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Guide Introduction to Brownfields | MassDEP

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. "Brownfield" 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 or they may not have been assessed due to fear of unknown contamination conditions.

1998 Brownfields Act

In 1998, Massachusetts passed a law creating financial incentives and liability relief for parties that take on brownfields cleanup projects.  This law is known as the Brownfields Act,.  The Act provides funding to administer programs targeted towards the cleanup and reuse of contaminated property. In 2006, the state extended the Brownfields Tax Credit and made these credits transferable. The legislature also periodically recapitalizes the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund.

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Incentives for Cleanup & Redevelopment

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.

Cleanup Requirements

35K More than 35,000 sites have been cleaned up since 1993.

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", 310 CMR 40.0000) .  

Parties undertaking site assessment and cleanup activities in Massachusetts must hire a Licensed Site Professional (LSP) to oversee the work. LSPs are licensed and regulated by the Board of Regulation of Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Professionals (aka, the "LSP Board").  A guide for hiring and LSP and a list of currently licensed individuals are available.

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.

Additional Resources

Building on History - Brownfields Video

 

MassDEP has produced a video description of our Brownfields program, highlighting several success stories from around the state. The video was screened at the 2006 Brownfields Conference held in Boston that year. There are 6 case studies described in this series of videos, plus an introductory segment and conclusion.

The video is presented as seven short segments in a YouTube playlist.

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