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ACRES Bulletin
November 2013

Showing Success in ACRES!

Ventower Industries in Michigan - helping create green power and new jobs!

Former Industrial Waste Site
Former Industrial Waste Site
Ventower Industries - green energy manufacturer
Ventower Industries - green energy manufacturer
Ventower Industries is the home of a green energy manufacturer located on a former industrial waste landfill at the Port of Monroe, Michigan's only port on Lake Erie. Ventower became operational in late 2011 and is a full-service fabricator and supplier of industrial scale wind turbine towers. The Port of Monroe catalyzed the project by marketing the site's attributes of being able to provide service by rail, interstate highway and port. Significant construction and environmental obstacles posed by the site were overcome by a green remediation strategy and Brownfields funds. Cleanup costs were approximately $5 million and primarily funded by a combination of $2 million in loans and grants from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and a $2.25 million loan from the Downriver Community Conference (DCC) to the developer. The source of DCC's funds was a Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grant. Rather than removing contaminated soil, exposure mitigation techniques were used to address human health risks posed by the site. The green remediation strategy consumed fewer resources, produced fewer emissions, and minimized off-site impacts when compared to a traditional "dig and haul" approach. Exposure mitigation included the installation of direct contact barriers over the entire site including a vapor intrusion barrier beneath the foot print of the building, and a specially designed building foundation system to stabilize the soils and provide the necessary support for the building infrastructure. Total investment for the project was approximately $30 million. It included funds and incentives from: 1) Brownfields Tax Increment Financing; 2) Michigan Strategic Fund "Choose Michigan" grant/loan for equipment purchase; 3) Small Business Administration Section 504 loan guarantee; 4) U.S. Dept. of Energy Tax Credit for advanced energy projects; 5) Michigan Brownfields Business Tax Credit; and 6) Michigan Economic Growth Authority job credits.

Ventower has 80 full time employees and is operating multiple shifts 24 hours/day, 5 days/week. Its current annual production capacity is 100, three-section towers. Plans for expansion will increase annual production by 50% for 2014. Ventower has a large contract with General Electric for the production of towers that will remain in Michigan thus creating additional jobs for installation, and future operation and maintenance.

Another distinction of this project is the coordinated development of a program with Monroe Community Jobs to educate and train students for work in the wind turbine industry.
Nov Bulletin 2013

ACRES reports the following impressive statistics for the site:
  • Leveraged funding: $23,750,000.00
  • Leveraged jobs: 115
  • Acres ready for reuse: 38

News

Welcome our new ACRES Team Program Manager

Please welcome Dondra Ward as the new Project Manager for ACRES. Previously, Dondra worked in EPA's Office of the Chief Financial Officer analyzing the Agency's progress towards meeting its environmental goals, and communicating these results to the public and Congress in a meaningful way.

In her new role, Dondra's number one priority will be to work collaboratively with each Regional Data Coordinator and Project Officer to identify system enhancements that will help recipients report activities and successes in ACRES. She will also serve as Brownfield's primary Data Quality Steward. Dondra is looking forward to an exciting year in Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment and is eager to learn more about each community project.

National Brownfields Conference Success

2013 Brownfields National Conference
The National Brownfields Conference is the largest event in the nation that focuses on environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment. Held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta this past May 15-17, the Conference provided dozens of tours and workshops, hundreds of other educational sessions and many chances to network with business, academic, government and economic development professionals. The Conference attracted thousands of stakeholders in brownfields redevelopment and cleanup who shared knowledge about sustainable reuse. The Conference also attracted many impressive speakers who spoke on a broad range of Brownfields redevelopment topics including:

  • The United States Surgeon General, as an expert in public health topics, shed light on health issues surrounding redevelopment projects
  • Dr. Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity whose research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities - and the social movements seeking to change those realities
  • Ryan Gravel, Senior Urban Designer and inventor of the Atlanta BeltLine
  • Bob Perciasepe, EPA Deputy Administrator
  • Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed
  • Mark Mallory, Mayor of Cincinnati, OH
  • Terry Bellamy, Mayor of Ashville, NC
Anyone interested in viewing one of the plenary sessions at Brownfields 2013 can watch them online at: http://www.brownfieldsconference.org/en/Page/42/Plenary_Speakers.

