Cleanup Grant Application Helpful Hints
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The New FY23 EPA ARC Grant Application Guidelines Are Out!

FY23 APPLICATION DUE DATE: November 22, 2022
Your application(s) MUST be successfully received by by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

PLEASE BE AWARE: has scheduled server maintenance from November 19 - 21, 2022 and will be offline starting at 12:01am EDT on November 19 until 6:00am EDT on November 21.  Therefore, EPA strongly encourages submitting your application BEFORE November 19, 2022.

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 FY23 competition. Be sure to check your content against the new FY23 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 webpage. (If you have questions, please contact Sheree Walsh,, 785-200-7005.) Once you have an account,navigate to TAB EZ under 'Online Tools' dropdown at top-of-page menu bar (at

Go to TAB EZ LEARN MORE 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 (, 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)

FY23 - Remember:

Some key documents include:

EPA webpage links:

EPA Brownfields & KSU TAB National Training Webinars:

  • EPA will host two Grant Guideline Outreach Webinars. These will have different content, so please check both to see which best fits your type of application. The recordings, a pdf copy of the presentation, and the Q&A transcript will be posted when available on OBLR's MARC Grant Application Resources webpage.
    • Thursday, September 29, 2022, at 2 PM ET. This webinar focused on the FY 2023 guidelines for entities applying for Multipurpose, Community-wide Assessment, Assessment Coalition, and Community-wide Assessment Grants for States and Tribes funding.
      Presentation: 2023 Grant Guideline Outreach Webinar - Assessment & Multipurpose (pdf) (4.36 MB)
      Recording: The webinar recording will be made available in the coming weeks.
    • Tuesday, October 4, 2022, at 2 PM ET. This webinar will focus on the FY 2023 guidelines for entities applying for RLF Grant funding. Click to join; registration is not required.
      Or by telephone (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): +1 669 254 5252 or +1 646 828 7666 or +1 669 216 1590 or +1 551 285 1373 or 833 568 8864 (Toll Free) or 833 435 1820 (Toll Free); Webinar ID: 160 794 2977
  • National TAB Providers will host the "2022 Enhance Your Chance" webinar: What You Need to Know to be Competitive in the FY23 EPA MARC Grant Competition."
    Thursday, October 20, 2022 11:00 am PDT | 12:00 pm MDT | 1:00 pm CDT | 2:00 pm EDT, Duration: 90 minutes
    Register at:


The following Helpful Hints are to assist applicants in applying for

FY23 EPA Cleanup Grants.

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

III.B Threshold Criteria for Cleanup Grants

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

Remember: Failing Threshold means your application will be rejected. EPA staff will respond to questions regarding threshold eligibility criteria, administrative issues related to the submission of the application, and requests for clarification about this announcement.

Entities other than cities, counties, tribes or states must submit documentation of their eligibility as an attachment to the Narrative. Nonprofit organizations must submit documentation of nonprofit status.

III.B.4 Site Ownership

It is recommended that the site be owned by the applicant by November 1st giving time to gather and include ownership documentation in the grant application.

III.B.6 Status and History of Contamination at the Site

Be very clear and describe exactly what the conditions are at the site. Summarize information from a Phase I/II environmental site assessment or other sources and reference the document(s).

III.B.8 Environmental Assessment Required for Cleanup Grant Applications

A written ASTM E1903-19 or equivalent Phase II environmental assessment (ESA) report (a draft report is sufficient) is required for completion of a draft Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA). A draft ABCA for each proposed site is required to be available for public comment before your application is submitted.

For sites addressing asbestos containing materials (ACM) only, a building materials survey, or asbestos survey would be considered an equivalent Phase II ESA report.

III.B.9 Site Characterization

  • For an applicant other than a State or Tribal environmental authority, contact your State agency or Tribal environmental authority as soon as possible so they may make the determination whether the site is eligible for enrollment in their voluntary response program. Depending on staffing, it may take a period of time for the State or Tribal environmental authority to determine that there is a sufficient level of site characterization from the environmental site assessment performed to date for the remediation work to begin or that there will be a sufficient level of site characterization from the environmental site assessment performed by June 15, 2023. It is strongly recommended that you contact your State or Tribal environmental authority as soon as you begin preparing your grant application so you will know what documentation is required for the State or Tribal environmental authority to make that determination (it will typically be an ASTM E1903-19 or equivalent Phase II environmental assessment report).
  • This letter from the State or Tribal environmental authority will serve as the acknowledgement letter that was previously requested as part of the Narrative Information Sheet so you will not need to ask your State or Tribal environmental authority for an additional acknowledgement letter.

