Western Mass. Communities Recipients of Grant Funds

In late July, 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."

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.

EPA has also 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.

Other communities that are the beneficiaries of grants include:
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 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 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 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 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.

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