EPA Assessment Grant Application Helpful Hints
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The New FY24 EPA MARC Grant Application Guidelines Are Out!

FY24 APPLICATION DUE DATE: November 13, 2023
Your application(s) MUST be successfully received by Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

The TAB EZ grant writing software tool is currently being updated to reflect the new proposal guidelines. When updates are complete, an email will be sent to TAB EZ users. Users currently writing in TAB EZ should export their drafts to a MSWord file as soon as possible, using the button at bottom of the proposal outline screen. Once updates are complete, users should enter (or copy/paste) content into a new TAB EZ template created for the FY24 competition. Be sure to check your content against the new FY24 grant application instructions.

*You will need a KSU TAB account to use TAB EZ. New users who have not previously set up an account can do so by clicking the "Get a free account" link in the upper righthand side of the  www.ksutab.org webpage. (If you have questions, please contact Sheree Walsh,  chsr@ksu.edu, 785-200-7005.) Once you have an account,navigate to TAB EZ under “Online Tools” dropdown at top-of-page menu bar (at https://ksutab.org/tabez).

Go to the TAB EZ Homepage for additional information.

TAB can provide a free review of your draft EPA Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) proposals for those applying in EPA Regions 5, 6, 7 & 8 Please give us a one-week heads-up that you will be sending a draft to review. It generally takes us a few days to get the proposals back to you. Contact Maggie Belanger (maggiejessie@ksu.edu, 785-532-0782) to reserve your spot!

For other regions' TAB providers, contact:
EPA Region 1:The University of Connecticut
EPA Region 2: New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)
EPA Region 3: The West Virginia University Research Corporation
EPA Region 4: The International City/County Management Association
EPA Regions 9 and 10: Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR)

FY24 - Remember:

Some key documents include:

EPA webpage links:

EPA Brownfields & KSU TAB National Training Webinars:


The following Helpful Hints are to assist applicants in applying for

FY24  EPA Brownfield Community-Wide Assessment and Community-Wide Assessment Grants for States and Tribes

Should any information provided here differ from the cleanup grant guidelines, the guidelines prevail.

Please Note: These helpful Hints are under review for updates that may be needed
based on any changes made to the guidelines for FY24.


III. B Threshold Criteria for Assessment Grants - Helpful Hints

Your responses to items in the threshold eligibility criteria are required and must be included as an attachment to the Narrative.

Remember: Failing Threshold means your application will NOT go to Ranking. Therefore, if you have a question about whether you meet one of the threshold criteria or not, please ask. EPA staff can respond to questions regarding threshold eligibility criteria, administrative issues related to the submission of the application, and requests for clarification about this announcement.

Section III. A Who Can Apply?

(From Assessment Grant Application Guidelines):

In FY24, EPA is soliciting applications for the following Assessment Grant types:

  • Community-wide Assessment Grants - up to $500,000
  • Community-wide Assessment Grants for States and Tribes - up to $2 million
Entities applying for an FY24 Community-wide Assessment Grant may not apply for (or be a non-lead coalition member of) an FY24 Assessment Coalition Grant, an FY24 Community-wide Assessment Grant for States and Tribes or an FY24 Multipurpose Grant
Entities that were awarded an FY23 Community-wide Assessment Grant for States and Tribes are not eligible to apply for Assessment Grant funding under this solicitation.

Check with your EPA Regional Brownfield Contact listed in Section VII in the EPA assessment grant guidelines to discuss eligibility questions. The Regional Brownfield Contact is there to help you.

For more information, please refer to FY24 FAQs

Note: individual entities, for-profit organizations, and nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that lobby are not eligible to receive Brownfields Grants.

Remember: Eligible entities can apply for funds to assess publicly and privately-owned properties BUT private property owners cannot apply directly for grant funds.

III.B.2 Community Involvement

Be specific in responding to this requirement.

III.B.3 Expenditures of Existing Grant Funds - CWA ONLY

Applicable to those entities applying for a Community-wide Assessment Grant. This does not apply to States or Tribes applying for a CWAGST.

For entities with an open EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant or Multipurpose Grant, confirm and provide documentation that at least 70.00% of the funding for each Assessment and Multipurpose cooperative agreement have been drawn down and disbursed by October 1, 2022.  Contact your EPA project officer or Jerry Minor-Gordon (brownfields@epa.gov) to obtain the required information for this section. In particular, a copy of a financial record displaying the amount of cooperative agreement funds drawn down (e.g., a report from the Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP) or general ledger entries).

III.B.3 Target Areas and Priority Sites - CWAGST ONLY

Applicants must propose at least three target areas and at least five priority sites, including at least one priority site in each target area. If the application is selected for funding recipients must assess a minimum of 10 sites; therefore, additional sites may be selected throughout the period of performance. Conserve space in your application and select the five (at a minimum) most compelling sites to discuss in the narrative and do not feel as though you must identify a minimum of 10 sites at this time.

You will be required to list each target area and address the information for each priority site on the Narrative Information Sheet in Section IV.D.4.

III.B.4 Contractors and Named Subrecipients

If you have selected a contractor(s) to provide services under this grant, prior to submitting the application to EPA, you MUST disclose this information in this section. The information that must be provided includes the procurement procedures that were followed to hire the contractor(s) (including information on where and when the Request for Proposals/Request for Qualifications was posted as part of the application. Also include in your response the number of firms solicited and the number of offers received and considered.

