There are a total of 2.3 billion acres of land in the United States, and only 66 million acres are considered developed. This means that there is a lot of land that does not have a home, business, or other building. People buy, sell, or lend out vacant lots of land every single day.
Business owners do not always know the right thing to do with these vacant lots. As a company that performs Phase I Environmental Site Assessments we want you to understand when you should have this done.
It is hard to imagine that a piece of land that is on the very edge of town or in a rural place is contaminated. After all, when many people think of pollution, they think about junk cars, companies dumping waste into rivers, or their local landfill. It seems illogical to think that a place where few people are residing has hazardous material onsite.
Yet, you do not know that property’s condition until you have gotten a Phase I Environmental Assessment. It is entirely possible that the property you are buying was a dumping ground for waste and chemicals. Unscrupulous farmers could have washed out their drums of toxic pesticides or fertilizers in the middle of your lot. There could have been a gas station on the lot that had a leaking underground storage tank in the past that has been demolished and removed There are a number of things that could be wrong with your future property that you would never know just by looking at it.
Less-than-honest people think that a vacant property is an unprotected property. If no one is around to see what they are doing, they might break the law. In our home state of Florida, residents of Jacksonville have banded together to fight illegal dumping, and the city of Miami wants to raise fees on litter throwers.
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is the only way that you can be sure that the property you are interested in is free of any toxins.
Contamination Can Move Naturally
Pollution has many different ways to move from one property to another. Rivers, creeks, groundwater, surface water, and wind are known to transfer pollutants from one property to another.
We do not have that many hills in Florida, but if you live in a place like Tennessee or New York, then the slow rolling hills may mean that water (and hazardous material) may flow onto your property from an adjacent property. The process is not necessarily a fast one. In many cases, the contamination spreads very gradually. In fact, when water moves slowly, pollutants have more of a chance to build up.
You should also keep in mind that water is flowing under the ground you walk on. Groundwater can be contaminated just like surface water. When underground aquifers are polluted, it is generally a bigger problem. It can be a lot more difficult to detect, pinpoint, and fix the issue.
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment involves going through documents related to adjacent properties, to find out if there were any factories, farms, or other possible sources of contamination on or around your property. If you are looking to get a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, contact us today. Our team of experienced environmental consultants can help.