Assessment Process

Step 1: Contact Us
If you think your site might be eligible for the brownfields assessment program, please contact us! We will be able to talk through the issues specific to your site and give you a general idea of eligibility. We will likely have a representative from our brownfields consultant, Fuss & O'Neill, give you a call to answer any detailed questions you may have. If your site seems like a good candidate, we will send you a site nomination form.

Step 2: Fill out the Site Nomination Form
Fill out the site nomination form to the best of your ability. We will use that information to request official eligibility from the U.S. EPA who administers our grant funding. If it is property with suspected petroleum contamination we must also seek approval from the State of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Step 3: Phase I Assessment
A Phase I Assessment is also sometimes referred to as a "21E" referring to the MassDEP's basic level of site investigation.

To identify Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs). Items that may warrant further assessment or testing.

What’s Involved
  • Site Inspection (non-invasive, no sampling)
  • Site history review
  • Municipal file research review (typically includes: Assessors, Building Dept., Engineering, Fire Dept, Health Dept, etc)
  • MassDEP file review (if subject property is MassDEP listed)
  • Interview with knowledgeable parties (owner, operator, town officials, neighbor at vacant lot)
  • Environmental database review
  • Review historical information: aerial photos, Sanborn fire insurance maps, city street directories
Step 4: Phase 1 Report and Review Meeting
The environmental consultant will prepare a "Phase 1 Report" to document the findings for your site. Then we will meet with you to answer any questions you might have and discuss the report's recommendations. In some cases, this report will be enough to help you move forward with redevelopment plans or financing. In others, additional investigation -- a Phase II Assessment may be advised.

Step 5: Phase II Assessment

A Phase II Assessment is a more intense site investigation that aims to provide a finer grain of detail on the type and extent of suspected contamination. It can help an owner prepare a clean-up and re-use plan.

Based on the results of the Phase I ESA, define a site-specific scope of work for the Phase II ESA testing. Goal is to evaluate the REC's and characterize potential impacts to the environment. Data would be compared to regulatory criteria (MassDEP standards) to identify "reportable conditions".

What’s Involved
Phase II typically includes more invasive steps including testing of environmental media. Most commonly we sample soil and groundwater and test for suspected and common materials.

Other media that may warrant testing depending on the results of the Phase I report include:
  • Sediment
  • Surface Water
  • Indoor Air
  • Building Materials
Non-invasive testing can include:
  • Electro-magnetic (EM) survey to look for buried metallic structures (drums, tanks)
  • Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to look for buried structures (tanks, utilities, unknowns)
Step 6: Phase II Report and Review Meeting
At this meeting we will review the report findings and answer your questions, we will also discuss next steps. The town does not have funding for clean up but in some cases there are additional sources of grants and low interest financing to help with clean up. The town's grant funding does allow for limited site re-use planning on high-priority sites.