III.B.10 Enforcement or Other Actions

Contact the State and local authorities to find this information. If you do not find any environmental enforcement actions or pending actions, state this. Summarize your effort to get this information.

III.B.11 Sites Requiring a Property-Specific Determination

  • If your site requires a property-specific determination, note that the required information (in the FY23 FAQs) must be attached to your application. This information will NOT count toward the 10 page limit for the Narrative.
  • If you have questions, call your EPA Regional Brownfields Contact listed in Section VII of the cleanup grant guidelines.
  • Write a statement that you do not require a property-specific determination, or that the required information is attached.

III.B.12 Threshold Criteria Related to CERCLA/Petroleum Liability

Entities liable for contamination on the site(s) are not eligible for Brownfields Grant funding.

III.B.12.a Property Ownership Eligibility - Hazardous Substance Sites

Disregard this section if the site is not contaminated with hazardous substances, or predominantly contaminated with hazardous substances, or if there are no distinguishable areas contaminated with hazardous substances. The CERCLA list of hazardous substances can be found at 40 CFR part 302.4Exit Exit EPA website in Table 302.4 "List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities".

If your site(s) is contaminated with hazardous substances, be sure to provide all the requested information to demonstrate your exemption from CERCLA liability. If you have any questions, call your EPA Regional Brownfields Contact listed in Section VII of the cleanup grant guidelines.EPA will answer eligibility questions even after the start of the grant competition. Under Section 7 of the BUILD Act, a government entity that acquired property prior to January 11, 2002 is eligible for Brownfields Grant funding even if it does not qualify as a bona fide prospective purchaser (BFPP), so long as the entity did not cause or contribute to the release or threat of release of a hazardous substance at the property. Likewise, a Brownfields Grant applicant that is not a public entity (such as a nonprofit organization), for grant purposes only, is eligible for a grant if it acquired the site prior to January 11, 2002 provided the applicant can demonstrate it performed environmental due diligence that was customary at the time and did not cause or contribute to the release or threatened release of a hazardous substance.

III.B.12.b Property Ownership Eligibility - Petroleum Sites

Disregard this section if this is not a petroleum-contaminated site or a predominantly petroleum-contaminated site, or if there are no distinguishable petroleum contaminated areas of the site.

Petroleum contamination can be found at many different types of properties. Many abandoned sites, such as old gas stations, auto service businesses, factories, mill sites, shipyards, transit stations, and junkyards have been found to be contaminated by petroleum. A property that is perceived to be contaminated by petroleum is a potential petroleum brownfield site until assessment of the site proves there is no petroleum contamination or clearly identifies contaminants of concern so they can be cleaned up to meet the designated end use.

III.B.12.b.i Information Required for a Petroleum Site Eligibility Determination:

Do not wait until the last minute.

  • Provide the information required for a petroleum site eligibility determination to your State as soon as it is feasible for you to do so.
  • If possible, attach a copy of the State determination letter as an attachment to your narrative. If the State does not make the determination before the application due date, attach a copy of the request you sent to the State. EPA requires you to report the date the request is sent to your State.
  • If the State is unable to make the determination, EPA will make the petroleum site eligibility determination; however, you as the applicant, must request that EPA make this determination before they will proceed.
  • Tribal applicants must submit the information required for a petroleum site eligibility determination as an attachment to your Narrative. EPA will make the petroleum site eligibility determinations for tribes.
  • You must own the site by the cleanup application submission deadline of November 22, 2022.

III.B.12.b.i.3 No Responsible Party for the Clean Up of the Site

  • This information will be provided in your State letter, and you should also clearly state here (be sure to reference the State letter) whether there is/is not a responsible party. If the State cannot make this determination, you MUST indicate this here. Be sure to include the date of your request to the State. If you are a Tribal applicant, EPA will make the determination based upon answers you provide to the petroleum questions.
  • Be sure to describe if and what steps were taken to prevent exposures to contaminants on the site. Note that reasonable steps may include actions such as limiting access to the property, monitoring known contaminants, and complying with State and/or local requirements. The steps taken to prevent or limit exposure to previously released contaminants may depend, for example, on such things as the location of the site in relation to the public and whether the public has been known to use (or even trespass on) the site.

