Brownfields Redevelopment

Brownfields Program
The town has a $400,000 Brownfields Assessment grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help property owners investigate environmental conditions on sites they are considering for redevelopment. The current grant runs through September 30, 2015. Learn more about our grants.

The objective of the Brownfields Assessment Program is to help owners minimize the uncertainties of contamination often associated with brownfields. These funds are designed to kick start a redevelopment process that ultimately results in new development that can stabilize neighborhoods, add jobs and homes, and increase a community's tax base.

Program Objectives

  • Stimulate and promote economic development
  • Assist developers/property owners with due diligence measures and estimates of liabilities
  • Increase local job opportunities and tax revenue
  • Return blighted and contaminated properties to productive use
  • Restore the fabric of neighborhoods and existing commercial corridors
  • Improve the quality of life of town residents
  • Engage members of community with respect to economic development priorities
What is a Brownfields Site?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a brownfield as real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. See the full legal context for the EPA Brownfields Grants online.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), notes that properties that are considered brownfields typically have certain characteristics in common, including:
  • Abandoned or for sale or lease
  • Have been used for commercial or industrial purposes
  • May have been reported to MassDEP because contamination has been found
  • May not have been assessed due to fear of unknown contamination conditions
Read more about MassDEP Brownfields online.

Is my property eligible?
Eligibility is based on a number of factors and even if you do not think you qualify, we encourage you to call to discuss it with our brownfields team. Factors used to determine eligibility include:
  • History of uses on the site and surrounding properties
  • Ownership status
  • Is the property currently / previously regulated by MassDEP
  • Is there a plan for business growth or other redevelopment
For more information, call 508-532-5455 or email us. Fill out the Site Nomination Form (Application).

Assessment Process
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessment funding allows the Town's LSP to perform phase 1 and phase 2 assessments as well as some clean up and re-use planning.

Phase 1 Assessments
A phase I assessment is also sometimes referred to as a "21E" referring to the MassDEP's basic level of site investigation.

What's Involved:
  • Site Inspection (non-invasive, no sampling)
  • Site history review
  • Municipal file research review (typically includes: Assessors, Building Department, Engineering, Fire Department, Health Department, etc.)
  • MassDEP file review (if subject property is MassDEP listed)
  • Interview with knowledgeable parties (owner, operator, town officials, neighbor at vacant lot)
  • Environmental database review
  • Review historical information: aerial photos, sanborn fire insurance maps, city street directories
Phase 2 Assessments
If the phase 1 assessment indicates there might be contamination, the report will recommend at phase 2 assessment. A phase 2 assessment is a more intense site investigation provides a finer grain of detail on the type and extent of suspected contamination. These funds can also help an owner prepare a clean-up and re-use plan.

What's Involved:
  • Soil and Groundwater sampling
  • Sediment sampling
  • Surface water sampling
  • Indoor air sampling
  • Building materials sampling
Non-invasive testing can include:
  • Electro-magnetic (EM) Survey to look for buried metallic structures (drums, tanks)
  • Ground-penetrating Radar (GPR) to look for buried structures (tanks, utilities, unknowns)
More information on the process.

Additional Brownfields Resources