EPA Provides Brownfields Grants to Western Massachusetts Communities
BOSTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency celebrated the recipients of seven Brownfields grants in western Massachusetts. This year, entities in western Massachusetts received $2.4 million for assessment and cleanup of Brownfields sites.
"EPA is committed to working with communities to redevelop Brownfields sites which have plagued their neighborhoods. EPA's Assessment and Cleanup grants target communities that are economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These grants leverage considerable infrastructure and other investments, improving local economies and creating an environment where jobs can grow. I am very pleased the President's budget recognizes the importance of these grants by providing continued funding for this important program."
“These grants support Brownfields projects, which lead to neighborhood revitalization and job creation,” said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Cleaning up contaminated brownfield sites is a win-win for everyone involved. MassDEP appreciates the funding and expertise USEPA Region 1 brings to the table and the willingness and determination of the municipalities to take on these projects.”
“It is impressive to see so many communities in the First Congressional District of Massachusetts being awarded grants from the Environmental Protection Agency for Brownfields assessments and cleanups,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “The EPA has long been, and continues to be, a tremendous partner to communities in need. North Adams, Williamstown, Great Barrington, Chicopee, and the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission have all put in tremendous work to attain these funds that give each of these communities the opportunity to completely transform a space for economic growth and community well-being. I have seen first-hand what these EPA monies can do to spur change and renewal, and I am excited to see what these cities and towns have in store for their projects.”
Belchertown Economic Development and Industrial Corporation
EPA has selected the Belchertown Economic Development and Industrial Corporation for two brownfields cleanup grants totaling $400,000. Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up Lots 1 and 2 of the former Belchertown State School located at 9 Berkshire Avenue. These lots are part of an 845-acre school complex that was founded in 1922 and closed in December 1992. It has been idle since then. The site is contaminated with PCBs and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to support community engagement activities.
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission
EPA has selected the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission for two brownfields assessment grants totaling $300,000. Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct three Phase I and three to four Phase II environmental site assessments, and prepare one cleanup plan. Community-wide petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct two Phase I and one to two Phase II environmental site assessments, and prepare one cleanup plan. Grant funds of both types also will be used to inventory, evaluate, and prioritize brownfield sites, and support community outreach activities. Assessment activities will focus on the Cities of Pittsfield and North Adams.
City of Chicopee
EPA has selected the City of Chicopee for three Brownfields cleanup grants for $600,000. Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up Buildings 15, 27, and 42 at the 28-acre former Uniroyal Tire Complex located at 154 Grove Street. The site was previously utilized as a lumber yard and as a manufacturing site for tires, bicycles, and adhesives. Building 15 was used as the power generation station for the Uniroyal Tire Complex and houses large turbines and transformers that utilized coal and oil to produce energy. The building is contaminated with arsenic, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, inorganic contaminants, and metals. Buildings 27 and 42 are connected and encompass a combined 77,750 square feet of vacant industrial manufacturing space. All three buildings are contaminated with mercury, PCBs, and hazardous substances. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach, cleanup planning activities, and air monitoring following completion of the cleanup.
City of North Adams
EPA has selected the City of North Adams for two Brownfields assessment grants totaling $300,000. Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct two Phase I and three Phase II environmental site assessments, and prepare two cleanup plans. Community-wide petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct one Phase I and one Phase II environmental site assessment, and prepare one cleanup plan. Grant funds of both types also will be used to support community outreach activities.
Town of Great Barrington
EPA has selected the Town of Great Barrington for two Brownfields assessment grants totaling $300,000. Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct two Phase I and two or three Phase II environmental site assessments, and develop two cleanup plans. Community-wide petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct one or two Phase II environmental site assessments, and develop one cleanup plan. Grant funds of both types also will be used to support community involvement activities, including public meetings, outreach materials, and site fact sheets. Assessment activities will target sites within the Village of Housatonic in Great Barrington.
Town of Williamstown
EPA has selected the Town of Williamstown for a Brownfields cleanup grant for $200,000. Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up the nearly five-acre former Photech Imaging Systems property at 330 Cole Avenue. The now vacant property was initially developed in 1865 as a textile mill known as the Williamstown Mill and was later used by photographic paper and film manufacturing companies until 1989. The site is contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used for air monitoring and community engagement activities.
