Environmental Response Fund

Environmental Response Fund (ERF) grants fund the assessment and cleanup of contaminated sites where conditions present a threat to human health or the environment, but where lack funding and added environmental costs hinder site improvements or redevelopment.

ERF grants are used for a variety of activities that provide community benefit, including assessment and cleanup of groundwater and evaluation and abatement of asbestos and lead-based paint.

Priority is placed on locations that are intended as public or green spaces, establish affordable and moderately priced housing, and promote economic development.

To date, Hennepin County has awarded 396 ERF grants totaling more than $55 million*. See map of all project awarded in Minneapolis (PDF) and suburban Hennepin County (PDF).

* Last updated 02/2019

Learn more about the impact of ERF grants:

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Applying for a grant

Applying for an ERF grant

New application process in 2018

We now accept applications through the new online Supplier Portal.

All Fall 2018 application materials are due by Thursday, November 1 at 4 p.m.

To access the RFP and apply:

  • Visit the Supplier Portal
  • You can view the separate RFPs and materials by clicking the Environmental Response Fund RFP in the Events panel on the right half of the screen
  • To apply, follow the on-screen instructions

You will need to be registered to submit an application. For detailed instructions on how to register and submit an application, including video tutorials and more, visit the Supplier Portal information page.

Funding available

Approximately $1.0 – $1.2 million is distributed every grant round. Individual funding commitments vary depending on the project, the amount of available grant funding and the list of applications received.

Project selection

ERF grants for assessment and cleanup are awarded on a competitive basis, and priority is given to the following types of projects:

  • Contaminated or potentially contaminated sites where the preferred end use is publicly owned property, such as park space, schools, and non-profit or municipal facilities.
  • Affordable and moderate market-rate housing projects where contamination issues preclude redevelopment.
  • Infill brownfield properties or orphan sites that are generally not attractive to large redevelopments but disrupt the fabric of community life and contribute to blight.
  • Projects that incorporate sustainable activities and features in the project design, construction and operation.

Eligible applicants

Eligible applicants for ERF include municipalities, economic development agencies, housing and redevelopment authorities, non-profit organizations, public companies, and private for-profit companies. ERF grants are not available to non-local government responsible parties.

ERF grants are available for the investigation or cleanup of non-petroleum contamination or petroleum-related contamination that is not eligible for reimbursement by the Minnesota Petrofund.

Additional funding sources

Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund

Hennepin County also has an EPA-funded Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund program available to assist with the investigation and cleanup of contaminated sites. A grant and loan package can be a favorable way to tackle larger projects.

Minnesota Brownfields Resource Guide

For more information about grants and loans available to help cleanup contaminated lands, see the Minnesota Brownfields 2016 Resource Guide (PDF).

Information for grant recipients

Forms for Environmental Response Fund grant recipients

Grant recipients need to complete the following forms:

1. Download and complete a disbursement form to request grant funds:

2. Download and complete an annual progress report (DOCX).

Instructions for submitting disbursements

To submit disbursements:

  • Send a draft disbursement request and all back up information to the Hennepin County Environment and Energy contact person to whom you currently submit requests. Environment and Energy staff will review the request and, if the request if acceptable, obtain a purchase order number that will be sent to you via your preferred communication methods (email, mail or fax).
  • Once you receive a purchase order number, enter the number on the disbursement request form, sign the form and return the final request form to your Environment and Energy staff contact.
  • Send a copy of the final signed disbursement request form (do not resubmit the backup material) to your Hennepin County Environment and Energy contact person so they can monitor the progress of your request.

How communities benefit

Environmental Response Fund (ERF), which is funded by a county mortgage registry and deed tax, provided communities with funding necessary to assess and clean up contaminated properties, which spurs economic growth, creates jobs, revitalizes neighborhoods and leverage private and public investment.

Economic growth

Since being established in November 2001, ERF has funded 370 projects totaling more than $51 million.

These grants help:

Create jobs

Grant-assisted projects have results in the creation or retention of more than 9,500 jobs.