Regardless of whether you name contrators in your application, describe how your procurement process complies with the fair and open competition requirements in 2 CFR Part 200 and 2 CFR Part 1500. If you name subrecipients, explain how they are eligible for a subaward in compliance with Appendix A of EPA’s Subaward Policy. Be specific, as noncompliance will result in rejection of your application.  Please see Section D. in the FY24 FAQs for additional guidance.

IV.B. Due Date and Submission Instructions

IV.D Narrative Information Sheet

The text entered into TAB EZ will appear when you export the Word document. Make sure this information includes a header and/or footer with your organization's official letterhead.
See the Assessment Grant Guidelines to make sure you have all required documentation/attachments for your application.
Use full sentences and make sure the information provided is clear and easy for the reviewer to locate and understand.
Double and triple check for typos and misspellings. Do not rely on spell-check alone!
Provide contact information directly to the person responsible for the application, not a generic phone number. EPA may contact the applicant for clarifying questions about threshold criteria and it is important they are able to reach you. Failure to reply to EPA's outreach could result in disqualification. 

IV.D.7 Other Factors 

Additional points are not awarded for meeting one or more of the other factors. EPA may consider the "Other Factors" when making final funding selection decisions (e. g., as a tie breaker for similarly ranked applicants when all the applicants with the same score cannot be selected). Therefore, it's important to identify ALL the other factors that apply to your application. It may make the difference between being selected for a grant and not being selected.

  • Include the Other Factors table in the body of the Narrative Information sheet. Don't forget to include the page number in your narrative that summarizes or demonstrates how this factor applies to your project.
  • Read the instructions on the form. If you indicate that a factor applies to you, make sure you reference the location (page number(s)) in your narrative that summarizes or shows how this factor applies to you. The information related to the Other Factors must be included in your application narrative, so make sure that it is.
  • If none of the "Other Factors" are applicable, that is ok. Just remember to include a statement that none apply.

IV.D.8 Letter from the State or Tribal Environmental Authority - CWA ONLY

Attach a current letter. Do not submitt a letter from previous years, even if your project goals did not change.

Contact your State or Tribal environmental authority early - do not wait until the last minute to get this letter!

Write a statement that the letter is attached.  For States and Tribe applicants, indicate this section is not applicable.

IV.D.9 Releasing Copies of Applications

It is recommended that you not include confidential, privileged or sensitive information in your grant application, however, if your application contains confidential, privileged or sensitive information, clearly indicate which portions of the application contain this information. If not applicable, state that the application does not contain confidential, privileged or sensitive information.


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IV.E Narrative Application/Ranking Criteria (Evaluation Criteria) for Community-Wide Assessment and Community-Wide Assessment for State and Tribes Grants

IV.E.1 Project Area Description and Plans for Revitalization

CWA Grants — Total 40 points
CWAGST - Total 40 points

IV.E.1.a Target Area and Brownfields (15 total points)

IV.E.1.a.i Overview of Brownfield Challenges and Description of Target Area(s) (5 points)

Remember: Your grant will be reviewed by people not familiar with your area and the reviewer will not be familiar with your city or situation. A person from a different EPA region will review your application so as to prevent bias. This means someone from California could review a grant from Nebraska. Do not assume the reviewer will know that shops, factories, etc. in your community closed and you lost sources of employment and your tax base. Discuss relevant facts but tell your story to help the reviewer understand why you really need this grant to make things better for the impacted community.


CWAGST Additional Hints: 

IV.E.1.a.ii Description of the Priority Brownfield Site(s) (10 points)

IV.E.1.b. Revitalization of the Target Area (10 points)

IV.E.1.b.i Reuse Strategy and Alignment with Revitalization Plans (5 points)

IV.E.1.b.ii Outcomes and Benefits of Reuse Strategy (5 points)

IV.E.1.c Strategy for Leveraging Resources (Total 15 points)

IV.E.1.c.i Resources Needed for Site Reuse (10 points)


IV.E.1.c.ii Use of Existing Infrastructure (5 points)

IV.E.2 Community Need and Community Engagement

CWA Grants - Total 40 points
CWAGST – Total 45 points

IV.E.2.a Community Need

CWA Grants - 25 points
CWAGST – 30 points

IV.E.2.a.i The Community’s Need for Funding (5 points – CWA) (10 points – CWAGST)

IV.E.2.a.ii Threats to Sensitive Populations (20 points)

Review the FY23 FAQs for information on sensitive populations and environmental justice. Use data from EPA's EJSCREEN Tool, if possible.

IV.E.2.a.ii (1) Health or Welfare of Sensitive Populations (5 points)

IV.E.2.a.ii (2) Greater than Normal Incidence of Disease and Adverse Health Conditions (5 points)

IV.E.2.a.ii (3) Promoting Environmental Justice (10 points)

Discuss the environmental justice issues in the target area(s) and how underserved populations are affected by these issues.  This may include:

IV.E.2.b. Community Engagement (15 total points)

IV.E.2.b.i. Project Involvement (5 points)

IV.E.2.b.ii. Project Roles (5 points)

IV.E.2.b.iii Incorporating Community Input (5 points)

IV.E.3. Task Descriptions, Cost Estimates, and Measuring Progress

CWA Grants —Total 50 points
CWAGST – Total 50 points

IV.E.3.a Description of Tasks/Activities and Outputs (30 points)

IV.E.3.a.i Project Implementation (10 points)

Use the recommended format to provide the requested information. Doing so will help ensure you include all the requested information and make it easier for the reviewer to evaluate the information.

IV.E.3.a.ii Identifying Additional Sites (5 points)

IV.E.3.a.iii. Anticipated Project Schedule (5 points)

Your anticipated project schedule should be described by months or quarters and not years or larger blocks of time. For example: “Community engagement activities will begin in the 2nd Quarter of the First Year”.” Public meetings providing updates on the cleanup will occur annually in Years 2, 3 and 4.”

