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Contents
  1. Purpose of this Request for Projects (RFP)
  2. Amount of Funding Available
  3. Matching/Cost Share Requirements
  4. Funding Mechanism
  5. Request for Projects
  6. Quality System Documentation
  7. Project Evaluation Criteria
  8. Evaluation Process
  9. Selection Process
  10. Project Description Submittal - Due Dates
  11. Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Requirement
  12. Pre-application Assistance
  13. Notification
  14. Right to Reject any or all Proposed Projects
  15. Right to Implement Projects Identified Outside of the RFP Process
  16. Confidential Business Information
  17. Clarifications/Revisions

Great Lakes Legacy Act

Request for Projects
Final - July 12, 2006 Summary

Contaminated sediments are a significant problem in the Great Lakes basin. Although discharges of toxic substances to the Great Lakes have been reduced in the last 20 years, persistent high concentrations of contaminants in the bottom sediments of rivers and harbors have raised considerable concern about potential risk to aquatic organisms, wildlife, and humans. As a result, advisories against fish consumption are in place in most locations around the Great Lakes. The problem harbor and tributary areas in the Great Lakes basin have been identified and labeled as “Areas of Concern” (AoCs), with 31 of these AoCs located on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes. More information on AoCs can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/AoC/index.html.

To address the problem of contaminated sediment in the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002 (Legacy Act or Act) was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on November 27, 2002. The Act authorizes $270 million in funding over 5 years beginning in fiscal year 2004 to help with the remediation of contaminated sediment in "Areas of Concern located wholly or partially in the United States," including specific funding designated for public outreach and research components. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) was designated to administer the funds available through the Act, and is therefore currently soliciting project proposals for addressing contaminated sediment problems within the U.S. AoCs.

1. Purpose of this Request for Projects (RFP)

The purpose of this request is to solicit project proposals that would help to implement the Great Lakes Legacy Act. In order to receive funding under the Great Lakes Legacy Act, projects must be located in one of the 31 U.S. Great Lakes AoCs. In selecting projects to carry out, the Legacy Act specifically directs the Administrator to "give priority to projects that:

  1. Constitute remedial action for contaminated sediment;
  2. Have been identified in a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) and are ready to be implemented;
  3. Use an innovative approach, technology, or technique that may provide greater environmental benefits, or equivalent environmental benefits at a reduced cost; or
  4. Include remediation to be commenced not later than 1 year after the date of receipt of funds for the project."

Remediation projects would include, but are not limited to, remedial options such as: dredging, capping, monitored natural recovery, treatment technologies, or a combination of remedial alternatives for contaminated sediment.

The next priority level would be given to projects that seek to monitor or evaluate contaminated sediment or prevent further or renewed contamination of sediment. These projects could include: site characterizations, site assessments, source identification/source control, monitoring, risk assessments, remedial alternatives evaluations and short-term/long-term effects analyses.

The Legacy Act program is not a grant program, and it is not an enforcement or regulatory program. The process for the selection of Legacy Act projects is not a grants competition, but is based on the development of a negotiated Project Agreement (PA) between USEPA and the non-federal sponsor. USEPA will consider projects based on the extent to which they meet the requirements of the Act and this RFP.

Refer to “Final Rule: Implementation of the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002” (Rule) at http://www.epa.gov/glla/rule/ or 71 Federal Register 25504 (May 1, 2006) for more detailed information on EPA’s process for identification, evaluation, selection, and implementation of projects for funding under the Legacy Act.

Precedence: Applicants should contact GLNPO (see section 12) to discuss any situations in which they believe there may be inconsistent or incompatible provisions of the RFP and of the Rule. In the event of any inconsistent or incompatible provisions of the RFP and of the Rule, the Rule shall take precedence.

2. Amount of Funding Available

A total of $29.6 million in Federal funds has been appropriated to support the Legacy Act as part of the FY2006 budget. The amount, if any, that will actually be appropriated in future year budgets is unknown. The number of qualified initial projects ultimately funded is unknown and will depend upon individual project costs.

