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A “brownfield” is defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as real property which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. These sites have the potential to negatively impact our region’s public health, natural environment, and economic opportunities. Since 1999, FRCOG has administered a Brownfields Program on behalf of the region that has conducted assessment or participated in clean-up on over 70 sites in 22 Franklin County towns.

U.S. EPA
Details

In summer 2023, FRCOG was awarded its eighth competitive EPA environmental site assessment grant.  This latest award of $500,000 allows FRCOG to hire a professional engineering firm to conduct assessment activities at commercial/industrial properties that meet state and federal eligilbity requirements. These sites may be in public or private ownership. The work conducted is at no cost to the property owner or the municipality. Property owner permission is required for any on-site activity.

The purpose of the assessment is to determine if there is contamination on site, and if so, to determine what it is, how much there is of it, and how best to remediate it. Eligible assessment activities may include: researching historical uses of the property, sampling and testing soil, groundwater and/or building material for contamination, and planning for clean-up and site reuse.

Please note that actual clean-up of contaminated soils, ground or building materials is not an eligible expense for this grant.

Before image of Monroe paper mill before brownfield investment.Monroe paper mill after brownfield investment.

The Ramage Paper Mill in Monroe before and after Brownfield assessment and cleanup.

Submit a Site for Consideration

If there is a site in your community that may be appropriate for assessment because its reuse or redevelopment is hampered by the perception it may be contaminated, this program may be an opportunity to address those concerns. FRCOG member municipalities are invited to submit sites from their community for consideration. The nominated sites will be determined if it meets federal and state criteria for inclusion in the program, and prioritized for assessment according to pre-established criteria (click here for site criteria). An additional consideration when prioritizing sites will be the cost of the proposed activities and the availability of resources to fund those activities.

FRCOG member municipalities may request a site be considered by submitting a letter that identifies the property and describes why assessment is necessary.  An assessor’s card for the site must be included with the request. A municipality may submit more than one site at a time; however, the letter must list the sites by priority. Submit the letter with assessor’s card by email to [email protected] or mail it to the FRCOG offices.  Sites will be accepted into the program on a rolling basis, until grant funds are exhausted. The FRCOG Brownfields Steering Committee advises the FRCOG on the sites to be included and prioritized for assessment. The Committee includes representatives from Franklin County municipalities, regional non-profit organizations and local banks and includes participation by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. EPA Region 1 office.

History

The FRCOG’s Regional Brownfields Program was launched in 1999 with a grant that established a brownfields clean-up revolving loan fund and then was expanded to include assessment activities in 2002. In total, FRCOG has been awarded nearly $3.5 million in competitive EPA grants, which has led to over 70 sites in 22 Franklin County communities being assessed and/or cleaned up of contamination. Through this program, additional state and federal resources have also been leveraged to support clean-up and redevelopment sites across the county.

Resources

Publications

Through the FRCOG Regional Brownfields Program and/or the Town of Erving, the following reports were completed for the Millers Falls International Paper Papermill located at 8 Papermill Road, Erving MA. Phase I…

The following documents are in support of a brownfields clean-up project for the former Ramage Paper Mill – Wood Structure on Depot Street in Monroe, MA. Fact Sheet on Ramage…

Staff
Jessica Atwood, Director of Planning

Jessica Atwood

She/her
Director of Planning

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