Superfund sites can sometimes be the most difficult situations to deal to with when addressing property transactions. Superfund sites are those sites where the Federal government is using its authority to proceed with a cleanup, under the direction of, or under a program delegated by the US EPA. Joint and several liability provisions under CERCLA make transactions particularly difficult, unless there is an agreement with EPA that a party has not contributed to contamination.

Several situations typically can occur related to Superfund sites - the site itself is on or is part of a defined Superfund site, or, the site where the planned property transaction is adjacent to or near to a Superfund site.

In situations where property transactions are on or near Superfund sites, particularly if it is planned to use groundwater for portable supply, it is extremely important that a detailed EPA file review be conducted, and the State or Federal case manager should be contacted to see how much of a concern the Superfund site really is. Further, if there is any potential that operations on the subject property site could have contributed to contamination which the government may have plans to clean up, that the transaction not be completed until there is "prospective purchaser" or other type of agreement with a State or Federal agency, holding the new owner harmless from liability for the preexisting contamination. If this not done, asset value may be compromised and the purchasing party could be held responsible for cleaning up contamination in the future.

The length of time that it takes to clean up a Superfund site and the associated decision making can delay property transactions for extended periods. Property buyers are therefore are urged to be very cautious if the subject property is on or adjacent to a proposed to, or actual, National Priorities List Superfund site.

For more information regarding Superfund Sites, click on the following:

Superfund Site Cleanup in Pennsylvania

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