2013 Brownfields National Conference
Bob Perciasepe, EPA's Deputy Administrator, gives remarks at the Brownfields Conference Opening Plenary Session
2013 Brownfields National Conference
Bob Perciasepe, EPA's Deputy Administrator, Jason Miller, Special Asst to the President for Manufacturing Policy, and Mathy Stanislaus, Asst. Administrator of the U.S. EPA

Features in ACRES

Latitude/Longitude Corrections

A big thank you to the regional staff that manually researched approximately 2,000 older ACRES properties that had known lat/long issues. Most of the errors were created back in the day when lat/long was manually calculated. The errors have been corrected. With the auto generation of lat/long based on a property's address, location information is now extremely accurate. But if you still need to tweak a location, it's easy to do with the lat/long Edit feature.

New Features that affect All Users:

The Property Profile Form (PPF) and Job Training Forms (JT), along with their associated paper forms, are evaluated every three years for new data fields needed and modifications to improve the work flow. After a rigorous evaluation and approval process, the following changes have been completed:

PPF Fields:

  1. Indicate Whether Cleanup is Necessary - new Reason field if cleanup unknown
    This important field has three options (one must be selected): Yes, No, Unknown. If you select "Unknown", ACRES will prompt you to select a reason from a list of possibilities (required).
  2. Contaminants & Media Affected Information - more selection options available
    • Two new contaminant classes have been added: Pesticides and SVOCs.
    • Two new media types have been added: Building Materials and Indoor Air.
    • A help icon has been added to the Building Materials field to provide clarification for this option. It is defined as "Hazardous building materials include materials that were once intentionally used to construct, renovate, or maintain a building that are now known to be hazardous or contain hazardous substances. Common examples include asbestos, PCBs, mercury, and lead paint.
    • "Other" Metals and Contaminants now have selection options to make it faster to add these details.
  3. Cleanup and Redevelopment Funding - New Field Available
    A new text field, Activity Funded (optional), has been added to both the Cleanup Funding Information and Redevelopment Funding Information screens to provide more space to describe the activities.
  4. Environmental Cleanup Information
    • Cleanup Completion Documentation Type - New Field
      When a cleanup is completed and the associated date is entered on the PPF, the user is now prompted to select the cleanup completion documentation type(s) (required). The two options appear at the top of the Cleanup Information section and at least one must be selected:
      • No Further Action Letter
      • Environmental Professional Certified
    • New Cleanup Funding Type - Cost Share
      A new cleanup funding type, Cost Share, is available on the Cleanup "Add Funding" and "Update Funding" screens. It is available ONLY for Cleanup and RLF cooperative agreements. Note that this is not a leveraged fund.
    • Subgrant Issuance Date - New Field
      The "Add Funding" and "Update Funding" screens for RLF cooperative agreements ONLY, have been updated to include a new field Subgrant Issuance Date (optional). It is similar to the RLF loan issuance date and has been added so that the subgrant can be entered into ACRES during the time period before an actual draw is made under the subgrant (since dollars are entered for draws, not loan/subgrant amounts).
    • Redevelopment & Other Leveraged Accomplishments - Simplified
      The "Future Use and Estimated Acreage" and "Actual Greenspace Acreage and Type" fields have been merged into one table "Future Use, Planned, and Actual Acreage". The old information for Actual Greenspace acreage data has been merged into the new table and any text previously entered has been moved to the Property Highlights text box (very few properties had "actual" data to be merged).
      The column for multi-story building data now has an area to allow total building square footage to be captured.

JT Fields:

Job Measurements Section

  1. Three new measurement fields have been added:
    • Number of Participants Entering Training (required)
    • Number of Veterans Entering Training
    • Number of Individuals that did not Obtain Employment but are Pursuing Education (e.g., GED, college courses, etc.)
  2. Verification has been added to ensure that the total number of participants completing training is not greater than the number of participants entering training. Also, average hourly pay is required for reporting quarters that have participants obtaining jobs.
  3. Help text has been added for several of the measurement fields, including the Weighted Average Hourly Wage. You'll also notice the layout has been updated and is easier to read.