III.B.12.b.i.4 Cleaned Up by a Person Not Potentially Liable

State that you did not cause petroleum contamination on the site or made the problem worse (if this is true). Explain your statement. If you took reasonable steps with regard to the contamination at the site, be sure to describe those steps here. Note that reasonable steps may include actions such as limiting access to the property, monitoring known contaminants, and complying with State, Federal and/or local requirements. The steps taken to prevent or limit exposure to previously released petroleum contamination may depend, for example, on such things as the location of the site in relation to the public and whether the public has been known to use (or even trespass on) the site.

III.B.12.b.i.5 Judgments, Orders, or Third Party Suits

  • Contact the State to find out if there are any enforcement actions against prior owner(s).
  • If there are enforcement actions, discuss their status and how they fit into overall plans for the site.
  • Explain that you have tried to get this information. The focus of this section is on your knowledge about the liability of former owners of the site.

III.B.12.b.i.6 Subject to RCRA

The State will determine if your site is subject to RCRA in their determination letter. State here if the site is/is not subject to RCRA and reference the State letter. If the State cannot make this determination, you MUST indicate this here. Be sure to include the date of your request to the State. EPA will make the determination for Tribes.

III.B.12.b.i.7 Financial Viability of Responsible Parties

  • Remember: Foreclosure is an indication of lack of resources. If the site was obtained through foreclosure proceedings, elaborate on this.
  • If a viable responsible party does exist, but is recalcitrant or some other situation is preventing the site from being addressed and this lack of action is the reason imminent redevelopment cannot proceed, indicate this here. Be specific and detailed as possible.
  • This information will be provided in your State letter, and you should also clearly state here (be sure to reference your State letter) whether there is/is not financial viability of a responsible party. If the State cannot make this determination, you MUST indicate this here. Be sure to include the date of your request to the State. EPA will make the determination for Tribes.

III.B.13 Cleanup Authority and Oversight Structure

  • Enrollment in a State or Tribal voluntary response program is strongly recommended as this approach is favored by EPA. Any fees incurred for entry into such program are eligible costs under this grant.
  • Some States may require/encourage participation in a State response program as a condition for its support letter required in Section III.B.9.
  • Do not assume EPA reviewers are familiar with your State or Tribal program.
  • State clearly whether access to adjacent properties is needed for the cleanup. If access is needed, explain what steps you have taken to ensure access will be granted.

III.B.14 Community Notification

  • EPA outlines the minimum requirements for community engagement in this section of the guidelines. Demonstrate and document more than the minimum required effort, if possible.
  • Notice of the public meeting must be made at least 14 calendar days prior to the date your application is submitted to EPA. This means that the last possible date to publish the notice is November 8, 2022. if you submit the grant on November 22, 20221. If you plan to submit earlier, subtract 14 days from your planned submittal date to use as a deadline for your public notice. The notice must state the time and place of a public meeting(s) and must indicate a draft of the application (including the ABCA) will be available for comment. Host the public meeting (held in person, virtually, and/or by teleconference) after the notice is published, but before submitting the application.
  • Any comments received and the applicant's responses to those comments must be included in each Cleanup Grant application. If you are applying for multiple sites, be sure to document notifications to each target community and provide a draft Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) for each site.

III.B.15 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.
  • If a contractor has not been procured, state "n/a" or "not applicable". Do NOT leave this section blank!
  • Describe how your procurement process complies with the fair and open competition requirements in 2 CFR Part 200, 2 CFR Part 1500 and 40 CFR Part 33. 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.

IV.B Due Date and Submission Instructions

Register in and make sure you have done everything needed 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)

IV.D Narrative Information Sheet - Helpful Hints

  • You have three (3) pages for the Narrative Information Sheet, including the Other Factors Checklist (IV.D.7), which should only contain the information listed in Section IV.D of the Cleanup Grant Guidelines. Do not summarize your project here
  • The text entered into TABEZ will appear when you export the Word document to your computer. Make sure this information includes a header and/or footer with your organization's official letterhead.
  • See the cleanup grant application checklist in the Guidelines to make sure you have all required documentation/attachments for your application.
  • 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 factors.  However, EPA may consider the "Other Factors" (found on page 34 of the FY23 cleanup grant guidelines) when making final funding selection decisions (e.g., as a tie breaker for similarly ranked applicants). Therefore, it's important to identify ALL the other factors that apply to your application.
  • Include the checklist 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 o.k..  Be sure to include a statement that none apply to your project.
IV.D.8 Releasing Copies of Applications

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.

