your state regulatory, regional planning agency,
Chamber of Commerce for a list of commercial or industrial properties
that fit the brownfields definition.
● 1 a. i: Briefly describe contamination that may be present. Keep in
mind that the types of contaminants present will largely depend on the
industry or commercial facility that previously operated on the site.
When contaminants are present, they may be located in surface soil,
buildings or containers (drums, underground tanks), subsurface soil,
and groundwater aquifers. This web-site is for helping identifying
typical contamination from certain typical kinds of brownfields sites:
is a web-site for providing background information on toxic chemicals
and potential adverse health effects
example, if a former lead battery plant is in the targeted community,
and high lead blood levels of children have been documented, you may
choose to relate the brownfields site to the specific adverse negative
health effect (e.g., potential exposure to children). For example, a
brownfields abandoned building containing friable asbestos, broken
windows, wind currents and an adjacent residential community, could
mean potential human exposure. If you are going after a cleanup grant,
directly refer to the Phase I and Phase II environmental assessments
for contaminants of concern. Be sure to tie this back to Section 4,
Project Benefits and Public Health.
● Share any unique community features or natural environmental
resources potentially at-risk from brownfields sites (e.g., Everglades
watershed, low ground-water table in targeted area, drinking water
intakes, recreational areas, lakes/streams, sensitive ecosystem or
fish/wildlife habitats, subsistence fishing areas for low-income
● Consider discussing negative environmental impacts from consuming or
developing undeveloped land versus developing on existing Brownfields
● 1.a.ii: Illustrate the health impacts on your community. Cite any
related health studies that may exist; raise any valid concerns about
uncontrolled access (i.e., no fences) to brownfields properties that
pose potential health and safety risks to children. As far as welfare
or social impacts, research crime statistics and public housing decay
connection to brownfields areas (e.g., Fixing Broken Windows;
Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities by George L.
Kelling; refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixing_Broken_Windows;
and refer to
Be sure to relate any anticipated improvements as a result of this
grant, back to Section 4, Project Benefits, Welfare/Public Health.
● Compare health and welfare statistics of your targeted area with
other neighborhoods, cities, or states (e.g., high percentage
population of children and elderly compared to state data; potentially
high disproportionate level of developmental disability and asthma
rates in children which are more sensitive than adults to
environmental contaminants). Check to see if any disproportionate
health outcomes data is available (e.g., Cancer, Asthma Studies) by
contacting local/state Health Departments. For example, if any recent
elevated blood-lead level tests are adversely high, then underscore
● 1.a.ii. and 1.b.i: Access the U.S. Census Bureau data. Include
citations to data sources and the most recent year. The Atlanta Census
Bureau general telephone number is (404)730-3832; Information Services
Specialist, Ms. Genora Barber, (404)865-1113,
g[email protected]. We also highly recommend you refer to
question/answer #5 at
● 1.b.i: Financial Need and Economic Impacts: Include how recent plant
closure(s) or other current brownfields have adversely affected jobs
or lost property taxes. Give tangible examples on how a recent
brownfields development aided tax base and job hires, reduced crime
and imply similar outcomes could be extrapolated with the proposed EPA
grant. For demographic and financial data of the target community,
consider using a simple table. Compare local targeted community data
versus Regional, State and National Data. Include poverty, average
household incomes, unemployment rates, and other data that
demonstrates economic needs (e.g., minority levels, number of single
heads of household, the number of rental versus owned properties,
crime rate, drop-out rate, etc.).
● 1.b.ii: Discuss the town or city’s fiscal (tax base, city spending)
limitations, disasters, rural community nature with limited resources,
lack of success on a previous attempts to attain an EPA brownfields
grant, geographic issues, and/or population size.
● 1.b.ii: If you are an existing EPA Brownfields Grantee, explain why
additional funding is needed, why and how you want to build on your
current or previous redevelopment success, describe how the new work
will fit into a current Master Plan or if a new vision for reuse has
been implemented since your last EPA grant.