City of Worcester
EPA has selected the City of Worcester for two Brownfields assessment grants totaling $300,000. Community-wide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct five Phase I and five Phase II environmental site assessments, and develop five cleanup plans. Community-wide petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct three Phase I and two Phase II environmental site assessments, and develop two cleanup plans. Grant funds of both types also will be used to support community outreach activities.
Across the six New England states this year, EPA is awarding a total of $10.4 million for 32 communities to assess or cleanup brownfields, as well as $750,000 for technical assistance to six communities. A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped, open land, and both improves and protects the environment.
In New England, since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded 382 assessment grants totaling $103.9 million, 73 revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding totaling $90 million and 290 cleanup grants totaling $69.9 million. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $2.4 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for nearly 15,499 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment.
As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24 billion of public and private funding has been leveraged as a result of assessment grants and other EPA Brownfields grants. On average, $16.11 was leveraged for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 8.5 jobs leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
What They Are Saying:
Chicopee, MA: “The U.S. EPA and the City of Chicopee have been long-term partners with regards to the on-going cleanup activities at the former Uniroyal property. Through assistance from the EPA’s Brownfields program the City has been able to advance significant efforts to cleanup hazardous building materials in preparation for building demolition or redevelopment. This year’s awards build upon completed activities bringing the City closer to realizing its redevelopment objectives for the property.” - Mayor Richard Kos
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission: “The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission greatly appreciates the award of these EPA Brownfields Assessment funds which are much needed throughout the region. The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has a long and successful track record with Brownfields assessment, remediation, and reuse planning. However, there is still much work to be done. We anticipate that these funds will be used toward sites that are currently underway and to advance sites in areas of the region that we have not yet assessed. Assessment funding is a critical first step toward addressing a wide range of sites that may be vacant, underused and potentially posing safety hazards to the community. Through this funding these sites can ultimately be put back into productive use. We are very grateful to the EPA and look forward to working closely with the EPA on this important project” - Nathaniel Karns, Executive Director
City of North Adams: “The City of North Adams has made significant investment in planning for its future recently completing a comprehensive plan (North Adams Vision 2030). Despite this significant planning effort, assessment is sorely needed in order to advance developable parcels toward cleanup and redevelopment. As a small City, we have very limited sources to fund the sort of proactive work that our $300,000 grant will provide. The City is very thankful to have received these funds as they will provide the incentives for new investment, higher property values, an expanded tax base, and future job creation.” - Mayor Richard Alcombright
Town of Williamstown: "The Town of Williamstown is excited to have been among the communities selected for Brownfield Cleanup funding in this grant cycle. This funding will allow a property that has been a burden on a critically important neighborhood in our community for nearly 30 years to finally be returned to productive usage. This EPA funding will allow our community partners, Berkshire Housing and the Women's Institute for Housing, to begin the first stages of converting this parcel into much needed affordable housing for a broad cross section of our residents." - Town Manager Jason Hoch
Town of Great Barrington: “This grant for Brownfields assessments will go a long way toward helping the Town of Great Barrington realize the goals of its Master Plan. As a historic community with rich architecture, ensuring the cleanliness of our land and water sources will help the community thrive and ensure the responsible redevelopment and use of our historic sites. With this grant, historic buildings will be positioned to remain vital parts of our economy into the future. We are grateful to the EPA for this much-needed grant and we extend our sincere thanks to Congressman Richard Neal and Representative Smitty Pignetelli who are steadfast in their support of Great Barrington and the success of Berkshire County." - Jennifer Tabakin Town Manager
Belchertown Economic Development Industrial Corporation: “This grant will enable the Belchertown Economic Development Industrial Corporation to clean up two parcels at the former Belchertown State School, furthering the revitalization of this neglected area into a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood." - Town Administrator Gary Brougham
City of Worcester: “The City of Worcester is grateful to be awarded $300,000 in community-wide assessment funding from the U.S. EPA Brownfields Program. These funds are a critical component of the City’s brownfields redevelopment efforts and overall economic development strategy. We look forward to continued success and partnership with the EPA.” - Edward M. Augustus, Jr., City Manager.
- List of the FY 2017 Applicants Selected for Funding (www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-list-fy17-grants-selected-funding)
- EPA's brownfields program (www.epa.gov/brownfields)
- EPA's work on brownfields in New England (www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-and-land-revitalization-connecticut-maine-massachusetts-new-hampshire-rhode)
- More on successful Brownfields stories (www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-success-stories)
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