In this March 2017 file photo, Three excavators continue to organize debris at the former Great Northern Paper Co. LLC mill site in East Millinocket. Credit: Nick Sambides Jr. / BDN

Two Maine groups will receive a total of $1 million to help with brownfields cleanup in the state.

Brownfields are contaminated sites that were often formerly home to industrial or commercial businesses. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is giving $500,000 each to the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission in Saco and Greater Portland Council of Governments in Portland.

Brownfields cleanup is often intended to make unusable sites suitable for future development.

The money will allow the groups to make loans available to clean up the sites. Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said the cleanup of brownfields plays “a key role in creating new economic activity and jobs in Maine, revitalizing communities, and spurring redevelopment to benefit their residents.”