IV.E Narrative/Ranking Criteria for Cleanup Grants

IV.E.1 Project Area Description and Plans for Revitalization (55 points total)

IV.E.1.a Target Area and Brownfields

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

  • Be clear and concise! EPA is asking for a brief description.
  • Briefly, but clearly describe the area that this grant will address be it a city, county, village or other geographic boundary. Since your grant will be reviewed by people not familiar with your area you want to make sure that both the target area(s) and your jurisdictional or geographic boundaries are described in detail and leave no confusion in the reviewer’s mind.
  • Describe what specific brownfield challenges have affected this area, such as job loss, increased poverty and adverse health conditions. Include the targeted site(s) as well as the target area(s) and community as a whole to describe the challenges posed by your brownfields site(s). Focus on the brownfields challenges for the impacted community, e.g. blighted properties, higher crime rate, job loss, etc.
  • Support your discussion of the brownfield challenges in your area by highlighting key statistics , e.g. population loss over time, poverty, unemployment, job loss, that you present in the IV.E.2 Community Need subsections. See Statistics and Census Information  and pages 21-24 of the FY23 FAQs for helpful weblinks.
  • Clearly state how this grant will help alleviate the challenges described. Do not use general or generic language! It’s important to specifically state what improvements are anticipated as a result of planning, cleanup, community involvement and other activities conducted under this grant.
  • Tell your story to help the reviewer understand why you really need this grant to make things better for the impacted community. Remember: only 73 Cleanup grants will be awarded funds for this round.
  • The information you provide here should support the statements you make about revitalization goals and community need in following sections of your application.

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

  • Use the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment as a resource to describe the property(ies) you intend to clean up.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of what needs to be done to clean up the site. What are the contaminants (known or suspected)? Do structures need to be removed or will they be reused?  How do exposure to the existing contaminants impact surrounding residents, businesses, waterways, etc.
  • Describe the location of your brownfield(s), i.e. are they in the center of town, outskirts, close to or near neighborhoods/schools, densely populated impoverished/minority neighborhoods?

IV.E.1.b Revitalization of the Target Area (20 points total)

IV.E.1.b.i Reuse Strategy and Alignment with Revitalization Plans (10 points)

  • Is there a community comprehensive plan or similar public document that you can refer to that indicates this cleanup and redevelopment is consistent with such a plan?
  • Provide enough detail to show the reviewer that the cleanup aligns with local government land use and revitalization plans or community priorities.
  • Address why cleanup of this site/these sites makes the most sense or how critical the site(s) is (are) to the overall revitalization plan for the target area.
  • Demonstrate how these plans were inclusive of community voices and preferences.
  • The proposed cleanup and reuse of the site should align with challenges presented in Section IV.E.1.a.i Overview of Brownfield Challenges and Description of Target Area.
  • If possible, discuss how the reuse strategies align with environmental justice, climate action, and community resilience.
  • If you have considered any climate adaptation and/or mitigation measures as part of the reuse strategy, mention it in this section and refer to the page number in your Other Factors Checklist (section IV.D.7 of the Guidelines).

IV.E.1.b.ii Outcomes and Benefits of Reuse Strategy (10 points)

  • As much as you can, 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.
  • How will the cleanup potentially affect the local economy? Is cleanup addressing a potential catalytic site necessary for revitalization of the target community? If so, then tackle the question this way if you cannot quantify the specific economic benefit from cleanup of the site for which grant funds are requested.
  • If your focus is on economic redevelopment, are you preserving any property for public or nonprofit use? If so, briefly describe this benefit.
  • When applicable, how will the proposed project or revitalization benefit an underserved community?  See FY23 FAQs  for descriptions of underserved communit(ies).
  • If your project creates or preserves a park, greenway, undeveloped property, recreational property, or other property used for nonprofit purposes in the target area, describe how this will benefit an underserved community(ies).
  • If possible incorporate renewable energy or energy efficiency measures into your project and describe these.
  • Be sure to link the outcomes and benefits of the project to your targeted community as described in subsection 1.a.i. and the statistics you provide in the “Overview of Brownfield Challenges and Description of Target Area” and "Community Need" sections. Stress how the outcomes will directly benefit the disadvantaged populations.
  • If your project leads to any sustainable reuse of buildings or structures, mention this even if it is not the focus of the project. Mention other climate actions or resilience benefits.
  • 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).