IV.E.3.a.iv. Task/Activity Lead (5 points)

 IV.E.3.a.v Outputs (5 points)

IV.E.3.b Cost Estimates (15 points)

CWAGST Additional Hints:

IV.E.3.c Measuring Environmental Results (5 points)

IV.E.4 Programmatic Capability and Past Performance (35 total points)

Don’t forget to mention how you plan to report progress to ACRES. You may use the KSU TAB Brownfields Inventory Tool (BIT)  (see also BIT Instructions and Helpful Hints) to track your brownfields projects and report to ACRES. Note: You must be logged into your free ksutab.org account to access BiT or TAB EZ.

IV.E.4.a Programmatic Capability 20 points)

Your responses to IV.E.4.a.i – IV.E.4.a.iii may be combined which can save space and flow better since the topics being discussed overlap.

IV.E.4.a.i Organizational Capacity (5 points)

Detail your organization's capacity to manage this grant by highlighting your organizational capacity to manage a grant in key areas (technical, administrative and financial) and past grants/projects your organization has successfully completed.

Describe stability of the organization, city/town, or department. Give the reviewer confidence that the organization or coalition can manage this grant by describing other federally funded programs, experience with similar programs, number of employees, etc.

IV.E.4.a.ii Organizational Structure (5 points)

IV.E.4.a.iii Description of Key Staff (5 points)

IV.E.4.a.iv Acquiring Additional Resources (5 points)

IV.E.4.b Past Performance and Accomplishments

Respond to the subsection that applies to your organization.

 IV.E.4.b.i Currently Has or Previously Received an EPA Brownfields Grant (15 total points)

IV.E.4.b.i(1) Accomplishments (5 total points)

IV.E.4.b.i(2) Compliance with Grant Requirements (10 points)

IV.E.4.b.ii Has Not Received an EPA Brownfields Grant but has Received Other Federal or Non-Federal Assistance Agreements (15 total points)

IV.E.4.b.ii(1) Purpose and Accomplishments (5 points)

IV.E.4.b.ii(2) Compliance with Grant Requirements (10 points)

IV.E.4.b.iii Never Received Any Type of Federal or Non-Federal Assistance Agreements (8 points)






















  • Community-wide Assessment Grants – up to $500,000
  • Community-wide Assessment Grants for States and Tribes – up to $2 million
  • How will you inform the community and other stakeholders of meetings, activities or events? For example, email blasts, webpage postings, flyers in community spaces, local newspapers, social media, etc.
  • What events have you planned or do you anticipate?
  • How will you involve the community and other stakeholders in the planning phase and during the implementation phase? Describe the process you plan to use for community involvement including those community members who may have language barriers and/or those who have special needs. Be sure to mention if you already have a process in place which you’ve used successfully and plan to continue using it. Briefly explain why this process works for your community.
  • Register in www.grants.gov and make sure you have done everything needed (i.e. your organization has an active System for Award (SAM) account, www.sam.gov) to submit an application at least a month before the applications are due to be submitted to EPA.
  • The electronic submission of your application must be made by your organization’s Authorized Organization Representative (AOR). Make sure you know your AOR, that they have access to www.grants.gov, and their information is current. Plan to have your entire application package to the AOR with enough time to successfully submit.

  • The text entered into TAB EZ will appear when you export the Word document. Make sure this information includes a header and/or footer with your organization’s official letterhead.

  • Provide contact information directly to the person responsible for the application, not a generic phone number. EPA may contact the applicant for clarifying questions about threshold criteria and it is important they are able to reach you. Failure to reply to EPA’s outreach could result in disqualification.

  • Note: Additonal points are not awarded for meeting one or more of the other factors. EPA may consider the “Other Factors” when making final funding selection decisions (e. g., as a tie breaker for similarly ranked applicants when all the applicants with the same score cannot be selected). Therefore, it’s important to identify ALL the other factors that apply to your application.  It may make the difference between being selected for a grant and not being selected.

  • Include the Other Factors table in the body of the Narrative Information sheet.  Don’t forget to include the page number in your narrative that summarizes or demonstrates how this factor applies to your project.

  • If none of the “Other Factors” are applicable, that is ok.  Just remember to include a statement that none apply.

  • Applicants other than a state or tribe must attach a current letter from the State or Tribal environmental authority acknowledging that you plan to conduct or oversee assessment activities and plan to apply for FY23 grant funds. Do not submit a letter from previous years, even if your project goals did not change.

  • Contact your State or Tribal environmental authority early – do not wait until the last minute to get this letter!

  • If applying for multiple types of grants, you need to obtain only one letter acknowledging the relevant grant activities. However, this letter MUST be attached to every single grant application.

  • Write a statement that the letter is attached.  For States and Tribe applicants, indicate this section is 'not applicable.' 

