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Soil Vapor Surveys in Real Estate Transactions

By March 1, 2019 No Comments

Vapor intrusions into inhabited spaces present a major hazard to the health of the occupants.  These vapor intrusions occur when there is a migration of vapor-forming toxic, volatiles from any subsurface source into an overlying building.  In real estate transactions, the contaminants of concern in the soil vapor include: Gasoline compounds in service stations, dry-cleaning solvents at cleaners, and chlorinated solvents in commercial and industrial operations.  These toxic, volatile substances can originate on the property or invade from spills in the neighborhood, such as an industrial operation on an adjoining property.  This could lead to a required abatement at a neighboring, commercial operation.

To answer as to whether toxic, volatile substances reside in the subsurface, Phase I & II Environmental Site Assessments are conducted at a timely, reliable, and cost-effective manner by McAlister GeoScience.

Here’s how it’s done:

At McAlister Geoscience, our team of experienced scientists and engineers conduct an investigation of the subject property following ASTM standards.  This process is called a Phase I ESA, and it covers an investigation of the current and past history and uses of the property in question.  What was previously on the site that could pose a soil contamination threat? Did any usage contaminate the soil or groundwater underlying the site? How about the current operation? We answer such questions during our intensive investigations to determine if there are any conditions that are indicative of releases of toxic, volatile substances at the site, now or in the past.

Depending on the results of the Phase I ESA, Phase II work could include surficial and subsurface soil analysis to determine the vertical and horizontal extent of the toxic, volatile substance threatening the subject property.  A report is generated by our experienced scientists and engineers providing recommendations and solutions for the problem at hand.

Please do not hesitate to contact McAlister GeoScience if you have any questions regarding toxic, volatile substances in the subsurface associated with a property you own or manage. McAlister GeoScience has experience assessing and removing toxic, volatile substances in accordance with local regulations to ensure your property transaction goes smoothly.

Figure 1.  Toxic, volatile substances in the subsurface can contaminate various types of mediums, such as soil and groundwater, and migrate to other neighboring properties.  Source: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) October 2016.

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