Revitalize neighborhoods and increase property values and tax revenue

Property values of completed ERF-aided projects increased more than $437 million compared to pre-assessment and cleanup values, which is an 11 to 1 return on investment. In addition, from 2003 to 2012, completed ERF-aided projects generated $64 million more in property taxes than was generated by these same properties prior to ERF involvement.

ERF funding can be the critical piece that brings redevelopment projects and businesses to vacant properties. By transforming sites from public safety nuisances into community assets, redeveloping vacant properties can reduce crime.

Leverage public and private investment

ERF has leveraged $1.7 billion in privately funded development costs.

The need for ERF continues

Hennepin County has more than 19 percent of the state’s Superfund sites, 19 percent of the state’s petroleum release sites, 41 percent of the state’s voluntary investigation and cleanup sites, and 8 percent of the state’s dump sites, totaling more than 4,300 sites of concern.

Recently awarded grants

Grants awarded January 2019

In January 2019, Hennepin County awarded $1.6 million for nine projects to assess and clean up contaminated sites where added environmental costs hinder site improvements or redevelopment.

Checkerboard, Minneapolis

$290,000 for abatement costs associated with the construction of an estimated 125 affordable and 125 market-rate rental units, and retail space. (Grantee: City of Minneapolis)

City of Lakes Community Land Trust Homebuyer Initiated Program

$200,000 for abatement costs associated with the rehabilitation of at least nine owner- occupied, permanently affordable (land trust), single-family homes. (Grantee: City of Lakes Community Land Trust)

Creekside at Van White

$173,018 for contaminated soil cleanup associated with the construction of a new office building along Bassett Creek. (Grantee: City of Minneapolis)

Currie Park

$165,474 for contaminated soil cleanup associated with park improvements. (Grantee: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board)

Gateway Northeast

$260,739 for contaminated soil cleanup and abatement costs associated with the construction of a mixed-use residential apartment complex comprised of 50 market-rate, 75 affordable rental units, and retail space. (Grantee: City of Minneapolis)

Lake Street Affordable Housing

$222,236 for contaminated soil cleanup, demolition, and abatement costs associated with the construction of 111 affordable rental units and retail space. (Grantee: Lake Street Affordable Housing, LLC)

Minnesota Brownfields Gap Financing Program

$200,000 to continue the Brownfields Gap Financing Program, which provides small environmental assessment grants to government entities and non-profit organizations. (Grantee: Minnesota Brownfields)

Portland and Washington Mixed-Use Development

$81,364 for contaminated soil cleanup and abatement costs associated with the construction of 240 market-rate and 90 affordable rental units, a fire station, and office/retail space. (Grantee: City of Minneapolis)

Robbinsdale Apartments

$24,468 for contaminated soil cleanup associated with the construction of 197 market-rate rental units. (Grantee: City of Robbinsdale)

Grants awarded July 2018

In July 2018, Hennepin County awarded $560,257 to five development projects to assess and clean up contaminated sites where conditions present a threat to human health or the environment.

36 Bryant, Minneapolis

$85,000 for contaminated soil cleanup and soil gas vapor mitigation associated with the construction of a four-story, multifamily housing apartment project comprising of 38 market-rate micro units and three two-bedroom apartments. (Contractor: City of Minneapolis)

13250 Grove Drive Redevelopment, Maple Grove

$27,723 for contaminated soil cleanup and soil gas vapor mitigation associated with the construction of a slab-on-grade retail building. (Contractor: City of Maple Grove)

Calhoun Towers, Minneapolis

$249,480 for contaminated soil cleanup associated with the construction of 242 market-rate apartment units in phase 1 of the project. Subsequent phases of this four-phase project will include significant affordable housing components. (Contractor: City of Minneapolis)

Southern Gateway Redevelopment, St. Anthony Village

$44,400 for contaminated soil cleanup and soil gas vapor mitigation associated with the construction of 79 affordable, 189 senior assisted living, and 146 market-rate apartment units. (Contractor: City of St. Anthony Village)

West Broadway Curve, Minneapolis

$153,654 for additional investigation, contaminated soil cleanup, and soil gas vapor mitigation associated with the construction of 54 affordable apartments and 35 market-rate apartments and rental townhomes. (Contractor: City of Minneapolis)

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