When acquiring a site for development, a potentially costly risk is having to clean up hazardous waste and/or remediate environmental dangers within the site’s boundaries. That is why you must have a professional environmental services company perform an environmental site assessment (ESA) prior to acquiring the site in question to minimize your risk.
Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) help to safeguard commercial/industrial real estate buyers against liability for cleaning up hazardous environmental contaminants. While these assessments, such as the Phase I ESA, tend to focus on the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on, or at a property, buyers should be aware of the risks of future vapor encroachment from nearby properties.
If you're purchasing commercial property to start or expand your business, you should be aware of possible environmental hazards and potential site contamination. Under federal (and several state) laws, business owners can be held responsible for the cleanup of environmental contamination on their property, regardless if it was caused by a prior owner or tenant. Because of this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends hiring professional consultants to conduct an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) on property you are planning to purchase.
The Massachusetts Underground Storage Tank Program (the “21J program”) was established in 1991 by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 21J. The purpose of the 21J program is to "prevent the need for environmental cleanup actions and to expedite environmental cleanup actions by providing partial reimbursement to owners or operators of underground storage tanks … for costs, expenses and other obligations incurred as a result of releases of petroleum products …” from their underground storage tank (“UST”) systems. (Emphasis added).
Whether you are a corporate real estate professional, an investor, a lender, or an environmental consultant, you should be aware that on December 30, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took final action and amended the “All Appropriate Inquiries Rule” at 40 CFR Part 312 to reference the ASTM 1527-13 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.” In doing so, the EPA has made it clear that anyone conducting all appropriate inquires may use the procedures included in this standard to comply with the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule.
Whether you are a corporate real estate professional, an investor, a lender, or an environmental consultant, you should be aware of the new changes for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs). The ASTM E1527-13 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process has been published. From a user’s perspective, some of the biggest changes you need to be aware of are changes to the definition of the terms “recognized environmental condition” (REC) and “historical recognized environmental condition” (HREC), as well as the addition of a new term “controlled recognized environmental condition” (CREC).
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Welcome to our postings on the environment and regulatory impact. We strive to keep you informed with the latest changes in regulations and with lessons learned from our time in the field
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