2. Project Description/Feasibility of Success -- Tips
Subsections: Project or Program Description
For Assessments ONLY
● Describe your complete project plan. Describe the past and planned:
(1) inventory process; 2) site selection process; and (3) the
approximate number of Phase I and II assessments planned. If you have
targeted names of key sites already, mention site names, especially
for Phase II environmental assessments. As for the site selection
process (typically conducted after an inventory), remember that
reviewers are looking for community input into site selection, so
don’t leave this factor out. As for site selection, identify the
prioritization or specific site selection criteria your community will
be utilizing (e.g., developer being willing and able, economic
distress, redevelopment plan that appears feasible and perhaps in line
with Master Plan for community, high on community prioritization,
nature and amount of economic impact, site redevelopment is part of
larger plan, location, infrastructure that matches end use,
historic/architectural value, etc.) Mention why this targeted corridor
● Discuss that the project will address issue of access to conduct
Phase I and Phase II environmental assessments. Mention your access
approach for public-owned, and especially for privately owned sites.
Discuss that the project will include site access agreements,
communication processes with landowners, ways to win over property
owners (e.g., counseling, highlight benefits of program, and the
benefits of environmental assessments) in order for the necessary
environmental assessments to be completed. Mention any local or state
redevelopment incentives for brownfields property owners (e.g., access
to cleanup funds, cleanup and jobs tax credits, etc). Ensure your
Phase II will be compliant with the standard, ASTM E1903-97 or
● With an assessment grant, one can elect to have a “Health
Monitoring” component. The applicant needs to briefly describe the
project tasks that you will conduct under this grant. The broad task
categories are as follows:
-- Monitoring the health of populations;
-- Monitoring and enforcement of any institutional controls;
-- Other related program development and implementation activities.
For more information, please visit:
question #76, located at
For Cleanups ONLY
● As the guidelines require, describe the cleanup grant project. Be
sure to demonstrate Phase II assessments have been completed (and is
compliant with ASTM E1903-97 or equivalent), the site has inherent
readiness to be remediated; we suggest one considers inserting a brief
summary of the findings. Describing that this Phase II was thorough is
very important (in the past sometimes grantees have taken 6 months to
2 years further assessing the site, before they are ready for the
cleanup to start.) After conveying that the site has been sufficiently
characterized, be sure to demonstrate that: a variety of cleanup
alternatives have been considered; the cleanup or remedial action plan
has been completed; and a cost estimate of the cleanup action has been
established. The answer to question #59 on the Frequently Asked
Questions addresses the key issue of a Phase II:
As for covering the issue of cleanup alternatives, you may want to
mention, that as a grant term and condition, you will prepare an
“Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA)” report for the
site to evaluate the effectiveness, feasibility and cost of potential
environmental cleanup alternatives for the site and it will have a
public comment process (if it has not already been done). The ABCA
report is a pre-requisite before any actual cleanup work occurs.
● Mention the fact that you either own the site, or will be taking
serious steps to gain full acquisition to the deed to that cleanup
property into the Region 4’s office by COB June 30, 2009 (requirement
before official funding). Also this deed must have only one owner and
can not be co-owned with anyone else.
● As the guidelines require, be sure to include specific institutional
or engineering controls that have been established, or are in the
process of being established. For those new to brownfields, these are
designed to ensure that the post-remediation use of the affected
property is compatible with the level of cleanup. An example of an
institutional control may include a restrictive covenant (deed notice
or deed restriction) that no day cares or residential housing be
constructed within X feet, or groundwater may not be used for drinking
purposes. One definition of engineering control means: any physical
barrier or method employed to actively or passively contain,
stabilize, or monitor hazardous waste or petroleum, restrict the
movement of hazardous waste or petroleum to ensure the long-term
effectiveness of a remedial program, or eliminate potential exposure
pathways to hazardous waste or petroleum. Examples of engineering
controls includes, but are not limited to, pavement, caps, covers,
subsurface barriers, vapor barriers, slurry walls, building
ventilation systems, fences, access controls, provision of alternative
water supplies via connection to an existing public water supply,
adding treatment technologies to such water supplies, and installing
filtration devices on private water supplies. Also include potential
end uses for the cleanup site.
