Environmental issues can get very difficult. When checking for environmental problems, especially on commercial properties, many real estate attorneys advise their clients to have what is called a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment conducted. During a Phase I Environmental Assessment, an environmental professional will do a property search and often visit the site to check for environmental problems. You can also know all about phase 1 environmental via https://andersenint.com/services/phase-i-environmental/
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During the property search, the environmental professional will review what are called Sanborn maps. These maps are really just historical plat maps that show many of the previous owners and uses of the property. They are dated by year and can be found at the courthouse or public library.
If you are reviewing a property and find potential signs of environmental contamination, or suspect the area was once used for something that could have caused environmental contamination, you should probably consult with an expert or avoid the property.
During a Phase I Environmental Assessment, environmental professionals review topographic maps, county maps, and geologic maps, as well as call state professionals familiar with the area, to learn about area groundwater, soil conditions, and any nearby contaminated sites.
As part of their assessment, they scan for many of the same things discussed above to determine if there is any reason to suspect the property has current environmental contamination or could become contaminated in the future.
After doing the Phase I Environmental Assessment, a report is prepared. If potential environmental problems are found, the buyer either walks away from the real estate deal or he/she may ask the owner of the property to perform a Phase II Environmental Assessment.