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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.


FRCOG was awarded its eighth competitive EPA environmental site assessment grant in July 2023.  This latest award of $500,000 will allow 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

FRCOG member municipalities are invited to submit sites from their community for consideration. The FRCOG Brownfields Steering Committee will evaluate nominated sites for inclusion in the program and prioritize their assessment according to pre-established criteria. For reference, this is the Committee’s’ selection criteria from the previous grant that will be reviewed and updated in fall 2023. Municipalities may request a site be considered by submitting a letter or email that identifies the property and describes why assessment is necessary. An assessor’s card for the site should be included with the request, along with an explanation of how the site addresses the selection criteria. Sites will be accepted into the program on a rolling basis, until grant funds are exhausted. The Steering Committee includes representatives from Franklin County municipalities, regional non-profit organizations and local banks with participation by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. EPA Region 1 office.


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 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.



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…

Jessica Atwood

Jessica Atwood

Director of Planning


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