For RLFs ONLY
● If you are a first-timer, to get a better grasp at what’s involved
in an RLF grant, consider contacting other RLF grant recipients.
Suggest you ask to get mentoring from these prior grantees (listed at
www.epa.gov/brownfields/bfwhere.htm) and even ask for a past
successful RLF proposal to use as a reference.
● 2. a. i. and ii. RLF is like an “enhanced cleanup grant with a
financial side” that includes loans and sub-grants. How will you build
program capacity to deal with Brownfields issues? Indicate how your
program would be sustainable after the grant funds have expired. You
might indicate the future program income from the RLF will be rolled
back into other Brownfields site cleanups to bridge a cleanup funding
gap in your community. You might find the pamphlet on "Unlocking
Brownfields Redevelopment: Establishing a Local Revolving Loan Fund
Program, Brownfields Solution Series " will help you explain your
program better. It can be found on the web at
● 2. a. iv. You might indicate that you will get the RLF team together
early. You may describe the programmatic products you will develop,
such as a model loan and subgrant. Describe example documents that you
will develop if you get the grant. Describe how your fund manager will
handle financial and loan administration. Describe how your qualified
environmental professional (QEP) will coordinate and direct cleanup
activities to protect public health. Describe your organizational and
individual staff roles, as well as commitment that are required in the
daily administration of an RLF.
● 2. a. Explain how and what type of marketing you will do for the RLF
program. Explain how you will continue to meet the needs of the
changing market. Explain the roles of the partnerships. Explain the
existing client base/developers/borrowers /subgrantees. Identify
sources of capital; establish the type of assistance to be offered,
and how to meet funding gaps. Show that effectively marketing the RLF
requires researching the market to identify potential customers and
sites, establishing flexible sources of financing and loan structures,
and determining how the RLF can best meet financing needs. Your
strategy should incorporate loan features, program parameters, and
services tailored to meet market and community needs. Describe how
subgrants facilitate preservation of greenspace, and meet the
community needs, among other considerations that lead to sustainable
redevelopment. Indicate awareness that awarding subgrants, will need
to be weighed against the effect it will have on revolving the RLF and
its ability to make loans.
● 2. a. Explain how you will identify deal breakers. Describe how you
will establish an internal application, evaluation and approval
process to include information necessary to determine site and
borrower eligibility. Explain the common problems encountered and how
they were resolved, such as, development delays, market conditions,
buyers back-out, and remedies. Indicate how the projects are
sustainable. Indicate resources that you can commit to the cleanup
actions. Indicate how you will protect public health. Indicate that
closeout documentation required by state may include appropriate
institutional controls as well as the cleanup of the site and protect
public health. This may be a resource that helps you explain your
program, "Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative," EPA
500-R-00-006, May 2000 http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/pdf/rlfmktgd.pdf
For ALL ARC Grants
● To increase a project’s feasibility of success, consider mentioning
that you will dovetail your brownfields efforts with other parallel
efforts (if applicable) from brownfields Steering Committees, Master
Redevelopment Plans, Regional Planning Councils, neighborhood
improvement plans, etc.
● For 2 a.) and 2 b.) Tasks. Mention, if applicable, that you will
develop Quality Assurance Management Plans, Quality Assurance Project
Plans (QAPPs), Health & Safety Plans as necessary for EPA and State
Agency approval -- before conducting Phase II field work and cleanup
work. Also coordinate assessment or cleanup activities with the
regulatory requirements of your State/Tribal Brownfields Program.
For ALL ARC Grants
● Include a short introduction before the budget chart that outlines
how you intend to spend the funding. State the period of grant:
Assessment (3 years), Cleanup (3 years), RLF (5 years). Some
applicants have mentioned how this project will be guided by
Brownfields Steering Committees, how this will comply with EPA’s Grant
Terms and Conditions, as well as that the grant will comply with all
procurement procedures under 40 CFR 31.36 (i.e., on internet). Include
travel expenses for the applicant to attend EPA Region 4 Brownfields
grantee workshops and the National Brownfields Conference (held every
18 months). Describe this travel under the Task section after the
● Reference a statement on in-kind services, if applicable, within the
narrative. Suggest you do not imbed in-kind services by category
within the standard budget table; this makes the table too complex.
