Inspection Articles

The Standardization of Environmental Site Assessment

Who Will Benefit? Since 1984, potential environmental liability associated with hazardous materials has become a matter of utmost concern to parties involved in real estate transactions - and for good reason! In some cases, the cost of environmental cleanup has exceeded $10 million dollars; also, the creative application of legal theories has entangled parties not previously assigned liability for cleanup actions. Consequently, environmental site assessments are a necessary and integral part of most commercial, industrial and many residential real estate transactions today. A basic guidance [...]

When Power Can Kill

The Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation Overhead power lines. Hair dryers. Electric blankets. What's got everyone so worked up about these seemingly innocuous modern conveniences? Electromagnetic radiation, that's what. Produced naturally by the earth and technologically by man, electromagnetic radiation is everywhere around us--and always has been. Even prehistoric man was exposed to the earth's natural magnetic field. But the dawn of the Industrial Age brought hundreds of new sources of electromagnetic radiation into our homes. And therein lies the problem. Electromagnetic radiation is produced in [...]

Water Pollution Down Under

The causes of groundwater contamination What is groundwater? Groundwater is simply water that has percolated down through the soil from melting snow and rain. Where it collects underground is the zone of saturation, the top of which is the water table. The collection formation is called an aquifer. Aquifers occur at different depths depending on the geologic formation, but most groundwater is found within 2,500 feet of the earth's crust. Generally, groundwater moves in slowly flowing, tightly packed sand and gravel, although some forms in [...]

Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI)

UFFI is frequently identified as a cause of unhealthy indoor environments. Indoor air quality can be negatively impacted by the off-gassing of urea formaldehyde as it ages inside wall cavities. Originally utilized in the late 1970's as a retrofit insulation product, this material was typically pumped into hollow wall cavities and was recognized as an excellent thermal insulator. However, improper temperature, pressure, moisture and mixture during installation is now knows to inhibit the curing process of this material and can be responsible for generating toxic [...]

New Guidelines Promote Environmental Responsibility

The struggle to define environmental due diligence from a legal perspective continues unabated in our nation's courts. Due diligence is defined by ASTM's Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process as whether one has conducted "all appropriate inquiry into the previous ownership and uses of the property consistent with good commercial or customary practices." It is not defined well enough to apply in a standardized way to a real estate transaction because there are to many factors to consider in [...]