  • Community-wide Assessment Grant (CWA) Applications may score up to 165 points.  CWA Evaluation Criteria
  • Community-wide Assessment Grant Applications for States and Tribes (CWAGST) may score up to 170 points. CWAGST Evaluation Criteria
  • Use full sentences and make sure the information provided is clear and easy for the reviewer to locate and understand. Check for typos and misspellings. Do not rely on spell-check alone.
  • Describe the brownfields challenges and impacts within the geographic boundary, making sure to include background on any the brownfields challenges  and impacts to your community. Focus on the brownfields challenges for the impacted community (blighted properties, higher crime rate, job loss, etc.) and how this grant will alleviate or address those challenges.
  • Clearly describe how this grant will address the identified brownfields challenges and impacts.
  • Clearly describe your target area(s). These areas can be described using census tract numbers, neighborhood or corridor name, etc.; however, to make sure that the reviewers have a clear idea where your target area is located within your community also provide a description based on physical surroundings. Examples include proximity to a known body of water, interstate(s), direction from downtown, or major industry (like a port).
  • Describe the brownfields in the target area(s) and the extent of the brownfield problem including the relationship between this area and the health and well-being of people in the target area, as well as in your city, town or geographic area as a whole. Include all possible brownfields in this description, including properties like vacant lots, blighted or aging buildings, historic dry cleaners, historic gas stations, etc. Search your State or Tribal environmental databases for evidence of known releases or use PEER. You really want to show that there are brownfield sites and they are significantly impacting your community or target area and the specific types of challenges/impacts they are causing to the community.
  • Support your statements by highlighting key statistics (population loss over time, poverty, unemployment, job loss, environmental justice issues) that you present in the IV.E.2 Community Need subsections. See Statistics and Census Information in the FY23 FAQs.
  • Describe the relationship between the target area(s) and the health and well-being of people in the target area(s). Demonstrate the cumulative impact of brownfields on the surrounding community and how residents are overburdened when compared to the rest of the city/town, region, or larger geographic area. You really want to show that there are brownfield sites and they are significantly impacting your community or target area and the specific types of challenges/impacts they are causing to the community.
  • Describe the location of your brownfields, i.e., are they in the center of town, outskirts, close to or in neighborhoods/schools, in a historic section, along a reinvestment corridor, or near other sensitive populations? Be sure your discussion includes the extent you plan to address these sites with the funding requested, i.e., will the funding be enough for one or more sites in the targeted areas.
  • Keep in mine, the target areas and priority sites discussed in the Narrative will be incorporated into your work plan and recipients must assess a minimum of 10 sites throughout the term of the grant.
  • For the most favorable review, one target area will be located in a metropolitan statistical area and one area will be located in a non-metropolitan statistical area.
  • Responses may not earn full points if all the target areas are in higher population densities or if all of the target areas are in areas with lower population densities. 
  • Clearly identify priority sites (at least one or more), why they are a priority, what are the current conditions and environmental issues, are there any existing structures, what is their condition and can they be reused and whether they are adjacent or near a body of water or federally designated floodplain (one of the Other Factors).
  • Is your priority site(s) impacted by mine-scarred lands or a coal-fired power plant recently closed or is closing (one of the Other Factors).
  • For example, is your site a priority because it represents a significant health hazard, the site has good redevelopment potential, or addresses some other community concern.
  • Bodies of water can be large or small and might include lakes, rivers, creeks, marshes, wetlands or floodplains.
  • How well you describe your sites, the number and extent of the problem, how clear it is why you have prioritized the sites or area you have, whether it has existing structures and if/how these structures can be reused and how close the sites/area is to a water body can all help your application.
  • Reminder for CWAGST: identify a minimum of 5 priority sites.
  • Make sure you clearly describe the reuse strategy for the site(s) or target area(s).
  • Is there a community comprehensive plan or similar public document that you can refer to that indicates reuse and redevelopment in the target area(s) is consistent with such a plan?
  • If possible, try to give the reviewer a strong sense that reuse/redevelopment is likely to happen after the assessment is completed.As you describe the project, make sure you indicate how the redevelopment strategy/plan aligns with the target area’s local government’s land use and revitalization plans. 
  • As you describe the project, make sure you indicate how the reuse strategy/plan aligns with the target area’s local government’s land use and revitalization plans or community priorities.
  • Be sure to mention if the reuse will facilitate renewable energy from wind, solar or geothermal energy or incorporate energy efficiency measures – one of the “Other Factors”.
  • Describe how the community has been involved with comprehensive or master plans, reuse strategy, vision, or other decision making efforts.
  • The proposed cleanup and reuse of the site(s) should align with challenges presented in Section IV.E.1.a.i Overview of Brownfield Challenges and Description of Target Areas.
  • If possible, discuss how the reuse strategies align with environmental justice, climate action, and community resilience.
  • Focus on the outcomes and benefits that will take place in the target area(s), particularly how the proposed project or revitalization plans will benefit disadvantaged communities (refer to the FY23 FAQs for information on disadvantaged communities).
  • It is important to link the outcomes and benefits of the project(s) to your targeted community to statistics/issues provided in the Community Need Section.
  • Describe how the reuse of the site(s)/target area(s) will stimulate economic development.
  • As much as you are able, provide specific anticipated outcomes and economic improvements, such as X% increase in tax base, number of jobs this project may create, etc. If you cannot be specific, provide a realistic estimate based on reliable resources.
  • Try to answer the following question: If all sites under a community-wide grant will get assessed, how many acres of reusable land will that create? How will that potentially affect the local economy?
  • If your focus is on economic redevelopment, are you also helping to preserve greenfields? If so, mention it and explain how the proposed project will create/preserve or add to a park, greenway, undeveloped property, recreational property or other property used for non-profit purposes.