Qualified projects selected from this RFP may be funded from FY2006 or future year appropriations without an additional solicitation.

3. Matching/Cost Share Requirements

The non-federal share of the cost of a project shall be at least 35% of the total project costs and 100% of the cost of operation and maintenance of the project. The underlying principle that guides our decision-making is that GLNPO will require at least a 35% non-Federal cost share in those cases where no responsible parties are clearly identified (the action could not be required of any responsible party). In other cases, where Agency regulatory and/or enforcement programs determine that the non-Federal sponsor may have some clear responsibility, GLNPO will require a substantially higher contribution (minimum of 40-50 %). See section 8 for more details.

It is the responsibility of the non-federal sponsor to secure the non-federal share of project costs. The non-federal share may include the value of in-kind services contributed by the non-federal sponsor, and may include funds or in-kind services provided pursuant to an administrative order on consent or a judicial consent decree. Applicants are encouraged to contact GLNPO (see section 12) if considering the use of consent decree money as match. The non-federal share of the cost of a project may not include any funds paid pursuant to, or the value of any in-kind service performed under, a unilateral administrative order or court order.

The non-Federal cost share does not include costs incurred prior to initiation of a Legacy Act project. Costs incurred after project initiation, but within the context of a consent decree in place at the time of project initiation can be included in the non-Federal cost share.

4. Funding Mechanism

The non-Federal sponsor of a project selected for funding will enter into a binding cost-sharing Project Agreement (PA) with the USEPA. A PA is a document that will detail the legal, financial, technical, and logistical obligations and responsibilities of the USEPA and the non-federal sponsor. An individual, project specific PA will be developed for each project funded under the Legacy Act. The PA will discuss the financial coordination process to be used to jointly fund the selected project. A model PA can be viewed at: http://www.epa.gov/glla/blklagoon/projagmnt.html.

The project agreement will not relieve any third party from any liability that may arise under CERCLA, RCRA, TSCA, or other Federal environmental statutes.

5. Request for Projects

Project descriptions must be typewritten, double-spaced in 12 point or larger print using 8.5 x 11 inch paper with minimum 1-inch horizontal and vertical margins. Pages must be numbered in order, starting with the cover page and continuing through the appendices. One original and two copies are required, as well as an electronic version (of the project description and attachments). All project descriptions should include:

Project Manager Information: Provide the name, position, mailing address, phone number, email address, agency affiliation, and other pertinent contact information for the principal project manager proposed for the project.

Executive Summary - The Executive Summary should be a stand-alone document, not to exceed one page, containing the specifics of what is proposed and what the non-federal sponsor expects to accomplish regarding measuring or movement toward achieving project goals. This summary should identify the measurable environmental results expected, including potential human health benefits, ecological benefits, and expected benefit to the AoC (e.g., move toward delisting of beneficial use impairments), as well as the proposed cost and non-Federal cost share. The Executive Summary of a project proposal that passes the Stage One review will be posted on GLNPO’s website, so it should not contain any confidential business information (see section 16).

Table of Contents - Self-explanatory

Project Description Narrative - Includes part I - IX listed below and not to exceed 15 pages.

Part I - Project Title - Self-explanatory

Part II - Objectives - A numbered list (1, 2, etc.) of concisely written project objectives. In most cases, each project objective can be stated in a single sentence.

Part III - Justification - Discuss the current conditions at the site in relation to chemical concentrations in the environment, fish contaminant levels, routes of exposure and bioavailability of contaminants. Then, for each objective listed in Part II above, discuss the potential outcome in terms of environmental restoration, human health and/or source control. This section should be numbered with a justification corresponding to each objective.

Part IV - Approach and Methods - Describe in detail how the project will be carried out, including a schedule of project milestones. Describe how the system or approach will support the project goals.

