The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is committed to the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields properties as a way to stimulate the economy and promote environmental protection goals. While there is no formal definition of the term "brownfields" in Massachusetts, these properties often have certain characteristics in common: they are typically abandoned or for sale or lease; they typically have been used for commercial or industrial purposes; they may have been reported to MassDEP because contamination has been found (to find out, go to the online Site List ) or they may not have been assessed due to fear of unknown contamination conditions. EPA has established its own definition of brownfields for federal funding purposes (EPA Brownfields Definition).

State brownfields program incentives are available to buyers, and sometimes sellers, of contaminated property provided there is a commitment to cleanup and redevelopment. Brownfields properties are often located where there is an existing infrastructure, workforce and other amenities. State incentives can help parties identify risk, limit liability, and fund the cleanup of brownfields sites enabling their reuse for industry, housing and other purposes.

Parties who conduct site assessment or cleanup at any property in Massachusetts must do so under the state's cleanup law, Chapter 21E, and cleanup regulations, the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP) .  Parties undertaking site assessment and cleanup activities in Massachusetts must hire a Licensed Site Professional (LSP). For a list of LSPs, please refer to the LSP web page .  Brownfields sites require the same level of investigation and remediation as any other site in the MCP system. However, the MCP process allows property owners to take planned future reuses into account when performing a cleanup.

In 1998 the Governor and legislature signed a law creating financial incentives and liability relief for parties undertaking brownfields cleanup projects (Summary of the Brownfields Act) .  This law, known as the Brownfields Act,  provided agencies at the state level with funding to administer programs targeted towards the cleanup and reuse of contaminated property. In 2006, state legislature made changes to two programs created through the 1998 Brownfields Act. The legislature extended the sunset provision of the Brownfields Tax Credit, and made these credits transferable. State legislature also recapitalized the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund at that time.

MassDEP is working closely with state and federal brownfields partners to provide assistance to parties undertaking brownfields projects. For more information contact the MassDEP Brownfields Coordinator, Kerry Bowie at kerry.bowie@state.ma.us.