  • As much as you can, provide specific anticipated greenspace generation, such as X acres of greenspace will be created in a low-income neighborhood, X number of pocket parks in developed areas.
  • If you create or preserve greenspace, identify specific regulations, programs or policies that will provide long-term management and preservation of greenspace. This may include land use restrictions, zoning, and maintenance. If you don’t have any regulations, programs or policies yet, discuss any efforts or plans to develop these.
  • The guidelines are focused on disadvantaged populations, so the degree you can describe how your reuse strategy will benefit disadvantaged populations and the community at large (for example: provide affordable housing, access to food, health care, etc.) especially if it’s an area where brownfields have impacted the community the stronger your application.
  • Can any of your effort be tied to anti-sprawl concepts? If so, describe it here.
  • Will the project provide space for not-for-profit, governmental or charitable organizations? If so, describe/mention the amount and type of space provided improving the livability of the community residents.
  • Include information about how redevelopment will facilitate renewable energy energy from wind, solar, geothermal energy or energy efficiency improvement projects. For example, will renewable energy be used as part of the site reuse, will building codes require certain energy efficiency measures or standards, etc.
  • If your proposed project may potentially cause the displacement of residents and/or businesses, describe any strategies to minimize these effects, such as plans to develop affordable housing or additional commercial leasing close to or in the target area(s).
  • Focus on funding resources that can be used to support the completion of assessment, remediation, and/or reuse at the priority sites.
  • Discuss eligibility and plans for leveraging funds from other sources in order to show commitment to reuse the property once it is assessed and any cleanup is accomplished.
  • Indicate any monetary funding you have already leveraged from other sources which will assist with the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment/reuse.
  • Information on non-monetary leveraging in the form of in-kind support will be reported under section IV.E.3.a Description of Tasks and Activities rather than in this section.
  • If you haven’t already leveraged funding, demonstrate that you have the ability to leverage funds. If applicable, describe funds you already have committed as well as those you are pursuing. Describe possible local, state, federal or regional resources. The more variety, the better. Local commitments are especially important. Think about what your partners, if you have any, can contribute and discuss it here.
  • EPA and State targeted brownfields assessments (TBAs), completed or proposed, are examples of leveraging. These may come into play if you are applying for a community-wide grant, but have too many sites to be covered with the grant funds. While still listing all the sites/areas you want to assess (documenting need), discuss any efforts to also have TBAs from EPA and/or the State to help achieve your goal.
  • Use positive and active verbs, such as “we are working on…”, “we will commit…”, “we have applied for…”
  • All leveraged funding should be easily identifiable including the source of the funding, activity being funded, and amount.  It is important to note leveraging resources that have been secured and those that are pending or being sought (e. g., applied for a grant.) Applications which demonstrate secured funding may be viewed more favorably.
  • Examples of funding resources include other federal funding (e.g. HUD, EDA, USDA, etc.), Opportunity Zone developer credits, State program (e.g. State Tax Credits), local funds (tax increment financing zones), philanthropic foundations, and traditional private financing.
  • Make it clear how the leveraged funding/resources you’ve identified are relevant or link to this project. In other words, don’t just list random funding received/sought, but make sure the reviewer can clearly see how it links to the assessment grant.
  • Don’t duplicate leveraged funds that are listed in IV.E.3.a Description of Tasks and Activities.
  • Include information about the reuse of existing infrastructure at the priority site(s) or target area. If the infrastructure in place can handle large capacity industrial or commercial facilities’ water, sewer, electricity, etc. needs state that so the reviewer knows the existing infrastructure can handle many development options.
  • Infrastructure can mean more than just roads and utilities (sewer, water, electricity, broadband, etc.). It can also include other transportation (bus, train or air transportation), other energy and telecommunications and even housing and business services needed to support redevelopment. Be as inclusive as possible. Specifically list each utility.
  • Describe the benefit of using existing infrastructure. Are there money and energy savings? Will the use of existing infrastructure avoid construction noise, dust and traffic issues that are common when building new infrastructure? If reusing existing infrastructure reduces the potential construction-related impact on adjacent residential areas, explain this benefit.
  • If additional infrastructure is needed discuss what is needed and how funding for it will be sought or provided. Basically, you need to explain how it will be covered and why it won’t hinder site reuse efforts.
  • Again, if your project can/will lead to any sustainable reuse of buildings or structures, mention this even if it is not the focus of the project.
  • If applicable, describe the environmental benefits of infrastructure upgrades, like replacement of lead pipes or updated septic or sewer systems.
  • This section should fit together with the descriptions you wrote in Section IV.E.1.a.i Background and Description of Target Area.
  • Community is described as the city(ies), towns(s), or geographic area(s) targeted in the application.
  • In order to receive maximum points, the community(ies) should either have a small population and/or are low-income.  Note: if the inability to draw on initial courses of funding is not due to the small population and/or low income of the community then your response may only earn up to two points.
  • Explain why you need these funds and describe how economic conditions limit the funding available for addressing your brownfields sites. If applicable, include why your community has the inability to draw on other resources because it either has a small population or low income. Use statistics to support your statements about small population, low income or other relevant demographics that show need.
  • Explain why the community has no other source of funding for the proposed assessment, remediation or redevelopment activities.
  • Describe how economic conditions limit funding available for addressing brownfields sites. Include the targeted community as well as the community, as a whole, to describe the economic impacts of your brownfields.
  • Consider reviewing sales tax data, or assessed valuations of property to identify downward trends that demonstrate that brownfields have been a partial cause of financial impact to the target area and made other funding from taxes unavailable.
  • CWA applicants: you may pull out and highlight this information for the target areas of the community to make your case, i.e., focus your census data and describe the adverse impact of brownfields on a subset of the population.