For remediation projects - please address all of the evaluation criteria listed in Section 7 of this RFP. All supporting documentation for the evaluation criteria should be submitted along with the project description (e.g., Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study - RI/FS, Remedial Alternative Evaluation, Risk Analyses, etc.). Also, please identify any plans for ecological restoration at the site after remediation (with a funding source other than Legacy Act).

Part V - Impact Assessment - State how the success of the project will be evaluated in terms of measurable environmental results, including benefit to the overall AoC, and its potential contribution to AoC delisting.

Part VI - Stakeholder Involvement - Please list the stakeholders that have been involved in the development of the proposed project, including a description of the planned role of each stakeholder group as the project is conducted. Also, provide documentation of stakeholder involvement and support of the proposed project.

Part VII - Timeline - A timeline of important milestones for the project should be listed.

Part VIII - Budget - A budget should be provided with a justification for project costs. The source and documentation of the non-federal share of the project funding and 100% of the operation and maintenance costs should be specifically identified.

Part IX - Area of Concern (AoC) Documentation - Documentation should be provided indicating that the proposed project lies directly within one of the 31 U.S. AoCs. Each AoC’s Remedial Action Plan should be used in documenting if a project lies within the specified AoC (attach a map of the AoC indicating the location of the project site, if available).

The Remedial Action Plan should also be provided as documentation if the proposed project is identified in the RAP as a priority project.

Project Description Appendices - All appendices to the project description package (e.g., RI/FS, remedial alternatives evaluation, risk analyses, documentation of stakeholder support, etc.) should be included with the Project description.

6. Quality System Documentation

Projects involving use of existing environmental data or data collection require approved Quality System Documentation (e.g., a Quality Assurance Project Plan) prior to commencing environmental data collection. Additionally, the non-federal sponsor will be responsible for meeting all applicable Health and Safety requirements in addition to all other applicable requirements. Project budgets should reflect any additional costs and/or time needed to meet these requirements.

7. Project Evaluation Criteria

All projects must meet all of the following required components to be eligible for Legacy Act funding. Those projects that meet the minimum requirements will be evaluated based upon how well they meet the priority components, and all supporting documentation submitted by the applicant will be used to assist in the evaluation of the project. Remediation projects will be evaluated in accordance with the Rule.


REMEDIATION PROJECTS

Required Components

Priority Components

On-the-ground remediation projects will be evaluated and scored according to the “Great Lakes Legacy Act, Evaluation Form for Sediment Remediation Proposals” (“Stage 1: ‘Minimum Requirements Check’” and “Stage 2: ‘Strength of Proposal’”) and “Great Lakes Legacy Act Scoring Sheet” provided as Attachment 1, Attachment 2, and Attachment 4.


OTHER PROJECTS (Monitor or evaluate contaminated sediment, prevent further or renewed contamination of sediment):

Required Components

Priority Components

Non-remediation projects will be evaluated according to the "Great Lakes Legacy Act, Evaluation Form for Non-Remediation Sediment Proposals" provided as Attachment 3.

8. Evaluation Process

Project submittals will be reviewed and evaluated based on how well they address the required components set forth in Section 7 of this RFP. For remediation projects, GLNPO will follow the procedures outlined in the “Final Rule: Implementation of the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002.” GLNPO reserves the right to enter into pre-selection discussions with applicants prior to project submittals, as well as upon receipt and review of project submittals.

GLNPO staff will review project proposals as they are received to determine if the project has been submitted under the proper category (e.g., remediation vs. other than on-the-ground remediation) and may make changes to the project categorization. Applicants will be notified of any changes to the project category.

All projects that successfully meet the statutory requirements of the Legacy Act and pass the Stage 1 review (Attachment 1 and Attachment 3) are then subject to a more complete Stage 2 evaluation process. The applicants for projects that are submitted specifically for REMEDIATION, and meet all the required components, will be asked to provide an oral presentation of their project to the Technical Review Committee (TRC) at the Great Lakes National Program Office in Chicago, Illinois. The TRC is a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency review team that evaluates each remediation project for technical strength (Attachment 2) and for overlap with on-going enforcement or regulatory actions or other Federal activities (Water Resources Development Act - WRDA, CERCLA, etc), and State, local or tribal efforts.

