Chicopee using grant to clean up contaminated property

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Chicopee is getting money from the federal government to put a contaminated property back on the tax rolls.

The old Racing Oil site at 181 Center Street will benefit from a $200,000 grant from the federal government and $40,000 from Chicopee.

“This is Center Street. This is part of the entrance to our city,” said Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos. “We think it’s a property that will be ripe for redevelopment and future use. One of the problems you have is when a property is not clean, it precludes itself from being re-marketed.”

The old owner got into tax trouble, and the property sat abandoned for years. Three large underground oil tanks ruptured. Martin Topor owns the business across the street and says the contamination affected his property value.

“The tanks ruptured years ago and the previous owner walked away from the property and the environmental issue just lingered for years and years,” explained Topor.

Crews are excavating the contaminated dirt and replacing it with new soil. The dirt is then tested, along with area well water.

“We’re just digging out the dirty dirt, disposing of it. We are taking samples that will give us an idea of the concentration of petroleum constituents are and that will help us understand the risk to human health,” explained Environmental Scientist Nick Guidi.

Once completed, the new property will be re-seeded with grass. Chicopee has gotten six similar grants over the past two years. There are 15 brownfield sites in Chicopee’s West End.