● After the budget chart, explain EACH of your tasks clearly and
completely. Utilize clear and precise task descriptions. Do not use
acronyms. Spell it out. For example, for Assessment grants (if
applicable), identify projected individual and total costs for
inventory, Phase I and Phase II assessments, cleanup planning and
optional health monitoring.
● Never use the word “administrative” to describe a task. The
Guidelines indicate that “administrative costs,” such as indirect
costs, are NOT allowed, with the exception of financial and
performance reporting. Proposal preparation costs are also not an
allowable expense. Use terms, such as “program development” or
something similar. Refer to this web-site for info on ineligible grant
activities; evaluators will deduct points if you mistakenly include
ineligible activities (questions/answers from #12 to #23):
● Explain and justify supply expenses. It is always useful (and
strongly suggested) to explain and justify equipment and/or supply
budget items. Equipment is generally expected for cleanup applicants
only. Supplies < $5,000
For Assessments ONLY
● For Assessment budget descriptions, it is strongly suggested to
estimate the number and type of assessments (Phase I and Phase II)
projected within the budget. Estimate unit and total costs for each
type. Build on previous inventories of X number of brownfields sites.
For Phase II assessments, consider stating these are subject to
meeting site-specific eligibility requirements and approval from EPA.
● Assessment funds can be used to conduct “Cleanup Planning.” This
includes completing a feasibility study of remedial options and
estimating cleanup costs for various redevelopment scenarios for Phase
● Be sure to address the costs and tasks for “Health Monitoring” if
you have chosen to conduct these activities (up to 10% of the grant
For Cleanup ONLY
● Mention the cleanup plan, the respective contaminants involved and
the estimated costs of such items as: removal of tanks, remedial
excavation, confirmation sampling, removal/demolition of concrete pads
(if contamination is underneath), off-site disposal costs, remedial
action plan, remedial completion report, etc.
● Discuss how you plan to fill any funding gaps that EPA Brownfields
dollars will not address for your total project. Consider painting the
“big brownfields picture;” EPA wants your project to be successful,
and we would like to see your plans for achieving that success. EPA
does not want any assessment or cleanup projects to be started, yet
not be completed.
● Fill in possible gaps with internal resources. Include staff time
and other in-kind services, (e.g., staff time to carry-out
programmatic activities). Describe external funding sources you are
pursuing, as well as those that have been committed. If an applicant
has a Memorandum of Understanding with a developer who agrees to pay
for assessment costs which are incurred in excess of funds provided by
the applicant, then mention this. If the developer has a history of
matching public funds with their private funds to assess or clean
sites, mention this.
● Describe possible state/regional public funding resources (e.g., Tax
Incremental Funding, City Bond initiatives, State grants, HUD BEDI
grants, etc.) and incentives. Include economic redevelopment
stimulation resources as well as environment cleanup resources. A
great resource on Financing Tools for Brownfields Revitalization is
found at: http://www.nemw.org/Brownfields%20Financing%20Tools.pdf
● Mention state brownfields incentive programs here, such as tax
credits for job creation and voluntary cleanup costs, as well as sales
tax credits, if applicable. Some State Legislatures have instituted
great incentives (e.g., Urban Progress Zones, etc). For example, if
you are a Florida community, refer to this for economic incentives:
Mention your past successful leveraging track record as it applies to
brownfields, if applicable. Include examples.
● Respond explicitly to the issues raised in 2 c.) i. and ii): funds
expenditure, compliance with grant requirements, and accomplishments.
● Definitely respond to “adverse audit findings” and “high risk terms
and conditions” with respect to the OMB Circular A-133 or the U.S.
GAO. Do not assume that if you say nothing reviewers will know that it
means you have no adverse audit findings.
● Mention other Federal grants at least by agency name, type and
amounts. Also include the total amount of federal grants your
organization has managed.
