How To Deal With Environmental Issues When Purchasing Commercial Property

Pollution and environment factors affect a commercial property as much as, and sometimes more, than they affect humans. If you are buying commercial real estate, you must do a thorough check as to whether the piece of land or  industrial property is not polluted. You should be doubly careful if the property has been previously used by an industrial tenant or owner. Decontamination is usually very expensive and even cumbersome so proper investigation of the site before buying must be carried out.

A commercial property is said to be contaminated if there are chemicals or pollutants present that are considered harmful for the humans or for the environment. Contamination can be a result of careless use, storage or manufacture of hazardous material or chemicals. There could have been leakages of spills from storage tanks or even careless waste disposal by the previous occupier or occupiers.

When Is a Site Considered Contaminated

There can be radioactive materials like uranium, metals like zinc, lead, mercury and cadmium or any other hazardous substance like methane, iron or sulphur that may have leached into the land or accumulated on the flooring of the building that you are contemplating buying.

These materials are harmful for humans and also they can seep into soil and aid combustion or fire. They can also spread to nearby areas and buildings and can be extremely detrimental to others in neighbourhood.

If a particular site of buildings has been used by cement or asphalt making unit, paper manufacturing, metal extraction or processing, plastic or rubber manufacturing, chemical manufacturing or processing, oil or petrochemicals extraction, treatment of waste water or even storage of LPG cylinders, it makes sense to have a though assessment done for presence of pollutants.

How To Test For Contaminants

Soil or water samples can be taken from the land or the industrial building for assessment whether there are pollutants or not. If a site is found to be contaminated, a decontamination exercise can be undertaken. There are various cost and time considerations involved in decontamination and if you are interested in buying a property which is contaminated and want to go for decontamination after purchase, you will have to see whether the costs involved in decontamination are viable for you or not.

Decontamination Options

If you do decide to go for decontamination, there are various modern techniques available which are as follows:

1 Multiphase Extraction: This process is also called ‘Bioslurping’ and involves pumping of air and vacuuming of liquids.

2 Insitu Bioremediation: This process involves injecting biological substances into the soil to reverse the effects of pollutants that are there.

3 Sparging: This process involves passing air into water to help the hydrocarbons to degrade.

4 Phytoremediation: This process involves use of plant materials to neutralize chemicals present in soil and water.

Not all firms offering decontamination will be an expert in all four processes mentioned here. You will have to a good assessment of the contaminants present and the best way to get rid of them and accordingly choose the right company for decontamination.

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