  • CWAGST applicants: be sure to specifically state how communities and tribal communities that would not otherwise have access to brownfields grant resources will be served and benefit from this funding.
  • Describe the threats to the health and welfare of sensitive populations in the targeted area.
  • Discuss the proximity of residential areas, hospitals, schools, daycare facilities or elder care and assisted living facilities to brownfield sites or potential sources of contamination.
  • For smaller communities use any and all available information to provide a picture of the impact brownfields have on your  community and why you (the community) do not have the resources to address these sites affecting your sensitive populations. Note that the information you provide needs to tie back to the information you provided in the description of your target area(s). It may even be the basis for how you prioritized site(s) or determined your target area.
  • Consider using demographic statistics for census tracts or census blocks around priority brownfields if those localized statistics demonstrate a greater need than the entire target area(s).
  • Contact your State environmental agency, your local health department, and/or public safety department to see if they have any statistics available that might help you. If data is not available at the target area(s) level, explain that and explain how the data used (e.g. city or county level data) is representative of the target area(s).  
  • Include data from EPA’s EJSCREEN Tool or other EJ-focused tools, including the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST), on sensitive populations and environmental justice.  In addition, see Statistics, Demographic and Census Data Information for helpful weblinks that provide statistics, demographics and Census information.
  • Include demographic statistics on Sensitive populations (percent of population that are minorities, women, children or low income, the elderly; infant disease/mortality rates) here to support your statements about how the grant will reduce threats to sensitive populations in the target area(s).
  • Discuss how your project and associated reuse strategy will identify and mitigate any human health risks (for example via removal of contaminants, prevention of pollution (via zoning, codes, etc.) and prevention of future brownfields through sustainable redevelopment).
  • Include health effects in the community that are possibly caused by contaminants present at the brownfield sites in the target area. The more you can make a direct linkage with the brownfield sites present, the better.
  • Include health effects in the community that are possibly caused by contaminants present at the brownfield sites in the target area. The more you can make a direct linkage to the brownfield sites present, the better. For example, are the brownfield sites near neighborhoods with sensitive populations where exposure to contamination can potentially occur.
  • Don’t forget to mention how the grant funds will address these threats.  For example, if greenspace is created tie in how it will promote outdoor recreation, exercise , etc that will improve the health and welfare of these sensitive populations.
  • Consider climate vulunerability as a threat to sensitive populations with tools like CEJST.
  • Describe how you have and/or will prioritize assessment of brownfields that contribute to impacts on residents who are already experiencing cumulative public health threats or where there is greater than normal incidence of disease or adverse health conditions. For example, if a community is potentially impacted by proximity to a power plant or heavily used highway, as well as proximity to brownfields, explain this situation and the urgency for alleviating impacts from the brownfield sites. Make sure you indicate that this grant will allow you to identify and address those issues for those residents impacted.
  • Work with the local or state health department to gather data on incidence of disease and adverse health conditions for your target area(s). Use numbers or percentages to demonstrate negative health impacts to in your target area(s) in order to make your case.
  • To the degree you can, make a clear connections or linkage with those experiencing greater than normal health impact such as cancer, asthma or birth defects with the brownfield sites in your target area(s).
  • Describe how the project and reuse strategy may help improve health of the target population.
  • Projects that address greater-than-normal incidence of cancer, asthma, or birth defects will be evaluated more favorably. 
  • Discussion of how the brownfields in the target area(s) have disproportionately impacted underserved populations and how this grant and projected reuse will promote environmental justice in the target area(s).
  • Try to be specific and link those impacts to the brownfield sites. If you can, use statistics to make the case for your community by citing high unemployment, low median incomes, etc. in the area near your brownfield sites/target area(s) or where the community has had a disproportional share of negative environmental consequences such as hazardous waste site, landfills, illegal dumping, etc.
  • Indicate how the grant funding will help by identifying and removing a source of pollution and blight from further impacting this population while adding jobs and contributing toward economic growth while reducing health threats.  Make sure the outcomes and benefits stated here are consistent with those identified in Section 1.b.ii (Outcomes and Benefits of Reuse Strategy).
  • Your project should promote a vibrant community. Some attributes that can enhance community health are mixed-use, appropriate density, housing choice and walkability, greenspace, opportunities for recreation, etc. - if applicable to your project.
  • Per Section I.E. of the FY23 guidelines, EPA defines environmental justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
  • For more information on welfare, sensitive populations, and environmental justice and for examples of variables that define an underserved community, refer to FY23 FAQs.
  • Letters of Commitment from your partners are no longer required.
  • Listed partners should be local organizations that are relevant and have a key interest, commitment and role in the proposed project. For example, if your projected reuse is on housing then you should have a partner with relevant expertise in housing.
  • Include a diverse list of partners covering multiple aspects of your project including at least one community-based and/or community liaison representing residents directly affected by the work in the target area(s). For example, there may be state organizations, governmental departments, health departments, local organizations and businesses, nonprofit organizations, community groups, etc. Note: a plan that doesn’t include at least one relevant community-based organization or community liaison will be evaluated less favorably.
  • Sometimes quality is better than quantity; however, do not overlook the obvious.
  • If your community is small or remote enough that no local community organizations exist, make sure you address this in this section and show how your community is engaged with someone such as your local Chamber of Commerce, citizen groups, environmental organizations, etc. who may be considered as an acceptable substitute for community organizations in this unusual situation.
  • CWAGST Applicants: describe your plan to engage local groups as additional target areas and priority sites are identified.
