4 Questions You Should Ask After Receiving Preliminary Environmental Assessments

It is usually advisable to conduct a preliminary environmental assessment before you purchase a property on which activities which can affect the environment, such as petroleum-related activities, were being conducted. This article discusses some crucial questions which you should ask the environmental expert who conducted the assessment in which some concerns were raised.

What Would It Cost to Conduct a Detailed Assessment?

It would be unwise for you to proceed with the purchase transaction without knowing the full extent of the environmental contamination. Ask the company which conducted the initial assessment to estimate how much it would cost you to commission a thorough investigation so that you know what you are getting into. Factor all these costs into the cost of acquiring the property from the seller.

Can You Estimate the Cleanup Costs?

You should also find out from the environment assessment expert the approximate cost of cleaning up that property so that the contamination is brought to acceptable levels if it cannot be reversed completely. That estimated cleanup cost should help you to decide whether it makes business sense to buy that property or you should walk away from the deal.

What Liabilities Are Created By the Contamination?

Ask the environmental expert to explain to you what the possible liabilities may be once you purchase that contaminated property. These liabilities may include possible lawsuits from people who developed diseases after consuming contaminated water. You could also be held liable for the loss of biodiversity in the area if it can be proved that the contamination at the property led to the demise of various animal and plant species. Weigh those potential risks before closing on the deal to acquire that property.

What Can Regulators Say About the Site?

Various regulatory bodies are likely to pick interest in that property once you acquire it and you want to start using it for commercial or industrial purposes. Request the environmental experts to explain to you what the opinion of the different regulators may be once they visit/inspect the property. Will they recommend immediate closure until the environmental issues are addressed? Will they impose fines for the contamination found? Can they prosecute you for the environmental damage? Keep the response of the experts in mind as you decide how to proceed.

Never look at environmental assessments as just another requirement which you must perform before approval can be given for your project. See that process as a way to gather vital information before you commit your resources in a property acquisition which can later turn into a bottomless pit into which you keep sinking resources.