About the Project

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) collaborated to prepare a health impact assessment (HIA) of a proposed natural gas compressor station in the Town of Weymouth, Massachusetts. The station was proposed as part of a private-sector energy infrastructure investment plan and is subject to federal and state approvals, including an air quality permit.

The HIA was a systematic process to determine:

  1. The potential health effects of a proposed change to the Fore River area
  2. What can help create the healthiest outcomes in relation to the proposed changes

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) facilitated the HIA and the community engagement process that is part of the assessment. The HIA was completed in January 2019. Click here to view the HIA and related documents.

What is a Health Impact Assessment?

A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process that uses available data, health expertise, and public input to identify the possible health effects of a proposed change. HIAs are used to assess proposals, such as new development projects or legislative policies, and to produce recommendations that minimize health risks and maximize health benefits.

Steps of a Health Impact Assessment:

  1. Screening: Determine whether the HIA is likely to add value and influence decision-making.
  2. Scoping: Create objectives for the HIA, in consultation with stakeholders, and outline the process to identify potential health risks and benefits.
  3. Assessment: Describe the current health of people and groups affected by the proposed change and predict the potential health effects if the change were to occur.
  4. Recommendations: Produce practical solutions and strategies that can be implemented within the political, economic, or technical limitations of the proposed change.
  5. Reporting: Share the findings with decision makers, affected communities, and other stakeholders.

Air Quality Monitoring

Air quality monitoring will occur in coordination with the HIA. This information will be used in the assessment phase of the HIA to describe existing conditions and to assist in estimating potential health impacts.