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Frequently Asked Questions

Definitions

Are environmental "cleanup" and "remediation" the same thing?

For the purposes of the Brownfields Program, environmental "cleanup" and "remediation" are terms used interchangeably by recipients to refer to actions taken to respond to a hazardous material release or threat of a release that could affect human health and/or the environment (e.g., removal of pollution or contaminants from environmental media such as soil, ground water, sediment, or surface water).

What is the definition of hazardous substance and petroleum?

Recipients are awarded EPA Brownfields funding to address hazardous substances and/or petroleum contamination at brownfield properties. Hazardous substance and petroleum are defined as follows:

Hazardous substance is defined under CERCLA as:

"...any substance designated pursuant to section 311(b)(2)(A) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act [33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(2)(A)], (B) (PDF) (130 pp, 1.2M, About PDF) any element, compound, mixture, solution, or substance designated pursuant to section 9602 of this title, (C) any hazardous waste having the characteristics identified under or listed pursuant to section 3001 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (PDF) (163 pp, 420K, About PDF) [42 U.S.C. 6921] (but not including any waste the regulation of which under the Solid Waste Disposal Act [42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.] has been suspended by Act of Congress),(D) any toxic pollutant listed under section 307(a) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act [33 U.S.C. 1317(a)], (E) any hazardous air pollutant listed under section 112 of the Clean Air Act [42 U.S.C.7412], and (F) any imminently hazardous chemical substance or mixture with respect to which the Administrator has taken action pursuant to section 7 of the Toxic Substances Control Act [15 U.S.C.2606].The term does not include petroleum, including crude oil or any fraction thereof which is not otherwise specifically listed or designated as a hazardous substance under subparagraphs (A) through (F) of this paragraph, and the term does not include natural gas, natural gas liquids, liquefied natural gas, or synthetic gas usable for fuel (or mixtures of natural gas and such synthetic gas)."

Petroleum-contaminated properties must meet certain requirements to be eligible for Brownfields funding. Petroleum is defined under CERCLA as "crude oil or any fraction thereof which is not otherwise specifically listed or designated as a hazardous substance under that section." For a petroleum contaminated property that otherwise meets the definition of a brownfield property to be eligible for funding, EPA or the state must determine:

  • The property is of "relative low risk" compared with other "petroleum-only" properties in the state.
  • There is no viable responsible party.
  • The property will not be assessed, investigated, or cleaned up by a person that is potentially liable for cleaning up the property.
  • The property must not be subject to a corrective action order under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) §9003(h).

Properties at which petroleum contamination is co-mingled with hazardous substances contamination are considered hazardous substances sites. Properties that are mine-scarred land or contaminated with controlled substances also are considered hazardous substances sites.

Do I need to enter Pre-Period of Performance (POP) accomplishments in ACRES?

Yes, if (1) the cooperative agreement has Pre-POP authorization, and (2) an actual accomplishment (e.g., assessment start/completed) has taken place.

What is the Davis-Bacon Act and do my environmental services contractors have to abide by the Act?

Please see the "terms and conditions" of your approved cooperative agreement for information on the Davis-Bacon Act and other Brownfields Program-related requirements.

What are leveraged activities and accomplishments?

Several pieces of information in the Property Profile Form refer to "leveraged" activities or accomplishments. Typically, these leveraged activities and accomplishments are natural results/outcomes of the EPA-funded activities (e.g., cleanup jobs/funding at a property assessed with EPA Brownfields Assessment grant funding; reuse jobs/funding at a property cleaned up with EPA Brownfields Cleanup or RLF grant funding). To be reportable, there must be a demonstrable link or connection between the EPA-funded activity and the leveraged activity/funding/accomplishment. Usually, activities/funding/ accomplishments that occur prior to award of the EPA grant should not be reported as leveraged since the activity predates the award. In addition, the leveraged activity/funding/accomplishment should be reported only when actually manifested (i.e., projected numbers and other data, including expected jobs or uncommitted funding, should not be reported).

Are cleanup and RLF matching funds considered leveraged?

No. The 20 percent cost share (contribution of money, labor, material, or services, must be for eligible and allowable costs under the grant and cannot include administrative costs) required by the Brownfields Law for cleanup and RLF recipients is not considered leveraged, and should not be reported as such.

What is a Submission Note?

A Submission Note is entered during data entry to ask questions or call attention to certain issues that should be addressed during the Quality Assurance review (i.e., Regional Review, National Program Review (NPR)).

What is a Reviewer Feedback Note?

A Reviewer Feedback Note is entered during the Quality Assurance (QA) review to clarify QA issues when a work package is rejected. Note that your EPA Regional representative (i.e., Project Officer) may contact you to discuss their concerns prior to rejecting a work package.

For Job Training cooperative agreements, what are the definitions for Participants Completing Training, Participants Obtaining Employment, Average Hourly Wage, and Funds Leveraged?

Per the Detailed Instruction for Completing Each Item on the EPA Job Training Reporting Form (PDF) (4 pp, 46K, About PDF) (OMB No. 2050 - 0192, EPA Form 6200-04), the definitions for Participants Entering Training , Veterans Entering Training , Participants Completing Training, Participants Obtaining Employment, Individuals that did not Obtain Employment but are Pursuing Education, Average Hourly Wage, and Funds Leveraged are provided below:

  • Participants Entering Training - the number of participants who entered a cooperative agreement funded training program.
  • Veterans Entering Training - the number of participants who entered a cooperative agreement funded training program that are Veterans.
  • Participants Completing Training - the number of participants taking the cooperative agreement funded training who have completed the training program.
  • Participants Obtaining Employment - the number of graduates from the cooperative agreement funded training program who have obtained employment of any kind - self-employed graduates should be included in this count.
  • Individuals that did not Obtain Employment but are Pursuing Education - the number of graduates from the cooperative agreement funded training program who have not obtained employment but are pursuing an education. Education can include GED classes, college courses, vocational training, etc.
  • Average Hourly Wage - the hourly wage for the first job that each employed graduate secures after completing the job training program.
  • Funds Leveraged - non-cooperative agreement dollars linked and leveraged to support additional, related activities of the cooperative agreement recipient such as additional curricula development/training (e.g., environmental and non-environmental), supplies/equipment, transportation for students, and child care for students. Funding can occur through direct financial assistance and/or through in-kind services or supplies. Usually, leveraged funding that was committed prior to the award of the EPA cooperative agreement should not be reported as leveraged since the activity predates the award. In addition, leveraged funding should not be reported until the funding has been committed.

I am reporting mandatory performance measures for our Job Training cooperative agreement, how do I know which quarter the accomplishment occurred?

The mandatory performance measures (i.e., Number of Participants Entering Training, Number of Veterans Entering Training, Number of Participants Completing Training, Number of Participants Obtaining Employment, Number of Individuals that did not Obtain Employment but are Pursuing Education, Average Hourly Wage, and Funds Leveraged) for the Job Training cooperative agreements are tracked fiscal year and quarter. The federal fiscal year is comprised of four quarters e.g. (Q1) 10/1/2012 - 12/31/2012, Q2 (1/1/2013 - 3/31/2013), Q3 (4/1/2013 - 6/30/2013), and Q4 (7/1/20013 - 9/30/2013). All performance measures completed during each quarter should be reported. For example, 20 participants completed job training on 12/10/2012, thus the 20 participants are entered in Q1 of 2013.

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