RLF Grants - New Funding Source Options
For RLF grants, the first two Loan/Subgrant options have been re-named and two new options for program income are now available:

  • USEPA - Brownfields RLF Grant Funds Loaned
  • USEPA - Brownfields RLF Grant Funds Subgranted
  • USEPA - Brownfields RLF Program Income Loaned
  • USEPA - Brownfields RLF Program Income Subgranted

CAR Navigation

When a CAR navigates to a specific Cooperative Agreement (CA) and submits a work package for review, ACRES will now return to the CA Home page (ACRES used to return to the CAR Home page). This improvement will save CARs time when they want to create/submit more work packages for the same CA, which is often the case.

If you have any suggestions for ways ACRES can make your job more effective, please let us know by contacting the ACRES Help Desk at ACRES_Help@epa.gov or (703) 284-8212.


Training Offered


Getting Started (Beginners):
  For Assessment, RLF, Cleanup, and Section 128(a) Recipients just starting to use ACRES, this training will provide instruction on the process for submitting your property data and demonstrate how to use the tools and functions in ACRES. Approximately 90 minutes.

The Next Level (Advanced):
  For Assessment, RLF, Cleanup, and Section 128(a) Recipients that are familiar with using ACRES, this training will provide instruction on how to make ACRES work for you and your property scenarios, and the answers to some commonly asked questions. Approximately 90 minutes.

Online:
2013 ACRES Training Dates (2 pm EST) details
 
Getting Started (Beginners) — November 12
December 3
The Next Level (Advanced) — December 10
 

Redevelopment Outcomes

Thanks to all of your hard work we exceeded our FY 2013 program goals before the end of August. Of note, the Jobs Leveraged are more than twice the target number and Acres Ready for Reuse is 50% higher than the target.

This is work we can all be very proud of!

GPRA GoalAnnual TargetFY13 Value (as of 10/01/13)

Properties w/Assessments Completed1,2001,528 
Properties w/Cleanups Completed120122 
Dollars Leveraged$1.2B$1.54B 
Jobs Leveraged5,00010,141 
Acres Ready for Reuse3,0004,644 

Frank's Tips

Frank Gardner is a Brownfields Project Officer and the Regional Data Coordinator at EPA Region 1. In this role, he works with recipients to help them report their activities and successes in ACRES. Frank Gardner

Work Package Sharing - Collaborating with Your Team

Keeping your ACRES data up to date has never been more important but has also never been easier. Now with the Work Package Sharing feature, ACRES provides Cooperative Agreement Recipients (CARs) the ability to collaborate with your colleagues and/or contractors to enter the Property Profile Form (PPF) data for project sites. Instead of having to enter all PPF data yourself, you can use this function to start a work package, enter the data which you have readily accessible, and then hand off the work package to another ACRES user or users on your project team to complete. Once your collaborators finish filling out the remaining data, then you just need to review and submit the work package to your EPA Project Officer.

For example, you might add a new property to your Cooperative Agreement (CA) and fill out the property location and site background information and then share the work package with your Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) or contractor. They could fill in the site-specific activities, dates, and technical information. Finally, you would review the completed work package and Submit it to EPA. You could similarly share the work package with someone else in your organization. For example, someone in your finance office could assist with the dates and funding information for the assessment or cleanup activities. There is no limit to the number of people with which you can share a work package. They just need to be active ACRES users with your CA associated to their accounts.

Here is a little more detail on how it works:

The work package 'owner' starts the work package and can select 'collaborators' (other ACRES users associated with your CA) to update information on the work package. Collaborators are notified by email that a work package has been shared with them. You even have the option to create a message with your instructions to be included in this system-generated email.

To begin sharing, click the "Enter Data" link next to one of the properties associated to your CA and click the Expand Button button next to the "This Work Package is Shared" section title. This section lists all other ACRES users associated with your CA. To share the work package, simply click the box next to the other user's name(s). An "X" mark replaces the box. Remember you have the option here to include a written message to your collaborators. To finalize the sharing and to send the message, click the Update Sharing button.

If at any point you wish to remove the work package sharing, just return to the work package sharing section and simply un-click the "X" mark next to the other user's name.

A column title "Shared" will display on your CAR Home page to identify packages that are currently shared. The column lists both you (owner) and your collaborator's names. Because only one user can make edits at a time, if one user tries to access a work package that is being edited by another collaborator/owner, a lock icon will appear next the work package on the Home page. As soon as the user finishes editing (logs out, times out, or moves to another area of ACRES) the lock will be removed. It is important to note that only the owner (the person who initially created and shared the work package) can ultimately submit a work package for regional review.

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

~ John Muir ~

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