Environmental Site Assessment: Is It Important Before Land Purchase?


If you are buying a piece of land, you need to get an environmental site assessment done before closing the deal. You need this process to know if there isan issue of soil or groundwater contamination you must deal with. Also, it can detect the presence of asbestos, mould, or lead paint in buildings. With this etude geotechnique, you can determine whether contamination issues before you buy a piece of land, helping you avoid unpleasant and costly surprises later. Keep reading what an environmental site assessment covers:

Environmental Site Assessment Phases

This form of assessment is divided into the following phases:

  • Visual Inspection. The first phase of the assessment is the visual or historical inspection of the property. It involves looking for visual evidence of actual or possible contamination like underground storage tanks. Also, it includes gathering documents and aerial photographs to determine previous activities on the site and on neighboring properties where contamination may have migrated from. The stage of the assessment should go deeper into the past to determine what the land and neighboring lands were used for.

This assessment phase may be necessary even when leasing commercial property. It is important to know that some landlords may specify in a lease that they don’t take responsibility for environmental contamination the tenant caused.

  • Soil Sampling and Other Tests. This phase of the environmental site assessment process helps you, as the buyer, better understand the condition of the property’s land, groundwater, and structure. In some provinces, you may be required to file the results of this phase with provincial authorities, which makes the information available to the general public.

Applicable Rules and Regulations

Federal and provincial regulations govern operations that can impact the environment. Every province has different environmental regulations in place. Every land buyer should know thatestablishing liability for contamination is both complicated and time-consuming. An environmental site inspection performed before land purchase ensures that the buyer does not pursue a seller after a sale.

Importance of Buying Environmental Insurance

After purchasing a property, buyers must buy environmental insurance if their operations might cause contamination. For example, if you operate fuel tanks, you need this insurance to protect your investment, But, the best way to prevent contamination is to work to limit the effect of your business on the environment. This can be done by making sure hazardous substances are safely managed, disposing of waste properly, preventing leaks, and ensuring safe storage.

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