IV.E.1.c Strategy for Leveraging Resources (20 points total)

Obtain letters of commitment for leveraged funding early. Attach all documentation of secured commitments to the Narrative. Having letters securing adequate funding for the project in the event that additional characterization or remediation is needed at the site(s), as well as funding needed for site reuse are crucial to receiving full points for this section.

You are encouraged to use the example table format in the Guidelines for reporting for Resources Needed for Site Characterization, Remediation, and Reuse.

IV.E.1.c.i Resources Needed for Site Characterization (5 points)

  • Carefully consider the size of the site(s) and contamination at the site(s) when determining if the resources are sufficient to complete any additional characterization that may be needed. If you have environmental engineers or professionals employed (or contracted) by your community, it may be helpful to discuss the Phase II report for the property with them to help determine the likelihood and type of potential characterization that may be needed.
  • Describe specific funds, such as grant and loans you already have secured, as well as those you are pursuing to pay for any additional characterization that may be needed.  Include documentation that demonstrates any secured funding commitments.
  • Describe possible local, State, Tribal, federal or regional resources that are committed or that you are pursuing.
  • If applicable, describe funds you already have secured, as well as those you are pursuing.  Include documentation that demonstrates secured funding commitments.
  • See the FY23 FAQs  for more information on how to demonstrate leveraging commitments.
  • Use positive and active verbs, such as “we are working on…”, “we will commit…”, “we have applied for…”.

IV.E.1.c.ii Resources Needed for Site Remediation (5 points)

  • Do not duplicate any funding resources that you list in section IV.E.3.b Description of Tasks/Activities and Outputs.
  • Discuss plans and partners for leveraging in order to show commitment to cleaning up and redeveloping the property, i.e., availability of additional funds for assessment (if more assessment is necessary), remediation, and subsequent reuse.
  • If applicable, describe funds you already have secured, as well as those you are pursuing.  Include documentation that demonstrates secured funding commitments.
  • Describe possible local, State, Tribal, federal or regional resources that are committed or that you are pursuing.
  • Local commitments are especially important. Think about what your partners, if you have any, can contribute and discuss it here. Preferably commitments by partners should be firm and have an associated value. Reference secure commitments made by partners and ask for a letter of commitment that may be attached to document the secured funding.
  • See the FY23 FAQs for more information on how to demonstrate leveraging commitments.
  • Use positive and active verbs, such as “we are working on…”, “we will commit…”, “we have applied for…”.
  • Briefly discuss commitment and community support. Mention community partners listed in Section IV.E.2.b.i Project Involvement. Show that the project WILL be completed if EPA provides cleanup funding.
  • Will cleanup of the proposed site catalyze additional redevelopment in the target area?  If so, highlight the catalytic qualities of the target site(s) along with discussing the community’s commitment.
  • Alternatively, discuss if the EPA funding requested in this application will be enough to complete the remediation of the proposed brownfield site(s).

IV.E.1.c.iii Resources Needed for Site Reuse (5 points)

  • Do not duplicate any funding resources that you list in section IV.E.3.b Description of Tasks/Activities and Outputs.
  • See helpful hints listed for  sections IV.E.1.c.i and IV.E.1.c.ii.
  • Carefully consider all activities that may need to be performed, such as demolition and construction activities at the site.

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

  • Describe the benefit of using existing infrastructure (such as existing structures, electric, natural gas, city water and sewer, telephone, and fiber optic). 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 applicable, describe the environmental benefits of infrastructure upgrades, like replacement of lead pipes or updated septic or sewer systems.
  • If additional or upgraded infrastructure is needed, explain how it will be funded by leveraged resources.  Please see the EPA “Plan for Brownfields Redevelopment Success: Infrastructure Evaluation” found at infrastructure_evaluation_placeholder.pdf ( for definition of infrastructure needed during redevelopment.

IV.E.2 Community Need and Community Engagement (40 points total)

IV.E.2.a Community Need (25 points total)

IV.E.2.a.i The Community's Need for Funding (5 points)

This section should fit together with the brownfield challenges you mentioned in Section IV.E.1.a.i Overview of Brownfield Challenges and Description of Target Area.

  • Explain why the community(ies) located within the geographic boundary(ies) has no other source of funding for the proposed cleanup. If the community’s funding has decreased in recent years due to outside influences, e.g. the state has reduced the funding provided to its cities, counties, etc., mention this. If the community experiences(d) population loss due to outmigration and hence has a reduced tax base, mention this.
  • Describe how economic conditions limit funding available for addressing brownfields sites.
  • Consider using demographic statistics for census tracts/blocks around cleanup site(s) if those localized statistics demonstrate a greater need than the entire target area.
  • Use statistics to support your statements about small population, low income or other relevant demographics that show need.
  • 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.

