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ACRES Bulletin
March 2015

Showing Success in ACRES!

Gainesville's Depot Park -
wonderful amenities and
storm water treatment share
same urban space

With the help of a Regional Brownfield Pilot project grant, the city of Gainesville, Florida has a contemporary public greenspace that will serve as the city's "Central Park". The brownfield site, located in the vicinity of the former railroad depot on Depot Avenue in downtown Gainesville, consisted of a 32-acre tract of land. Sources of contamination included gas stations, a cement plant, railroad activities, petroleum tank farms, manufactured gas plant [MGP], and other industrial operations. The primary contamination source at the site was coal tar residues from the former MGP.

First on the list of transformation steps were the preliminary and contamination assessments; identification of the sources of contamination, extent of soil and groundwater contamination, a remedial investigation/feasibility study, and preparation of a remedial action plan.

Gainesville's Depot Park
photo by
  • Contamination assessment
  • Remedial investigation/feasibility study
  • Soil and sediment remediation
  • Runoff/stormwater treatment
  • Park design and construction

Next on the list was the actual cleanup. The remediated area was excavated to a depth of 50 feet and over 147,000 tons of contaminated soil was removed. The remediation area was dewatered through 106 wells surrounding the area at a pumping rate of 300 gallons per minute (>432,000 gallons per day). Water recovered from the dewatering system was processed through sand filters and activated carbon prior to discharge to Sweetwater Branch. Over 40 million gallons of contaminated water was treated and discharged. Contaminated soil removed from the site was transported to an approved landfill for disposal.

After contamination cleanup, the treatment of runoff was addressed. The park was designed to have the capacity to treat runoff from approximately 89 acres of downtown Gainesville. The park itself consists of a treatment train approach. The first step is pretreatment provided by two 10- by 16-foot second generation baffle boxes. The second step is performed by two wet detention ponds in series, connected by a braided wetland stream that will provide additional water quality treatment. To further enhance the treatment capabilities of the braided wetland stream, a recirculation pump between the two ponds was designed to continuously flow water through the braided stream. Both ponds are lined to prevent potential groundwater contamination from entering the ponds. Lastly, the water flows through a preserved onsite wetland for the final step in the treatment train. A stormwater harvesting system which removes additional nutrients was designed to provide landscape irrigation for the 35-acre park.

Plans are underway to complete the park in 2015. Not only will it function to provide clean runoff from the downtown area, the residents of Gainesville will have access to a fully functional amphitheater, a children's playground area with top of the line surfaces and custom equipment, a water area with falls, pools, and splash zones, and art inspired by the history of Gainesville. In addition, the Cade Museum (named after Gatorade inventor Dr. James Cade) is being built on the property. The museum's mission: "Our classes, programs, and exhibits are designed to engage visitors in 'purposeful creativity,' the kind that leads to great inventions, new businesses and ideas that change the world." The design and creation of Depot Park has certainly served as an inspiration and successful example of "purposeful creativity"!

Gainesville's Depot Park
Depot Park during decontamination and cleanup
photo by


Florida Communities Trust Grant$137,400
State OTTED Brownfield Grant$311,000
State Bureau of Historic Preservation Grant$226,000
FDOT (Rail Trail)$480,000
FDOT LAP (Depot Building)$750,000
FFGCF Bonds$471,000
State Petroleum Program$5,000,000
City Funding$2,000,000
Other non-MGP Remediation$2,690,000
Gainesville Regional Utilities MGP Capital Recovery Factor$23,000,000

Total Leveraged Funding$35,065,000

Artistic Concept
Artist concept of completed Depot Park (


Data Sources - Learning How to Find and Use Them

Join us at the 2015 National Brownfields Training Conference! The Brownfields Conference will be held in Chicago, September 2 -4. The conference agenda includes sessions on available data sources and using data to enhance community revitalization.

The 2015 Brownfields Conference will feature a "Data Lab" that will show case data sources at all levels of government and will feature representatives from a wide selection data providers who will provide "hands on" demonstrations of tools available for brownfields projects. Companies that will be available to showcase their tools and data bases include: Environmental Data Resources (EDR), ESRI, Surdex, DMP, Terradex, GeoTech, and many more. Representatives from federal and state agencies also will be available to demonstrate publicly available data sources and tools.