● For previous EPA grantees, do not forget to highlight and detail
significant accomplishments which occurred due to EPA brownfields
funding. For accomplishments under 2 c.) i., include objective facts,
such as number of cleanups, kinds of assessments and include cleanup
and redevelopment dollar leveraging information, if applicable.
● For staff expertise/qualifications, be sure to identify key in-house
staff who will manage the brownfields work and their individual/total
years of experience working in brownfields/economic development, as
well as grants management. Suggest briefly describing the adequacy of
your procurement process and financial process. If you plan to acquire
in-house expertise, outline what kind of qualifications you plan to
have on-board. As for describing your “system” in place to conduct
environmental field work (assessments or cleanups), if you have used
environmental consultants before, tell of the contractor
qualifications you have insisted upon (e.g., years of experience in
brownfields, experience in working with State Voluntary Cleanup
programs), if applicable.
3. Community Engagement and Partnerships -- Tips
Subsections: Plan for Affected Community
Plan for Affected Community
● Fully discuss your plan for involving and communicating the progress
of this grant to your citizens. Have pro-active and aggressive plans.
If you have already previously launched your plan, briefly describe
any past Community Involvement activities that have already occurred.
Briefly summarize planned or past collaborative community involvement
efforts for revitalization -- such as kinds of outreach, frequency of
meetings, past or anticipated outcomes.
● Highlight how the plan will involve the “affected community”
(include groups, such as neighborhood organizations, church-based,
interested civic non-profits for redevelopment, borrowers, citizens’
groups and redevelopers). Do not include non-key community-based
organizations, such as local government, political or elected
● In your plan or outreach strategy, consider forming a diverse
“Brownfields Steering Committee” or “Task Force” to serve both as a
decision and communication vehicle (comprised of diverse members from
● In your Community Involvement Plan, be sure to use various modes of
communication for public notices and receiving citizen input. Include
examples and how you anticipate you will carry these out. For example,
for Public Meetings:
● Commit To a Certain Number, Frequency, or at key points during the
● Ensure convenient meeting locations within the targeted community
● Conduct piggy-back information sessions on pre-existing meetings
when/where the people normally gather (e.g., business luncheon
meetings, neighborhood associations meetings)
● Schedule meetings during times that are convenient for working and
non-working stakeholders (day and/or night)];
Other examples are flyers; information repository at your local
library; radio announcements; church-based announcements; and Local
Newspapers for diverse populations, other news media, etc. If
applicable, mention project progress will be communicated via your and
your partner(s)’ websites.
● In your Community Involvement Plan, remember that “involvement” is a
2-way Street. Remember that one component may be to ask for public
comments or input to your project work plan, project progress, project
plans, such as site selection (Assessment Grant), or cleanup (Analysis
of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives document, which requires public
comment). Include how you may provide feedback or responses to the
public; address all potential language barrier(s) (e.g., plan to
translate materials, plan to accommodate non-indigenous cultures). Be
sure to be congruent to demographic data that you reported in the
Community Need section 1 b. i. , such as types of minorities present.
● General partners which are not key Community-based Organizations
(CBOs) should be discussed in this community involvement response.
For Cleanup ONLY
● Community notification is required. Highly recommend you refer to
question/answer #5 at
● Demonstrate your knowledge of Local/State/Tribal Programs that you
will or have already partnered with.
● Describe applicable State Programs and how you will collaborate with
them for successful brownfields results. For working with State
Brownfields Programs, examples include: coordination on environmental
assessment reports (especially Phase II), pre and post cleanup,
cleanup completion certifications, technical assistance, etc.
Applicants are encouraged to indicate how they will work with your
local health department (if available); especially important, if you
choose to use 10% of the overall Assessment Grant to conduct health
monitoring activities. Outline how you will coordinate with the health
department or other qualified organization.
● Consider indicating your present or intentioned involvement to
enroll site(s) in State Voluntary Cleanup Programs, should site
cleanups be later required after a Phase II assessment (Assessment
grantees); and how you may encourage property owners with contaminated
Brownfields to participate also when it comes to cleanup phases.