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

Review the FY23 FAQs for information on sensitive populations and environmental justice. Use data from EPA's EJSCREEN Tool along with the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST), if possible.

(1) Health or Welfare of Sensitive Populations (5 points)

  • Contact your State environmental agency and your local health department to see if they have any statistics available that might help you.
  • See Statistics, Demographic and Census Information, along with pages 21-24 of the FY23 FAQs, for helpful weblinks that provide statistics, demographics and Census information to help you.
    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. If data is not available at the target area level, explain that and explain how the data used (e.g. city or county level data) is representative of the target area.
  • Consider climate vulnerability as a threat to sensitive populations with tools like: .
  • Discuss how your project and associated reuse strategy will identify and mitigate any human health and sensitive population risks for example via removal of contaminants, prevention of pollution (via zoning, codes, etc.),reduction in crime and unsafe conditions, prevention of future brownfields through sustainable redevelopment and creation of jobs, particularly jobs that are anticipated to pay a living wage.

(2) Greater than Normal Incidence of Disease and Adverse Health Conditions (5 points)

  • Discuss any higher than normal health effects in the community that are possibly caused by contaminants present at the proposed cleanup site(s). For known contaminants found on site, link directly to area-wide health disparities. For example: if there’s lead in soil, talk about childhood lead exposure and stats about led levels in blood, which causes neurological issues and learning difficulties.
  • In addition to the statistics/demographics weblinks and other resources mentioned in (1) above, contact your local hospital or health department to find out if they maintain statistics or have research information of diseases and adverse health conditions in the area.
  • Compare local data to regional, state and federal statistics, whenever feasible.
  • Describe how the project and reuse strategy, including reductions of contaminants (or reductions in exposure to contaminants) once the site(s) is remediated may help improve health of the target population. Include elimination of exposure to contaminants through cleanup and any site improvements that will benefit the community, like parks for recreation, trees for air quality, healthy food, or other social determinants of health incorporated into reuse plan.
  • Make sure you address cancer, asthma and birth defects rates. If one or all of these are not elevated compared to the region, State, U.S., mention this. The important thing is that you address them.

(3) Promoting Environmental Justice (10 points)

  • 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. If your project will directly benefit threats to sensitive populations, such as a park with a walking/exercise path which can benefit cardiac health and other health issues, highlight this in this section.
  • Discuss the environmental justice challenges and how they affect underserved populations in the target area(s). Make sure you then discuss how your project will promote environmental justice amongst those underserved populations. For example, if lack of affordable housing or jobs are challenges for the target area(s), discuss specifically how your project will create jobs or affordable housing, if applicable.  Don’t forget: by virtue of cleaning up environmental contamination, your project will benefit underserved populations in your target area.
  • See Section I.E. of the cleanup grant guidelines for a discussion of Environmental Justice.

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

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

  • Letters of Commitment from your partners are no longer required.
  • Listed partners should be local organizations and have a commitment or special interest in the proposed project.  Quality is better than quantity.
  • Make sure the partners you choose represent a diverse group of local organizations who are vested in the success of the grant project. Try to include organizations such as: local citizen groups, environmental groups, developer groups, chamber(s) of commerce, property owners as well as governmental/public entities supporting brownfield redevelopment such as the local health department, local community college or university, local and regional economic development agencies and local brownfield and environmental departments.
  • Make sure your partners have a chance to review and provide input on your application! EPA will sporadically check up on listed partners to make sure they are fully aware and supportive of the project.
  • If your community is small or remote enough that no local community organizations exist, make sure you state that but also explain how your community is engaged. Your local Chamber of Commerce, citizen groups, environmental organizations, etc., qualify as community organizations. Church and youth groups in the community also qualify

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

Make sure that each partner listed agrees to their stated role. Use the sample format table contained in the Guidelines.

Focus on partners that will be involved in making decisions towards cleanup and future reuse of the site as well as partners that can provide assistance such as educating the community, providing meeting space and assisting in outreach to the community.