In addition to the Data Lab, the conference agenda will include educational sessions such as:
  • "Using Health Impact Assessments in Brownfields Redevelopment Planning"
  • "What's Your Sustainability Plan? - How to use the Envision Sustainability Rating System"
  • "Public Infrastructure Coordination and Assessment - Introducing a new Infrastructure Coordination and Assessment Tool"
  • "Brownfields Metrics: Selling Brownfields through Impact Analysis"
  • "Leveraging, Leveraging, Leveraging: Understanding Return on Investment Data"
  • "Hyper for Hyper-Local Data"
  • "Tracking and Measuring the Community Benefits from Brownfields: The Latest Models, Methods and Tools"
For additional information on the 2015 National Brownfields Training Conference and to register for the conference, go to:

Features in ACRES

Team ACRES is continually improving the system in ways both small and large. Some are transparent to our users and others provide improved reporting (often as a result of a user's suggestion). Here are a few of the recent improvements:

For All ACRES Users:

Important Reminder

For security purposes, EPA requires the users for all accounts to change their password every 3 months. A generic reminder (sorry - we can't make it ACRES specific) is sent from the authentication system. If you receive an email titled "Password Expiration Warning" which informs you "This is to let you know that the password for your Production EPA application account with user name of x******* will expire on Month Day, 2015 at 08:52:24 (GMT)" this is indeed your notification to update your ACRES related password ASAP. If you do not, the authenticator will cancel your log in account and you will have to reregister with ACRES. Note: you will not lose your data if you reregister.

ACRES Automated Quarterly Report
This new feature was released to several pioneers for testing the capture of quarterly report information for FY2014, Quarter 4. Feedback from the first users was incorporated into the report to ensure the report meets your needs. The first grants to have automated report capability are cleanup grants only. Other grant types will have automated report capability rolled out during 2015. The automated report will be available to all CAR and Project Officer (PO) users for their cleanup Cooperative Agreements (CA) beginning 2nd quarter of 2015.
  • CARs - a new button will be displayed in the Profile Information section of the CA Home page. When you click the button, the new report will allow you to enter information for Project Progress, Funding, Narratives, and Property-Specific details.
  • POs - a new tab titled 'Quarterly Reports to Review' will be displayed on the Project Officer tab bar. The new tab will list any quarterly reports submitted by CARs that are your responsibility to review. A link is provided to each report which will provide a display of all report fields and an option to either approve the report or return it to the CAR for clarification.
Once the Quarterly Reports have been approved, they will be available to both the CAR and PO to view/print in PDF format from the CA Home page.
See Frank's Tips in this bulletin issue for detailed instructions for CARs.

ACRES Connection Timeout Extended
The connection timeout for ACRES has been extended to 2 hours. This will allow users who are entering detailed text or financial information more time to complete their data entry without worrying about being logged off. Typically for computer applications, connections are closed (timed out) after 5 minutes of inactivity to ensure that connections do not stay open indefinitely.

Property Profile Form (PPF) - Geographic Info just got easier
For users interested in fine tuning the location of a property, the Google map pin on the PPF (Part 1) can now be dragged and dropped which will update the property's latitude and longitude. For cases where the property is large or the actual contamination may be at the back of a property or the actual location is a short distance from the location marked on the map, this new feature will allow the user to move the pin point to the exact site location on the property. To use this feature, click the 'Edit Fields' link on the property's PPF, Part 1 in the Property Geographic Information section. Then click and hold the pin point, drag to the new location and release. The lat/long is automatically updated. Note: the property address is not updated when the pin point is relocated.

For Project Officers:

JT Training for POs

A refresher on ACRES Job Training was provided to EPA POs on September 25th. The PowerPoint presentation used during the training has been added to the ACRES Information page. To access the presentation, simply click on the link for ACRES 5.0 Training for Job Training Project Officers.

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 or (703) 284-8212.

Events & Training

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.

  2015 ACRES Training Dates (2 pm EST) details

  Getting Started (Beginners)
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

  The Next Level (Advanced)
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Tuesday, June 9, 2015

2015 National Brownfields Training Conference
  Chicago, IL, September 2 - 4, 2015

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

~ The Lorax, Dr. Seuss ~

Redevelopment Outcomes

These are the program results for fiscal year 2015 as of January 1, 2015 (end of first quarter).

