Foreclosure. The most critical time to understand environmental liabilities.

When banks or buyers take ownership of real estate, they also take ownership of historic environmental liabilities.

Based on the 1980 federal EPA CERCLA legislation, property operators and owners are responsible for environmental liabilities for current operations, historic operations, and into the future (cradle to grave commitment). Therefore, before taking title to real estate, sophisticated prospective owners complete environmental due diligence to determine if there are known or potential environmental liabilities including:

  • leaking underground storage tanks
  • historic manufacturing
  • automotive care with floor drains and septic systems
  • dry cleaners

Bell Oldow guides potential property owners to the correct type of due diligence that allows for informed business decisions. Since there are multiple due diligence options and no one-size fits all approach, it is important to have experienced, business-minded scientists lead your due diligence efforts. Based on the deal structure and desired outcome of each transaction, Bell Oldow completes or facilitates the appropriate due diligence.

The due diligence process generally starts with an email or phone conversation highlighting the deal structure.  Preliminary review of the real estate and likely property use leads to appropriate due diligence and the generation of a business-friendly document free of scientific jargon and full of valuable information like:

  • an overview of environmental issues
  • cost-to-cure
  • time-to-cure
  • options for how and when to proceed

Having such information helps potential real estate owners choose whether they should consider taking ownership, negotiate for a discount based on the liability, or abandon the deal due to the high costs associated with the risk.

Either way, Bell Oldow can help with choosing the right due diligence, seeing that it is completed thoroughly, and then interpreting the outcome in an easy-to-read format.