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

  • Be clear and concise and present a good plan. This is an important aspect of your application as community involvement represents a core value for EPA. For FY23 , methods that offer an alternative to in-person community engagement need to be discussed.
  • Some examples of involving the affected/target community would be to hold in-person or virtual public meetings where the progress/result of the project is explained, re-use planning is discussed and comments taken, Use websites, social media, local media, and newsletters to provide updates to the community and ask for feedback/comments. In-person public meetings may be more successful if held in or proximal to the target area.
  • If you have engaged the public in the past for similar projects, describe your outreach efforts, including those efforts that were successful, and state you will employ those efforts in this project.
  • The objective is to gather comments on your proposal and the draft Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) and to update the community throughout the duration of the project.
  • Address any language barriers that may exist within your targeted community, i.e., provide translation services as needed (for meeting invitations, meetings, documents, etc.).
  • Address the needs of sensitive populations – for example, provide ADA accessible meeting space if your targeted community consists of a high percentage of seniors For FY23, providing easy to use virtual meeting platforms for seniors or obtaining virtual feedback by telephone or other means is important due to social distancing requirements in many localities. Do not hold meetings before 5 or 6 pm, if the majority of residents hold "8-5" jobs. Tie this section back to any sensitive populations mentioned earlier in the application.
  • It is important here to discuss how you will seek comments from the community and how those comments will be addressed. EPA places emphasis on community engagement as well as seeking and responding to community input so make sure you clearly address how comments from community members will be addressed to receive maximum points for this section.
  • 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.

IV.E.3. Task Descriptions, Cost Estimates, and Measuring Progress (55 total points)

IV.E.3.a Proposed Cleanup Plan (10 points)

  • Discuss the merits of the proposed cleanup plan: is it the most economic or the only feasible option for cleanup? If other cleanup options were considered, discuss why the chosen cleanup plan was selected. Discuss and summarize the ABCA in this section.
  • Be specific. Be positive and proactive. Identify and clarify how any unresolved project issues will be resolved.
  • Establish realistic project timelines.

IV.E.3.b Description of Tasks, Activities and Outputs (25 total points)

  • Use the EPA sample format for this section of the Narrative. Review previous successful grants (available on KSU TABEZ website) to get ideas for how to present information in this table in a succinct way.
  • Provide a detailed description of each of the tasks listed in the budget table. Utilize clear and precise task descriptions. Explain what personnel will be doing. If you anticipate hiring a contractor, explain what project activities this contractor will perform. Don’t use acronyms like "SVE", spell it out.
  • If your project will include a subaward(s) for services such as community outreach, clearly describe the exact activities or services the subawardee(s) will provide. Keep in mind that EPA will incorporate this narrative into your workplan if you are awarded a grant so accurate detail of subawardee(s) tasks/services is important.
  • If a key activity associated with your project is not included in your budget, explain why. For example, if another part of your organization or a project partner will be taking care of community involvement activities and is not charging this to the grant, note that. Otherwise, reviewers may wonder how key activities will get accomplished.

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

IV.E.3.b.ii 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.b.iii Task/Activity Lead (5 points)

If the task/activity will be conducted by a contractor, list the grantee as the lead and then state that the grantee will oversee the contractor. For example: “Task - Public meetings to discuss progress of the cleanup; Lead–Contractor with oversight by the grant manager for the City of Cleanupville”. EPA wants to know that the grantee is either conducting or overseeing all tasks/activities performed under the grant.

IV.E.3.b.iv Outputs (5 points)

Outputs are work products that are measurable and done on a set schedule or by a set date. For example, an output could be “conduct 3 community meetings” or “remove 10 cubic yards of contaminated soil”. Outputs also include cleanup plans, community involvement plans, final ABCA documents, administrative records, and cleanup completion report or letter. See Section I.D. of the of the cleanup grant guidelines for an explanation of output.

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

Use the sample budget table. Do not change the budget categories. If you are seeking funding for multiple sites, be sure to distinguish costs for each site. 
  • Link budget amounts to specific tasks discussed in IV.E.3.b. and include the basis for each of your estimated costs.
  • Do not include leveraged resources. Only include costs covered by EPA grant funds.
  • Reminder: Section I.B of the EPA Cleanup Grant Guidelines explains that a local government (NOT state or tribal governments) may use up to 10 percent of its grant funds for health monitoring of populations exposed to hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants from the brownfield site; monitoring and enforcement of any institutional control used to prevent human exposure to any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant from the brownfield site.
  • 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.
  • Explain and justify equipment and/or supply budget items. If you have “supplies”, do not exceed $5,000. Anything over $5,000 is considered “equipment”!  Be specific about supplies, not just “miscellaneous supplies.” Examples include: markers, pens, post-it notes, ink for printing, and name tags for public meetings.
  • Be realistic! Do not request unrealistic amounts of money for a task. At the same time, allow for contingencies, but explain them in your budget description. Cost estimates that are not realistic will be evaluated less favorably.
  • Davis Bacon rates do apply to construction activities and may inflate cleanup costs if these rates had not been considered for cost estimating (The Davis-Bacon Act and Brownfields (

Recheck that your proposed budget only includes eligible costs.  Reference the FY23 FAQs for examples of eligible and ineligible uses of funds.