Projects that are related to topics OTHER THAN direct on-the-ground remediation will be reviewed and evaluated along with the remediation projects (Attachment 3), and may be asked to provide oral presentations of their projects to the selection panel at GLNPO’s discretion.

Non-federal sponsors for the projects are given an opportunity to respond to any deficiencies noted during the Stage 2 review process. Based on extent of the deficiencies identified and speed of the applicant in addressing the deficiencies, the Stage 2 process could last from several weeks to several years. This ends the evaluation process for non-remediation projects.

To aid in the Stage 2 evaluation process, remediation projects are assigned to one or a combination of four categories based on an evaluation of the sediment deposits to be remediated to determine if enforcement or regulatory actions are pending or underway at each proposed project site:

Category 1: Formal enforcement/regulatory evaluation completed, no action is anticipated by any governmental body against any entity. No restrictions on Legacy Act implementation. GLNPO will require a non-Federal cost share minimum of 35 percent.

Category 2: No enforcement, regulatory or CERCLA response actions are pending. GLNPO will coordinate with enforcement/regulatory programs to verify that no actions are pending or planned for the site. In cases where the non-Federal sponsor is a nonliable public entity, the non-Federal cost would typically be 35%. Additionally, it is possible that through consultation with Superfund, projects may be identified that although Superfund has the potential to conduct the project, it is more appropriate to use the Legacy Act. For projects in this situation, GLNPO will require a non-Federal cost share of greater than 35%.

Category 3: A decision document under Superfund, or a settlement agreement under another applicable state or Federal authority, has been signed. GLNPO will not provide any funding for implementation of the decision document or settlement agreement. Instead, GLNPO may use Legacy Act funding for the portions of these sites not addressed by the Superfund decision document or settlement agreement where enforcement or regulatory actions are not anticipated. The Legacy Act may be used to provide betterments or enhancements to the required elements of the decision document to address the U.S. Government’s commitment under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. For Category 3 projects, the non-Federal sponsor at these sites will be required to contribute at least 40%.

Category 4: Enforcement, regulatory or CERCLA response actions pending but no settlement has been reached. If Legacy Act funds are used for a project where enforcement, regulatory or CERCLA response actions are pending but no settlement has been reached, GLNPO will work and coordinate with the applicable enforcement or regulatory program to determine the appropriate project delineation and cost distribution between the Legacy Act and the other program. The appropriate GLLA share for conducting a project that meets the combined objectives of the enforcement program and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement will be determined through discussions with the applicable enforcement authority. The non-Federal sponsor at these sites will be required to contribute at least 50%.

GLNPO completes a Great Lakes Legacy Act Scoring Sheet (Attachment 4) for each remediation project to evaluate how well applications meet program priorities. In addition to the priorities listed in section 7 above, the Agency will score applicants based on criteria that place greater weight on projects meeting Category 1 requirements in order to allocate limited resources and facilitate coordination with requirements of other Agency programs. A Category 2 application would receive fewer points than a Category 1, and so on for Categories 3-4. The Agency will also award points to applications that exceed the minimum non-Federal cost-share requirements for their category and that will result in the delisting of an AoC.

The evaluation process assigns a score based on relevant factors that allows the decision-maker to identify projects that are technically sound and represent the best use of program resources.

9. Selection Process

As part of the selection and funding process for remediation projects, GLNPO prepares a project ranking based on scores computed on Attachment 4 (“Great Lakes Legacy Act Scoring Sheet”) for all pending projects. GLNPO then provides this ranking, along with a “Proposal Scoring and Summary Information” sheet (Attachment 5) and Attachment 1, Attachment 2, and Attachment 4 to the Great Lakes National Program Manager who, in consultation with the USEPA Office of Water, and taking into account available Legacy Act funding, selects projects for which formal Project Agreement (PA) negotiations will be initiated.