Community-Based Organizations (CBO)
● Be sure to have a variety represented. For example, Local Citizen,
Neighborhood Associations, Faith-Based, Environmental, Civic Groups,
● For Rural Areas, with few formal CBOs, discuss the active
involvement of community stakeholders who are interested in
redeveloping the community (e.g., informal neighborhood groups, etc).
● A Letter From EACH CBO mentioned in the proposal should be attached
and should include the following:
-- Description of Specific Project Role(s) for the CBO
-- Description of the CBO’s Commitment to the project
-- Recent date (do not use recycled letters prior to six months from
November 14, 2008)
-- No Form Letters
● The Proposal narrative Section, 3 c.) should extract from these
letters and incorporate each CBO’s Role and Commitment
● Consider a Tabular Format (Organization Description, Contact, Role,
Commitment), to save space and be more readable.
● If possible, ensure listed CBOs can review and comment on your draft
EPA proposal (before submitting to EPA); if not at least have the CBOs
comment on your EPA Workplan, if you are awarded the grant.
● Examples of Roles for CBO Letters and Proposal Narratives 3c.. Be
specific (i.e., Financial Officer, Counsel, Brownfields Steering
Fund Raising (No Grant Funds Spent)
Proposal Preparation (No Grant Funds Spent)
Community Outreach on Web, In Newsletter
Host or Facilitate Public Meetings
Provide Technical Assistance (Quality Assurance)
Leadership as a Board or Committee Member
Advisor as a Designer, Banker, Investor
Development; Brick and Mortar
● Examples of Resource Commitments. Be Specific:
Estimate Value (Direct or Indirect In-Kind)
Commitment Equates To Resources
Staff and Volunteer Time Estimates
Web Space Value
Value of Meeting Space
4. Project Benefits -- Tips
Subsections: Welfare and/or Public Health
Economic Benefits and/or Greenspace
● Consider mentioning specific contaminants of concern, environmental
and public health risks for your community (e.g., refer to pages 2 and
3 above). More importantly, explain how you plan to reduce the risks
from exposure to those contaminants via assessment or cleanup work.
For overall benefits, we recommend you refer to question/answer #78 at
For Assessment ONLY
● For community-wide proposals, discuss your intention to use funds to
characterize sites via Phase I or Phase II environmental assessments
to determine possible health risks and how you will reduce those in a
safe manner during the assessment.
● For 4 a. Explain how nearby communities and their health will be
protected during assessments. For example, during assessments ensure
characterization emphasizes checking the boundary site conditions,
especially if residential properties are adjacent; ensure if
contaminants of concern are indeed contained on the site, or have
migrated off-site. For example, efforts may be made to assess drainage
ditches for contamination that may have carried waste off-site.
Perhaps your inventory and site selection process will identify high
risk brownfields and the local government will consider erecting
perimeter fences to protect children.
● If you have already completed or plan to conduct Phase II
Environmental Assessment work in your target area, then discuss
specific chemicals that are present and mention their toxic effects
(e.g., neurotoxin, carcinogenic, etc.). Also include how reducing
these threats during a future cleanup action for soils, groundwater,
etc. will benefit the community. Share any unique community features
or natural environmental resources potentially at-risk from
brownfields, and how these will benefit.
● Again, if you have already stated that you as an applicant plan to
use 10% of the allocated grant funding for a Health Monitoring Task,
reference this effort and the benefits it will provide the community.
For Cleanup ONLY
● For 4 b. Cleanups. Explain how nearby communities and their
respective health will be protected during cleanup. Examples include:
● Efforts may be made to suppress migration of air-borne dust
generated during excavation, stockpiling and truck-loading activities
(via wetting, dust suppression techniques.)
● If high emissions from certain on-site volatile chemicals are
projected, then wind station and air monitoring along the site
boundaries (up-gradient and down-gradient of the cleanup activities)
may be conducted.
● A temporary containment system, such as booms, may be used to
prevent and contain contaminated run-off in case of accidents, spills,
or storm-water events.
● Stockpiles of excavated soils may be covered with geo-textile or
plastic sheeting to securely safeguard from rain or wind events in
order to prevent exposure to adjacent neighbors.
● Site barriers, such as fencing, around cleanup activities may be
used to prevent access from children and adults from excavation
activities and adverse exposure.
