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Environmental Due Diligence and Risk Management

In my previous work experience performing Phase I Environmental Assessments, one of the most important aspects of the job was researching past, present, and future uses of property to determine potential environmental risk.

This practice is extremely helpful in assisting people purchase property because no one wants to buy a building only to find out that there are hazardous conditions that are unseen. I found that making databases of information was very helpful. In addition to making databases, compiling research, and technical reporting, the job required physical site assessments where travel to properties was required.

For this dynamic job, technology was an awesome resource. From a sustainability point of view, this job was all about people, planet, and profit.

People want to buy and sell property without getting hung up on this process, but without it, people may end up stuck with a toxic piece of land. In the long run, although the phase I costs a few thousand dollars, all parties involved save some serious headaches that can be causes by lawsuits or unseen obstacles like environmental litigation.

This process also benefits the planet because the research that is performed determines whether remediation was required. If toxic conditions on a site are found, a Phase II study may be conducted. The Phase II environmental assessment consists of drilling into the ground to collect soil and soil gas samples that can be analyzed for toxic substances.

From a profit perspective, although the studies cost money, at least one party involved in the process stands to profit from the successful execution of the report. When purchasing property, the cost of the phase I can be on either the seller, the buyer, or the lender if there is potential for contamination. In most cases, no significant contamination is found and the sale can go off without a hitch! This means that everyone can maximize profits. In some ways, a Phase I Environmental Assessment is sort of like an insurance policy for the sale of the property. If nothing is found, then you can rest easy that the property is ready for a sale. But if potentially hazardous conditions are found, then remediation makes the property safe for everyone involved.

Although this process is complicated and takes a few weeks to complete, I feel like its a small price to pay to ensure that your property is clean and free from contaminates.

The best way we can all avoid finding contamination is to use environmentally friendly products that do not pose a threat to our health or the environment. What's awesome, is that in today's world, we can find alternatives that are both cheaper and better.

For instance, in dry cleaning operations, many dry cleaners still use chemicals called perchloroethylene (PERC) tetrachloroethylene, or trichloroethylene. These chemicals are carcinogenic and are EXTREMELY hazardous for the environment. In fact, some of these chemicals can soak through asphalt or concrete and get into the groundwater system. Not only that, but they spread very quickly and can contaminate huge areas under ground without us even knowing about it. even one cup of PERC can contaminate an Olympic sized swimming pool of fresh water.

Here are some other useful sites that can help us find environmentally friendly dry cleaners. Because who wants to wear clothing that was soaked in a carcinogenic chemical???

Thanks for reading! I hope that these blogs can be a great resource for you when choosing your new dry cleaner!

Have a great week!

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