As part of the selection and funding process for non-remediation projects, GLNPO staff brief the Great Lakes National Program Manager on the technical strength of the project (Attachment 3). Projects are selected based on management approval and availability of Legacy Act funds.

GLNPO intends to enter into PA discussions with project applicants that meet the required components (as outlined in Section 7). Projects that result in a PA will be funded with FY 06 funds to the extent they are available. Other projects that result in a PA will be dependent upon funding, if any, received for the Legacy Act in future years.

The signing of a Project Agreement represents an Agency decision to fund a Legacy Act project. It is important to note that no official funding decision is made prior to Project Agreement signing, and, therefore, Legacy Act funds remain available for all potential projects until a PA is signed. Projects will be periodically evaluated and compared until a Project Agreement is signed.

Once a Project Agreement is signed, the implementation phase of the project can begin. It is GLNPO's goal to work with the non-Federal sponsors, other Federal agencies, other EPA program offices, state and local governments, and the public to implement the Legacy Act in order to clean up contaminated sediment sites throughout the Great Lakes, and ultimately begin delisting AoCs.

10. Project Description Submittal - Due Dates

Complete project packages should be mailed, e-mailed, or delivered to:

Mary Beth Giancarlo Ross
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Great Lakes National Program Office (G-17J)
77 West Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604-3590
ross.marybeth@epa.gov

USEPA will consider all projects that are post-marked by the U.S. Postal
Service or hand-delivered to the USEPA, or include official delivery service documentation indicating USEPA acceptance from a delivery service. USEPA will accept e-mailed and faxed project submissions. All supporting documentation for faxed or electronic submissions must be provided to USEPA on, or before the due date listed below.

This due date is on or before 5:00 p.m. Central Time, September 15, 2006. Project proposals can be submitted at any time, but a due date allows GLNPO to review the project proposals submitted in response to this request in an efficient manner.

11. Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Requirement

Prior to initiating a project, the non-federal sponsor must enter into an agreement with USEPA to ensure that the sponsor will maintain its aggregate expenditures from all other sources for remediation programs in the AoC where the project is located, at or above the average level of such expenditures in the 2 fiscal years preceding the date on which the project is initiated. Additional information on the MOE requirement is available at: http://www.epa.gov/glla/FAQsMOE.html.

12. Pre-application Assistance

GLNPO encourages applicants to contact GLNPO for pre-application assistance, if needed.

Contact: Marc Tuchman
USEPA-GLNPO
77 W. Jackson Blvd (G-17J)
Chicago, IL 60604
Phone: 312-353-1369
Fax: 312-353-2018
E-mail: tuchman.marc@epa.gov

13. Notification

GLNPO will confirm receipt of project descriptions within one week via e-mail (regular mail if no e-mail address is provided). Once the projects have been reviewed, evaluated and scored, all project managers will be notified regarding the outcome of the selection process.

If a project is chosen for potential funding under this RFP, the non-federal sponsor will be contacted to initiate discussions regarding development of the PA.

14. Right to Reject any or all Proposed Projects

The USEPA reserves the right to reject any or all project submittals.

15. Right to Implement Projects Identified Outside of the RFP Process

The USEPA reserves the right to select Legacy Act projects identified through mechanisms other than this RFP. The potential non-Federal sponsors are responsible for submitting a project proposal using the guidelines provided in this RFP.

16. Confidential Business Information

Project applicants should clearly mark information contained in their project submittal that they consider to be confidential business information as proprietary information. USEPA reserves the right to make final confidentiality decisions in accordance with Agency regulations at 40 CFR Part 2, Subpart B. If no such claim accompanies the project description when the USEPA receives it, it may be made available to the public by USEPA without further notice to the applicant. If the project description contains confidential business information, this should be clearly stated in the project description narrative to avoid inadvertent distribution of this information during the review process.

17. Clarifications/Revisions

Project managers may be contacted for clarification and for the purpose of negotiating changes in project terms and amounts.

 


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