CERCLA, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, was established under United States Law. It deals with providing proof to establish an “innocent landowner” in regards to property transactions. In other words, an environmental audit has to be done by property sellers so that a buyer, lender or investor is protected against buying property that does not meet CERLCA requirements. Property owners need to provide an environmental phase i audit.
When an environmental phase i audit is completed the buyer can then use this Act to establish an innocent landowner defense should the need arise where the property owner needs protection against liability for hazardous materials on their property that were put there by a third party. An environmental audit includes information from a geotechnical engineer that does materials testing on the property.
That way, after an environmental audit is done if hazardous materials are ever found on the property in the future the cost for clean up can be billed to the appropriate party. When an environmental audit is done a review of the topography, water, land use, land ownership and other such data are gathered. An environmental audit requires that a reviews is done of regulatory records, aerial photos and files on hand at the local agency. They will also go out and do a visual survey of the property when they do an environmental audit.
Small loan properties have a transaction screen done on them. These are all a part of any real estate transaction now and you can’t complete a transaction without an environmental audit being done. People who know about environmental issues in the area are also queried. Anything that can have a financial impact of a property is evaluated. An respected an experienced company should be used to do your environmental audit.