Environmental due diligence refers to the process of determining the presence or absence of environmental contamination for a real estate property. This could include both groundwater and soil contamination, and often includes performance of a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment.
The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, determines the standards that represent proper due diligence. It is important to make sure these standards are met so that you are not held responsible for any unexpected pre-existing environmental issues. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) establishes a process to determine who is held responsible for environmental contamination or hazardous materials. Basically this means that the owner can be held liable just due to the fact that he or she owns the property, and the bill for remediation often runs into the millions.
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment should be performed as part of the due diligence process prior to purchasing commercial property. Should contamination be found, there are numerous techniques and technologies that can be utilized to perform remediation activities.