  • Use the sample format provided in the guidelines. This clearly and concisely provides the information requested by EPA and will facilitate those reviewing your application.
  • Make sure your partners had a chance to review and provide input on your application! EPA may sporadically check up on listed partners to make sure they are fully aware and knowledgeable of their role in the project.
  • Make sure your partners are diverse and can provide different expertise or assistance to your grant project, e.g., don’t just name all developer organizations or economic development organizations.
  • Make sure each partners role in the project is clear.
  • Plan to have a clear, complete and robust community engagement program. This is an important aspect of your application as community involvement represents a core value for EPA.
  • Some examples of involving the affected/target community include holding public meetings where the progress/result of the assessment project is explained, engage the community up front in site selection/prioritization and with re-use planning for the sites and target area.
  • Public meetings, web sites, social media, newspaper and newsletters are mechanisms you can use to provide updates to the community and ask for feedback/comments.
  • Be sure to mention if you already have a process in place which you’ve successfully used in your community and plan to continue using it. Briefly explain why this process works for your community i.e., most of your community members work during the day so you schedule your meeting in the evening when more are available to attend, you offer childcare to encourage parents to attend, etc.
  • Be sure to indicate what alternative methods of getting community input you plan to employ given the event of social distancing or other restrictions as a result of COVID-19. Possibly offering more online or electronic mechanisms for meetings and feedback.
  • Address any language barriers that may exist within your targeted community, i. e. provide translation services (meeting invitations, meetings, documents) as needed. If all of your community speaks English, then be sure to mention this so the reviewer doesn’t think you’ve missed this aspect.
  • Address the needs of sensitive populations – for example, provide ADA accessible meeting space if your targeted community consists of a high percentage of seniors.
  • It is important here to discuss how you will seek comments from the community, how they will be considered/evaluated and how those comments will be addressed and responded to in a meaningful way so the community knows what happened regarding their comments.
  • For more information on community involvement activities see the Community Engagement Outline from the 2021 Brownfield Redevelopment Process Interactive Webinar Series: Module 5 Community Involvement and Brownfields.
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  • Clearly describe your plan for identifying additional sites.
  • Explain how your prioritization criteria for site selection considers underserved communities.
  • CWAGST Applicants will also be evaluated on how selection of additional sites and their prioritization criteria considers metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas or if the applicant is from American Samoa, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Northern Mariana Islands, Rhode Island, and U.S. Virgin Islands, how selection of additional sites and their prioritization considers sites in areas of higher and lower population densities.
  • Provide a detailed list of each task/activity required to implement your project. Utilize clear and precise task descriptions. Explain what personnel will be doing and who will be filling each role including who will be leading/overseeing each activity and who will be performing the task (i.e., applicant, qualified environmental professional, other). Make sure these entities are appropriate for the roles they will be performing.
  • Make sure the applicant is directing grant activities and that the local health agency is involved in health monitoring activities, if applicable.
  • Your task/activities should represent a sound and efficient plan for performing the overall project.
  • If you anticipate hiring a contractor, explain what project activities the contractor will perform. Keep in mind that applicants will need to comply with procurement procedures in 2 CFR §200.318 for any contractors hired to support the grant.
  • It is not recommended to use acronyms like "ESA" or other acronyms specific to your organization.  If you do use acronyms, be sure to spell them out first.
  • Make sure each of the activities listed are necessary, relevant and appropriate for completing the project in the 4-year for CWA or 5-year for CWAGST period of the grant.
  • Make sure you explain any activities that will occur beyond the priority sites or outside your target area(s), the timing for these, and why they need to occur in order to have a successful project.
  • If a key activity associated with your project is not going to be included in your budget, explain why. For example, if another part of your organization or project partners will be taking care of community involvement activities as an in-kind contribution and is not charging this to the grant, note that. Otherwise, reviewers may wonder how key activities will get accomplished and think you’ve failed to include key information.
  • Along these lines, make sure you discuss the extent that other resources such as in-kind assistance will bridge the gap between the EPA grant funds and the funds necessary to bring the project to successful completion.
  • While you should be thorough in describing necessary tasks/activities and in-kind services, do not duplicate sources listed in the leveraging section (IV.E.1.c) of the application. Make sure the information is included once in the appropriate section.
  • Include a timeline/schedule of milestones demonstrating how you will complete the proposed activities within 3 years (5 years for CWA Grants for States and Tribes). Make sure the milestones are aggressive, but at the same time achievable. (Note: Assessment grants will have a sufficient progress term and conditions requiring that 35% of grant funding be drawn down within 18 months of grant award. Make sure your schedule takes sufficient progress into consideration).
  • Make sure to include all key activities in your schedule such as procuring a Qualified Environmental Professional, inventory work, site access, community engagement, site selection, Phase Is, Phase IIs, cleanup planning, etc.
  • List and briefly describe outputs.  Outputs are work prodcuts that are measurable and will be done on a set schedule or by a set date.  For example, an output could be "conduct 3 community meetings" or "complete 10 Phase I assessments".
  • Make sure outputs correlate with the proposed project. If you proposed completing 5 Phase IIs, then you should have 5 Phase II reports at the end of the grant.
  • Research the Brownfields Program to identify the deliverables that will be required.  Examples of deliverables could include:
    - Generic and site specific quality assurance plans, as required by the EPA Region
    - Quarterly progress reports
    - Annual Financial reports - Phase I and II reports
  • Use the sample table in the guidelines to present your budget. It will clearly and concisely present your budget in a way that will facilitate review by the EPA reviewer.
  • Do not change the Budget Categories down the left-hand side of the table. These are the standard federal grant budget categories. If a budget category is not relevant, then leave it blank, but do not delete.
