Waste, when present at a site, can significantly delay a property transaction, unless it can be removed prior to completing the purchase. The waste can be present in several forms - municipal waste, hazardous waste or residual waste. In some circumstances, even special waste, including asbestos, or, animal waste, can be found to have been buried at a property.

If waste are buried at a property, the extent of such burial or disposal needs to be fully investigated to see if soils and/or groundwater have also been impacted. Where drums have been buried, removal is typically required, and, testing must be completed to see if the drums leaked.

If waste cannot be removed or, if it is present under buildings, studies can be completed to see if the fill is of major environmental concern. On some sites, where "historical fill" principally consisting of old cinders and ashes are present, no actual removal or cleanup may be required. However, in such instances, a deed restriction may be required to facilitate a property transaction. The deed restriction typically requires that if materials are excavated in the future, that waste be properly managed.

Whenever waste is found to have disposed of on a property, the extent of the disposal area and the environmental impact (if any) of disposal has to be investigated before it can be determined if a property is suitable for purchase. Most frequently, where waste cannot be excavated and removed, State or Federal regulatory agencies will need to approve any needed remedial measures, such as capping, covering, revegetation and/or methane gas venting, if the waste is to remain at the site. Only after regulatory agencies have expressed an opinion can most properties with waste on them actually proceed to sale.

Some sites with extensive amounts of waste on them, which is to remain after the sale, can be considered Brownfields sites, and/or, Land Recycling sites.

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