● If excavating tanks and drums, then a labeled, secured fenced area
will be used.
● For Cleanup applicants, identify Phase II assessment results and how
a cleanup on the site will reduce human health, social and
environmental risks associated with the respective contamination.
Mention a cleanup plan protocol, if identified. This demands
repeating, sites that have undergone review of alternatives, selected
a remedy and have a good cost estimate for the remedy will score
higher than those that have not yet complete characterization.
For ALL ARC grants
● Be congruent with your Community Needs Section (B3) if you discuss
previously how the project needs to mitigate certain human health
(e.g., lead exposure) or social (e.g., crime) risks in the targeted
Economic Benefits and/or Greenspace
● Mention economic benefits (e.g., an expanded tax base, increased
employment/job creation, increased investment, enhanced property
values through adjacent greenspace creations and/or neighborhood
improvements, and/or others).
● As for non-economic benefits, consider mentioning that redevelopment
of the targeted area can reduce development pressure on rural and
undeveloped sites, known as greenfields. Mention non-economic
benefits, such as greenspace (trails, parks, community gardens, or
non-profit community centers, etc.) as applicable.
● If you are redeveloping brownfields, you are likely preserving
greenspace indirectly; say so in addition to including your other
Environmental Benefits from Sustainable Re-use
● Mention how your project applies to sustainable re-use, smart growth
benefits and other examples under 4c.ii. Be sure to refer to
question/answer #79 at this web-site for ideas
http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/publications/fy2009faqs.pdf. We suggest
you also refer to a Smart Growth Resource Library web-site, hhttp://www.smartgrowth.org/library/articles.asp?art=2853&res=1024
and an EPA publication on Brownfields and sustainability,
● Link any overarching master plans, development plans, zoning and
other planning tools that may be in place to address sustainable reuse
(e.g., retaining greenfields, storm-water runoff initiatives).
Sometimes proposals mention at the minimum, fact sheets will be given
to new owners or developers re: construction or post construction
practices of water conservation, smart growth, energy efficiency.
● EPA’s targeted outcomes include: number of completed Phase I and
number of completed Phase II assessments; number of acres cleaned up;
number of jobs leveraged; number of cleanup and redevelopment dollars
leveraged (refer to Guidelines pages 6 (Cleanup and RLF) and page 7
(Assessment). The standard Brownfields Property Profile Reporting Form
http://epa.gov/brownfields/pubs/rptforms.htm reflects the
accomplishments that EPA asks all grantees to properly track.
Additionally, you may consider reporting milestone outcomes, such as
groundbreakings, acquired new funding, public relations events,
outreach events with youth, etc.
5. Getting Started -- Tips
1. Study Final Guidelines
2. Get buy-in/approval from potential grantee organization; senior
management and/or elected officials
3. Decide the type of grant(s) your community needs
4. Start drafting proposal(s) with help, if necessary (refer to
Section 6 below)
5. Develop partnerships or dovetail into existing ones
Develop or Join a Pre-Existing Coalition or “Brownfields
Get Key Community Based Organizations on board and use a
collaborative approach (decide upon role and commitments; refer
to collaborative model: www.epa.gov/evaluate/ejevalrpt.pdf)
6. Contact State early for:
State Acknowledgement Letter
Petroleum Eligibility Letter, if applicable
7. Call EPA for:
All Eligibility Questions (Applicant, Site, Planned Grant Cost
and Match, etc.)
All Guidelines Clarifications
Getting Help and Being Strategic -- Tips
These Tips Fall into 2 Basic Categories – “Getting Help” and “Being
Do not do it alone; The grant process is VERY competitive; be sure
to invest from 40 – 80 hours (plus) in writing a successful
Use several winning proposals as a go-by. Check out
http://www.epa.gov/swerosps/bf/pilot.htm. Use this to contact
other successful grantees with similar projects, near or far.
Call and ask for copies of their award-winning proposals.
Interview them for best practices. Keep in mind, that prior year
grantees had a different set of proposal guidelines to use than
this year, FY 2009. But still network! Note that although
previous proposals followed different guidelines from this year,
they may still be useful.
