The City of New Bedford can now begin assessment of some key investment properties that contain levels of contamination. The City has been awarded $600,000 dollars in two separate grants from the EPA to take a closer look at the former Payne Cutlery and Elco Dress site, as well as several lots along the riverwalk in the upper harbor.

EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spalding says the funding gives future investors an idea of what kind of work needs to be performed at the sites. "Without this lead-in money that assess(es) risks and defines what can be invested in, and actually does some clean-up, you can't get to first base with private financing. Actually, public financing, too," said Spalding.

Congressman William Keating says the grants will begin to repair damage caused by under-regulated industry. "The corporate movements of past years really are what we're here for today, because they polluted in this area; knowingly, unknowingly. But the cost of that was significant and it lived far beyond their profits."

The funding is part of $10.3 million in EPA brownfields investments across New England in 2015.