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

Discuss both outputs and outcomes.

  • Outputs: Make sure outputs correlate with the proposed project and are likely to be achieved in the 4-year grant period.  Outputs are work products 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 “finalize the ABCA” or “complete 1 site cleanup”, “# of Remediation Closure Documents”, # tons of excavated hazardous waste”, “# of acres ready for reuse”.
  • 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; infrastructure investments leveraged, and the minimized exposure to hazardous substances and petroleum contamination. See Section I.D. of the cleanup grant guidelines for an explanation of outputs and outcomes.
Make sure you describe a plan and mechanism for tracking and evaluating progress.
  • Mechanisms such as project management software or spreadsheets that help track your anticipated project schedule should be mentioned.
  • Examples of tracking, measuring and evaluating are the use of quarterly and annual reports, progress tracking software, team meetings to evaluate progress and make corrections where necessary, ACRES, etc.
  • 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 account to access BiT.

IV.E.4.a Programmatic Capability (15 points)

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

  • Highlight your organization’s capability to manage this grant by highlighting organizational capability and experience. Mention your past experience managing grants similar in scope and amount.
  • 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.   
  • Efficiency of your organization is to be the operative word here.
  • Planned usage by your organization of a tool specific to brownfields programs such as BIT would merit mention here. Also, mention how reporting to ACRES will be accomplished.
  • Discuss contingency plans in case key staff quits or gets sick. Do you have an immediate replacement? If so, who?

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

Highlight experience of key staff and their availability if the grant is awarded. If using a contractor, refer to compliance with competitive procurement procedures, as you discussed in III.B.15 and/or in IV.E.4.a.iii.
Don’t forget to mention the role of each of your key staff in the project as well as expertise, qualifications and experience. Be concise but highlight the abilities of your staff with a focus on managing grants.

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

If you have had experience in partnering or contracting for resources you do not have in-house, describe this experience here. 
Present a plan for acquiring any additional resources (contractors or subrecipients) that you know you will need for successful completion of the proposed project. State that you will follow required competitive Procurement Standards in 2 CFR 200.317-326 when hiring contractors.

IV.E.4.b Past Performance and Accomplishments (15 points)

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

  • State clearly that you did receive in the past or currently have an EPA brownfields grant(s). State the grant type, year received, amount, etc.
  • Update ACRES early in the grant writing process! EPA will likely check your ACRES reporting.
  • Provide information on no more than three grants.

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

Describe progress toward achieving the expected outputs and outcomes or how expected outputs and outcomes were achieved if the grant is closed out. Make sure these accomplishments are reflected in ACRES.

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

  • Describe clearly how you complied with the grant requirement or your progress toward achieving the expected outputs and outcomes.
  • Indicate your history of timely reporting both in ACRES and submitting quarterly reports.
  • If you have remaining funds on any of these grants, 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 were remaining funds, provide a reasonable explanation for why that happened.
  • Make sure you explain any anomalies related to past/current brownfield grants.

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

Think creatively.  EPA wants to have confidence your organization knows how to manage grant dollars and meet project outcomes.  Try to avoid falling into IV.E.4.b.iii. which results in an automatic neutral score.
Describe how you track(ed) and measure(ed) progress toward achieving the expected results of the grant(s).

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

Identify the assistance agreements you received and describe your history of managing federal and/or non-federal funds and accomplishments of that grant.

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

Describe how you track(ed) and measure(ed) progress toward achieving the expected results of the grant(s). Include compliance with the workplan, schedule, terms and conditions, submitting progress reports and progress in meeting the expected results in a timely manner.

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

If you find yourself in this category, it's ok.  For the FY23 Competition, speical consideration will be given to 'new' grantees.  

Do not leave this section blank or you may receive zero points! Be sure to state that your organization has never received any type of federal or non-federal assistance agreement.