Significant liabilities can be present when acquiring a property next to or near a site with known environmental problems, even if those problems are documented and known to be the responsibility if another party. Direct or indirect exposure pathways by which the contaminants of concern can affect residents or tenants of your site include the presence of active potable or process water wells which allow exposure to the contaminant, or a basement which may receive vapors from an off-site volatile contaminant in soil such as PCE or gasoline. Additionally, an off-site impact can often extend onto the subject site above state or federal action levels. In some scenarios, the new owner of the subject property has been placed at risk of being involved in the eventual cleanup when the responsible parties default on their ability to complete agency-mandated investigations or remediation through bankruptcy or other factors. 

There are steps that the prospective purchaser should take during the due diligence period to protect their interest. First, the nature and extent of the problems from the off-site source should be identified and defined, along with the potential for direct or indirect pathways onto the subject site. Tools to acquire this information include: 

  • Computerized database screening reports
  • File reviews at regulatory agencies
  • Interviews with site contacts and regulatory case managers 

This information should then be used as a basis upon which to determine the responsible party's plans and/or ability to carry through the required environmental work. These initial steps often lead to satisfaction on the part of the potential property owner, and provide a more solid footing on which the transaction may proceed; furthermore, the entire process can be done with the help of a qualified environmental consultant. Let us help you use these real estate environmental screening tools along with experience to help you identify these problems before they arise. 

For more information regarding nearby contaminated site(s), click on the following: 

Assessing the Neighborhood: A Guide for Avoiding Problems from Nearby Sites During Property Transactions 

Do you have questions on Nearby Contaminated Sites?

Please call Gary Brown at (610) 265-1510 for more information or questions regarding Nearby Contaminated Site(s), or use the Request for Services form to obtain a proposal within 24 Hours.