GPRA GoalAnnual TargetFY15 Value

Properties w/Assessments Completed1,300544 
Properties w/Cleanups Completed12031 
Dollars Leveraged$1.1B$410K 
Jobs Leveraged5,0001,678 
Acres Ready for Reuse4,0002,094 

Frank's Tips

Frank Gardner is the Brownfields Coordinator 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

Attention Cleanup Grant Recipients!

How many of you find it a hassle to have to submit written quarterly reports every 3 months and also have to enter a lot of the same information into ACRES? Here is a chance to do something about it by getting on board with the latest new development in ACRES, a 1-Stop-Shop approach to updating your ACRES data and generating your Quarterly Reports at the same time! It's not often that we are able to reduce paperwork and reporting burden, but that is precisely what this will do for you. Sound interesting?

Here's how it works:
  1. Upon the end of each quarter, log into ACRES and select your cleanup cooperative agreement (CA). If it's your first time doing so, you may need to first associate the property record for the subject site to your cleanup CA. In cases where EPA has awarded cleanup grants for 2 or 3 contiguous properties under one CA, you will need to make sure both or all three properties are associated. In many cases your property record(s) will be pre-existing in ACRES due to previous grant-funded assessment work by you or other grantees, so all you need to do is associate the property record to the CA instead of creating a new property record from scratch. [See previous Frank's Tips from January 2012 for more details on how to associate property records.]

  2. Click "Property Home" to view the property home page. This will to enable you to view all information entered by all grantees relative to that property record, including your cleanup grant. This will give you the full background of information reported for the property and help you identify what information might need to be changed or updated.

  3. If you have updates or new information to add, click "Enter Data" to reach the electronic Property Profile Form and update/enter data accordingly. Please make sure to complete the 2-step "Submit" process when you are done, so the work package you just created will be delivered to your EPA Project Officer for review.

  4. Go back to the CA home page (easily found from the My Cooperative Agreements tab) and click on the Generate Quarterly Report Button button in the Profile section. ACRES will pull up the Quarterly Report (QR) template and auto-populate many of the fields by importing your newly-updated data.

  5. The quarterly report information is divided into sections; click the tabs at the top of the report to access each. The first four are for entering information; the final is for reviewing and submitting to your project officer. You can enter as many of the fields as are appropriate for the status of your cleanup project. The report provides some open response text fields designed to be flexible in allowing recipients to discuss project highlights, problems encountered, green remediation or other regional priorities.

  6. First tab: Project Progress. The standard QR template will bring up 4 generic tasks. Please modify the names of these tasks and add/subtract tasks as needed to match your EPA-approved work plan. These will appear for all subsequent reports for the CA. There are also some open response text fields.

  7. Second tab: Finance. In the budget table, you will need to fill out the "Initial Approved Budget", "Current Approved Budget" and "Costs Incurred this Quarter" columns if it's your first time. For subsequent QRs, you will only have to make entries in the "Costs Incurred this Quarter" column, as ACRES will do the math for you on the rest of the columns. A couple of tips here when making these entries:

    1. If your Current Approved Budget is the same as your Initial Approved Budget, then enter the same values in both columns.

    2. If you have submitted previous QRs for prior quarters the old-fashioned way and you are just switching this grant over to ACRES QRs for the first time, enter your total costs to date in the "Costs Incurred this Quarter" column so that ACRES will be able to complete the math correctly going forward. You can just include a little comment to that effect in one of the narrative fields.

  8. Third tab: Narrative. Enter text to explain Budget, Cost Share and Schedule information as appropriate.

  9. Fourth tab: Property Specific Information. The report information for the project timeline milestones is not all auto-populated. The utility will give you a calendar/date-picker to enter dates where needed.

  10. Fifth tab: Review & Submit tab. Check over your QR for accuracy, and click the Submit for Review Button button to send the QR to your EPA Project Officer for review.
Congratulations! You have just made your life a little easier and gotten all of your reporting done at one time.

As always, please contact your Project Officer or the ACRES Help Desk if you have any questions.

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