Checking Land for Contamination

Purchasing contaminated property can prove to be a very bad investment as it could be hazardous for any persons that later resided upon it and even to the environment as a whole. Land like this has normally been previously used by industries that did not have proper waste disposal facilities or processes,these making the land risky to live or work on. This normally only comes to light once the industry has closed down. All of this makes checking any land you are considering purchasing for contamination before investing in it. The systems for this are relatively straightforward,but it is important that they are followed to the letter.

It is an unfortunate fact that most cities and towns have sites that were previously used by industries that produced pollutants one way or another. The problems however are only coming to light now,the regulations in place today being much more stringent that those in the past. These areas are classified as “brownfield” sites and often have buildings that are now derelict. The good news is that it is possible to restore the land to health,thus making it fit for residential use.

Land pollution often leads to the loss of topsoil as well,which in turn reduces its capacity to sustain any agricultural use. One reason for this is that irrigation was badly used,or by the excessive spraying of chemicals. Chemical spills and dumping are the main reasons for land pollution and soil contamination. Besides this sewage leaks,leaks from oil tanks,and asbestos can also lead to land being contaminated.

It is therefore easy to see that it is vital to understand the history of the land and its previous users / their activities before you buy it,as these provide you with an indication of the possibility of land contamination. The checks are known as environmental searches and are normally conducted by conveyancing solicitors,the purpose being to find out if there are any issues that can affect the value of the land being offered for sale. Such searches include historical mapping of the property,records of land use,as well as other information that could identify any other factors that may cause concern. If any contamination of the land or property,is found,then the buyer can take this into account when offering to buy the land. It could well be that the cost of restoring the land could be very high,which makes it all the more important to take this into account when purchasing land. It is also important to understand how any adjacent properties were used in the past,as contamination on that land could leak into the land that is being purchased through the contamination of groundwater.

If any of the buildings on the land are going to be re-purposed,it is also vital to check for mold and dampness,because if the building was derelict for many years,it could also prove to be a source of contamination. This would be something else that would need attention before the property can be made usable once again.

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