If you own land in Florida or are looking to invest in its real estate, we understand your excitement. After all, who wouldn’t feel enthusiastic about owning property in one of the prime locations of the country, with its sunny beaches, subtropical weather, and overall cheerful atmosphere? But if there’s one thing that can rain on your parade, it is the possibility of land contamination.
Yes, Florida properties are surprisingly susceptible to both land and water contamination. This can be attributed to the state’s history, and its placement as a beach-laden locale with its share of year-round visitors, carelessly littering the area with potentially hazardous waste. In fact, the USEPA and the Florida Department of Environment Protection both have access to an ever-growing list of contaminated properties.
If you already suspect contamination of your property or are even looking to invest in new real estate, then we strongly urge you to do first-level checks to ascertain the state of the land. The rest of this blog will guide you on the next steps for this.
This can be taken up as a do-it-yourself project, where you go about collecting all relevant information associated with your property.
- Contact previous property owner(s) for all historical records of your land like original blueprints, maps, interior and exterior layouts, plumbing layouts, identification of septic systems, etc.
- Check with owners/neighbors for incidents of hazardous waste leaks that may have occurred on or close to this property. This can include spillovers from industrial pollutants, oil/gas leakage, old and possibly broken septic systems, unsafe storage of fuel tanks, and so on.
- Check for any visually notable contamination areas. For instance, if the property has an old well that has been unused for years, there could be a possibility for water contamination (including bacteria, and other chemical contaminants like nitrates, lead, etc.). Drums, tanks, or buckets stored on the property that show signs of deterioration and are possibly leaking could be direct indicators of contamination.
Engage With an Environmental Service Company for a Formal Inspection
The do-it-yourself inspection may suffice for your peace of mind, but if you were to require financing for your land, a bank may require a more formal inspection. This is where the Phase One Environmental Study comes into play.
The Phase One study is a visual-only inspection executed by an environmental expert (like the ones at EPAC Environmental Services, Inc.), in order to check for contamination of your land/water.
In fact, a lot of the research and information collected in the do-it-yourself inspection will be used in this study. This will further be analyzed to determine if the land is susceptible to any state-identified RECs (Recognized Environmental Conditions).
Only if there are flagged RECs will you need a more detailed investigation, like the Phase Two Study, which will include a more thorough analysis using technical tools and sampling methods.
If the land is indeed contaminated, the state will also mandate steps to address the contamination. (Expenses are payable by the current owner.)
Steps to Protect Yourself in Case of Contamination
Consider that your land/ water is indeed contaminated. Here are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself, while you wait for further instructions from the experts.
- Wash your hands and legs frequently, especially after any yard work, gardening, car wash, etc. Better still is to frequently clean with disinfectants so the chances of any bacteria spreading are minimized.
- Check with an expert to test your water for contamination caused by coliform (bacteria), nitrate (in agricultural land), lead (due to old plumbing systems). Also, consider using a purifier for drinking water. EPAC Inc. can determine the type of contaminants and advise on purification/filtration systems if needed.
- Create temporary closures for any wells on the property until you are confident that the water is pure.
Confidently Take On Contamination With EPAC Inc.
Finally, take a deep breath. The environmental experts at EPAC Environmental Services, Inc. are committed to helping you detect any potential land/water contamination, and can also guide you with definite measures to clear it. To know more, contact us or call us at (954) 974-7055.