EPA Grant Writing Tips

October 1, 2017 Brownfields, EPA, Funding, Grants, News Brian Nowakowski

Each year, the EPA provides grants to address sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, or pollutants. Funding amounts vary by type of grant:

  • Cleanup Grants: up to $200,000 per proposal requiring a 20 percent cost share. New this year, multiple sites can be included in a single proposal. Each applicant may submit up to three cleanup proposals.
  • Community Wide Assessment Grants: up to $300,000 for a combined Hazardous Substance and Petroleum grant, with no more than $200,000 in either category
  • Site Specific Assessment Grants: May apply for a waiver of up to $350,000 per site; only one proposal may be submitted per applicant
  • Assessment Coalition Grants: up to $600,000
  • Revolving Loan Fund Grants: up to $1,000,000 requiring a 20 percent cost share

These grants are competitive. Only about one-third of applications are ultimately successful. Your first steps should be:

  • Pass resolutions
  • Register with
  • Do community outreach
  • Contact supporters for commitment letters

Here are some tips for a successful grant application:

  1. Set your project apart. Remember that the reviewers won’t be familiar with your community, and that they will be reviewing many applications.
  2. Context. Talk about how the project will result in development that will meet a need in the community that has been identified in planning documents, and what other sources of funding will be brought to complete the project.
  3. Tell a Consistent Story. Ensure that the community problems you identify are addressed by the tasks you lay out in the budget, and are captured in the benefits section at the end.
  4. Build a realistic and detailed budget. The budget allows you to demonstrate that you have a cogent and organized project that makes sense. Specify which monies will be allocated to each task and provide a detailed cost breakdown per task. Tie the costs to the project’s goals, and ensure that the costs are consistent with the project’s narrative.
  5. Keep your eyes on the prize. While assessments and cleanups are what the grant money directly funds, the ultimate goal is a redeveloped site that brings value to the community. Make sure you are describing a tangible projected redevelopment that fills a need in the neighborhood, and use this projected development as the basis for your benefit estimates.

BRS, Inc. has an 84% award rate for EPA Brownfields Grant applications submitted; securing over $30 million in funding for our clients. Should you be interested in having BRS, Inc. assist you with preparing your grant proposals, please feel free to contact us.

Stay updated on what we're up to