Consider asking other organizations to help proof your draft
proposal, such as the following: award-winning grantees, partner
organizations that have grant-writing experience, regional
planning/development organizations, or enlist experienced
grant-writers in or outside your community. If applicable,
participate in “grant-writing parties” often sponsored by your
State Brownfields program.
Consider asking your State Brownfields Program to help proof
your proposal or get assistance from the EPA’s Technical
Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Program (Enterprise Corporation
of the Delta, Dee Jones, 1-866-843-3358; BF [email protected];
Consider contacting those experienced with grant-writing; ask
for references. Some environmental consultants in the Southeast
have experience writing EPA Brownfields proposals; again, ask
for references. Even if you get a consultant company on board,
be sure to have other readers help proof your proposal. If the
applicant gets grant-writing assistance from consultants,
realize that you must still offer a fully competitive
procurement process should you be selected to get the grant
award (e.g., no promises can made for the grant-writing
consultant to get any contracts under the Federal grant.)
Know the Guidelines. Adhere to Guidelines and Get Started NOW!
-- ABSOLUTELY meet deadline of November 14, 2008; Late Proposals =
-- Respond to directions in Threshold and Ranking, for ALL criteria
-- Responses should follow the order and outline of the Guidelines
-- Detail whenever possible, avoid excessive generalities
-- Follow all page formatting, length criteria (pages over 18 will be
eliminated), use white space effectively
-- If something does NOT apply, then say so.
Guideline Responses MUST BE Clear logically
-- More readable = Easier on EPA reviewers
-- Avoid acronyms; cultural jargon; explain unique local and state
-- Use tables when applicable
-- If Space Allows, Use Bullets, Indents
-- Use Clear Simple Language
-- Ensure proposal sections are congruent from one section to another
(e.g., if you mention minorities in Section 1, you must address how
you will deal with any language issues in Section 3)
Responses MUST BE Visually Clear
EPA copies your proposal(s); pictures and color copies do not
Do NOT use pictures and colored text; copy your final
product twice to ensure it is legible.
Tell Your Story, using the 4 Criteria sections, and the 12
Sub-Criteria sections. Be sure to use the particular grant
criteria format, do not be creative and invent your own format!
Always use a sub-header to clearly catch the evaluator’s attention
which criteria and sub-criteria you are addressing, so they can
easily follow along.
Proposal reviewers will be from all over the country. Write as
if the reviewers know NOTHING about your geographic area,
community, region or state.
Make your proposal unique, tell a great story of how this grant
may turn your negative brownfields and associated adverse
impacts into positive assets. EPA wants successes! Tell the
story using the 4 criteria sections.
Tie in any visioning or Community Master Plan processes already
in the works; show how your Grant Project complements the larger
Write Sections with Wisdom!
-- Avoid over-writing too much on some sub-sections, and under-writing
on others. For too many applicants, their score suffers as such. Every
point counts; Use maximum page length wisely !
-- Maximum page length = 18. Therefore, 18 - Total pages for required
Threshold = Ranking Criteria Pages.
-- EPA Region 4 has released updated “Section Length Guidance Tool,”
which guides the reader how many pages to write for certain sections
(e.g., scoring is weight-based, so page lengths are too). Refer to
download at http://www.clu-in.org/conf/tio/r4bfgrantwriting/....hit
"Links to Additional Resources" at the bottom.
-- Pages Beyond 18 Maximum Will Not Be Evaluated
Use Common Sense. Complete these tasks WELL BEFORE the DEADLINE
-- If applying for a Cleanup Grant: Conduct public notification, hold
public meeting & gather public comments
-- Get required State/Tribal Acknowledgement Letter
-- Ask EPA questions: Applicant and Site Eligibility, Planned Grant
Cost and Match, Etc.
-- Get Community Based Organization Support letters (if applicable,
Coalition Commitment letters)
If You are Unsuccessful This Year:
-- Do not despair, try again. Ask for a de-briefing from EPA to assess
your proposal weaknesses.
Comments/Suggestions for Improvement to this Document: Please e-mail,