  • Feel free to add additional Tasks in the budget table if more than four Tasks are needed. Typical task categories may include: Program/Project Management; Brownfield Planning and Site Reuse Plan Development; Brownfield Inventory; Phase Is; Phase IIs; Community Engagement, etc.
  • Link the budget amounts to specific tasks/activities that you described in Section IV.E.3.a. If you said you were going to procure a contractor to perform the Phase I and II assessments, then make sure the budget table includes those costs.
  • Include a narrative to accompany the budget table describing each of your estimated costs. Make sure your basis for each cost is straightforward and easy to follow.  Make sure it is clear to the reviewer how you calculated and arrived at the costs for each budget item.
  • Capital equipment over $5,000 is considered “equipment” and will require working with your EPA Project Officer for approval. It is highly unlikely that you would need to purchase equipment for an assessment grant. Equipment less than $5,000 is categorized as “supplies.”
  • DO NOT include leveraged funding in the budget table.
  • Check your MATH! Your budget better add up correctly otherwise it will reflect poorly on your application and your ability to get the project done.
  • Double check that your proposed budget only includes eligible costs.
  • DO NOT request more than 5% of the budget in Administrative Costs.
  • Make sure at least 40% of the budget is directly associated with Phase I and II environmental site assessments and site-specific cleanup planning.
  • FY23 FAQs include examples of eligible and ineligible uses of funds. For questions not covered by the FY23 FAQs, contact your Regional Brownfields Contact listed in Section VII.
  • Be realistic! Do not request unrealistic amounts of money for a task. The reviewer wants to see that you plan to use the funding prudently and efficiently. At the same time, include what you actually think it will costs based on past assessment work in your area. For example, in you live in an area where costs generally run high, explain this and the reason why in your basis of cost statement.
  • Travel to the EPA National Brownfields Conference, regional brownfields conferences and other related educational meetings/conferences are legitimate budget items under "Travel". Grantees are expected to attend the National Brownfields Conference.
  • Cost estimates that are included that are not reasonable or realistic to implement the grant will be evaluated less favorably.
  • Applicants that plan to use grant funds for more than one community liaison per target area will be evaluated less favorably.
  • Responses which plan to subaward any aspect of programmatic administrative or financial requirements of the project/grant will be reviewed less favorably.
  • Clearly outline how you plan to track, measure and evaluate your progress in achieving project outputs, results and outcomes in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Clearly show how you are doing the work and accomplishing things in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Outcomes are not outputs. Outcomes include the number of jobs created and funding leveraged through the economic reuse of sites; the number of acres made ready for reuse; acres of greenspace created for communities; and the minimized exposure to hazardous substances and petroleum contamination.
  • Efficiency and effectiveness of the structure of your organization seems to be the operative words here. If there is any way to describe this concisely, then do that here. Make sure you communicate how the level of expertise/qualifications/experience of your key staff will result in timely and successful expenditure of funds as you complete all technical, administrative and financial requirements of the grant.
  • Detail your organization's structure to manage this grant by highlighting your organizational structure for managing key areas (technical, administrative and financial) and past grants/projects your organization has successfully completed.
  • Make sure you communicate how the level of expertise/qualifications/experience of your key staff will result in timely and successful expenditure of funds as you complete all technical, administrative and financial requirements of the grant.
  • Include information highlighting staff availability, roles, expertise, qualifications and experience. Include who is going to be assigned to which key roles and the specific expertise /qualifications/experience of the staff assigned. Include their education, years of experience, or other similar projects they have worked on and managed. Make sure to indicate how this level of expertise/qualification/experience will lead to efficient and successful administration of the grant.
  • Discuss contingency plans in case key staff quits or gets sick. Do you have an immediate replacement? If so, who?
  • Include information about your organizations experience or systems in putting in place subrecipient agreements and/or contracts that you may need to implement the grant.
  • Present a plan for acquiring any additional resources (subrecipients and contractors) that you know you will need for successful completion of the proposed project.
  • If contractors are needed, state that you will follow required competitive Procurement Standards in 2 CFR 200.317-326 when hiring contractors.
  • State clearly that you did receive in the past or currently have an EPA brownfields grant. State the grant type, year received, amount, etc.
  • Describe progress toward achieving the expected outputs and outcomes outcomes or how expected outputs and outcomes were achieved if grant is closed. Make sure these accomplishments are reflected in ACRES. EPA is likely to check.out.
  • Clearly indicate your compliance with the workplan, schedule and terms and conditions of those grants.
  • Indicate your history of timely reporting both in ACRES and submitting quarterly reports.
  • If you have remaining funds on any of these grants, then explain why and how those funds are either already committed to ongoing eligible activities or will be expended by the end of the grant. If the grant is closed and there was remaining funds, then provide a reasonable explanation for why that happened.
  • Make sure you explain any anomalies related to past/current brownfield grants.
  • If you haven’t received an EPA Brownfield Multipurpose, Assessment, Cleanup, Revolving Loan Fund or 128(a) grant, but you have received a federal or non-federal grant  (not contract) of similar size, scope or relevance to this project then complete this sub-criterion. Do not include federal or non-federal assistance agreements where you were a subawardee or partner. You must have been the recipient of the assistance agreement.
  • Think creatively. EPA wants to have confidence your organization knows how to manage grant dollars and meet project outcomes. Try avoid falling into IV.E.4.b.iii. which results in a neutral score.
  • Identify the assistance agreements you received.
  • Describe your history of managing federal and/or non-federal funds and accomplishments of that grant.
  • Include compliance with the workplan, schedule, terms and conditions, submitting progress reports and progress in meeting the expected results in a timely manner.
  • If you find yourself in this category, it's ok.  Make sure to include a statement that your organization has never received any type of federal or non-federal assistance agreement.
  • Do not leave this section blank or you likely receive zero points for this criterion!