Buyers and Sellers of Commercial Real Estate Should Know That Vapor Encroachment in Kentucky and Ohio is Considered a Real Environmental Risk
What is Vapor Encroachment?
Vapor encroachment is a source of contamination and is deemed an environmental risk by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Essentially, chemicals contaminate the groundwater and/or the soil underneath buildings. These chemicals come from multiple sources, such as underground storage tanks containing hazardous materials that leach into the soil and industrial waste that has entered the waterways, which ultimately contaminate the groundwater.
Many of the chemicals that have seeped into the soil and groundwater are hazardous and eventually create an air quality hazard as well; the contaminates from the soil and groundwater create a vapor that migrates to the subsurface and eventually into the buildings. The vapor exists between particles of soil; it enters buildings through cracks in the basement, walls, and other openings, such as where the utilities are plumbed. The vapor gets sucked inside when the air pressure inside a building is lower than the soil’s air pressure. This hazardous vapor impacts the air quality indoors. Vapor Encroachment Screening is necessary to detect the problem.
Not everyone suffers from ill health due to the vapors; it depends on the amount of vapor being breathed in, the length of time the person is exposed to the vapor, and the toxicity level of the vapor. Be that as it may; the vapor is classified as an environmental hazard, and property owners must test for contamination.
Legal Repercussions for Non Compliance
Commercial real estate transactions are subject to environmental due diligence. According to the new standard guide for vapor encroachment screening (VES) published by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Vapor Encroachment Screening is required to determine environmental contamination in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana and other states. Not screening for this hazard can open the door to litigation due to negligence. Any commercial property transaction must include screening and evaluation. The ASTM VES guide is a useful tool for commercial real estate investors, lenders, and developers. Incorporating guidelines from the VES is evidence that proper and customary measures were taken to satisfy due diligence.
How to Determine Environmental Site Culpability
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) to determine if culpability exists for vapor encroachment. Vapor Encroachment Screening involves getting a Phase 1 environmental site assessment in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and other states. This report will determine if vapor risks are present, and suggest ways to reduce or eliminate those risks properly. The ESA is considered the first step in the due diligence process—this is a preliminary report and the physical sampling of the soil, groundwater, and air for contaminants will not be conducted during this phase. If the assessment identifies possible risks, then Phase II will be implemented.
The ESA is in accordance with the guidelines issued by the EPA. An environmental risk management company can ensure that both Phase I and Phase II, if required, will be conducted properly and in complete compliance with the EPA.
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