Buying property is a key business or personal investment. You don’t want to be caught off-guard, especially discovering too late that your new property is contaminated with some type of hazardous waste. A Phase 1 environmental site assessment can help ensure you are fully informed before putting your signature on that purchase.
Here are just four reasons to conduct a Phase 1 environmental site assessment.
- Protect yourself from liability.
The Phase 1 environmental site assessment can help you obtain an “innocent landowner” designation, meaning you won’t be liable for any ramifications of contamination because you had no reason to know the property was contaminated when you bought it.
- Avoid inadvertently making a poor purchase.
It’s one thing to buy property knowing there are problems. It may still be a good investment, even considering the cost of resolving contamination-related issues. But you want to be in a position to make that decision armed with all the facts.
- Peace of mind.
It’s important to maintain a healthful environment for anyone who will be using your property, whether it’s your family or hundreds of employees or visitors. Knowing your new property is clean and safe — or knowing there are problems you have the means to resolve — will keep you comfortable and confident moving forward.
- You might have to do it anyway.
These days the potential risks associated with discovering and cleaning up hazardous waste are so high that many lenders require a Phase 1 environmental site assessment before they’ll approve financing. In some cases, this is because they can also be held liable. But the bottom line is, if they’re that concerned you should be, too.
One or more past uses of the property you’re considering could have left contamination behind. Sometimes the presence of contamination is already documented but no one has done anything about resolving the problem. If contamination exists, you’ll be buying the problem – and liability for remediation – along with the property.
Partner with a professional to ensure your Phase 1 environmental site assessment is performed thoroughly and accurately, so nothing gets missed. The findings and expert recommendations from your engineering team will enable you to make an intelligent assessment of the situation and understand your level of risk.
It’s your call, but at least you’ll be able to make a fully-informed decision whether or not to purchase the property in question.
Photo Credit: USACE