MassDEP works with many state and federal partners to provide both technical and financial assistance to parties wishing to cleanup and redevelop contaminated properties.
State brownfields program incentives are available to buyers, and sometimes sellers, of contaminated property provided there is a commitment to cleanup and redevelopment.
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MassDEP regional and Boston staff work proactively with municipalities, non-profits, and Brownfields developers to help resolve regulatory issues that can stall Brownfields projects.
The Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP) regulates waste site cleanup activities in the Commonwealth. However, the MCP process allows property owners to take planned future uses into account when performing a cleanup. Brownfields Technical Assistance includes assistance with understanding Massachusetts environmental regulations as they pertain to site specific issues and understanding guidance documents and policies.
MassDEP’s Waste Site Cleanup Program includes a semi-privatized cleanup program in which parties (developers, owners, etc.) are required to hire private sector Licensed Site Professionals (LSP) to oversee assessment and cleanup work at Brownfield sites and other contaminated sites.
Licensed Site Professionals
Private parties who are financially responsible under Massachusetts law for assessing and cleaning up confirmed and suspected hazardous waste sites must retain a Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Professional or “Licensed Site Professional” to oversee the assessment and cleanup work. The LSP ensures that work is done in accordance with MGL ch. 21E and the MCP. LSPs are licensed by the Commonwealth to provide oversight for environmental work performed at contaminated properties in Massachusetts and the Board of Registration of Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Professionals, commonly called the “LSP Board” issues licenses for LSPs. All licensed LSPs must meet stringent education and experience standards set by the Board, and they must pass an examination that tests their technical and regulatory knowledge. When hiring an LSP, you would want to check their qualifications and references, just as you would before hiring any contractor or professional.
For information on the Massachusetts LSP Program and to find an LSP, please visit:
- Board of Registration of Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Professionals
- Searchable list of Licensed Site Professionals
Brownfields Technical Assistance Contacts
MassDEP has four regional offices that regulate the towns and cities within their regional boundaries. Each region has its own Regional Brownfields Coordinator who is available to assist you with questions about Brownfields projects and the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (“MCP”).
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The Massachusetts Attorney General facilitates Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment by providing liability protection for current and prospective owners of contaminated property. Under state cleanup laws (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 21E) there is strict, joint, and several liability for current and past owners/operators of contaminated property.
In the past, liability concerns discouraged many parties from getting involved in Brownfields transactions. In addition, many questions arose, such as:
- What is the liability of the municipality that owns a Brownfield if an assessment finds contamination?
- What is the liability of the private owner?
- What is the liability of a municipality that acquires a property for failure to pay taxes or other mechanism?
- How can the municipality limit its liability?
- Are there partners that may be interested in sharing the liability as part of a redevelopment venture?
The Brownfields Act established statutory liability relief for certain parties undertaking Brownfields projects. Parties interested in determining if they are eligible for this protection should refer to MGL Chapter 21E, and consult with an attorney with expertise in liability relating to oil/hazardous material releases.