Ground Contamination: a Problem not to be Ignored

Ground Contamination: a Problem not to be Ignored

October 9, 2018

Categorised in: Uncategorized

Definition:

Ground is considered contaminated when there are substances, including pollutants that are a risk to humans or the environment.

Ground contaminants found on a residential property can come from a variety of sources. These may include fire ashes that were buried on the site, coal deposits from back when houses were heated with coal, fuel oil (also known as heating oil), residual materials from former quarries that were used as landfills, or industrial waste from former foundries that produced backfill for roads or residential lots.

According to the Business Development Bank of Canada, “these materials are dangerous because they can seep into the soil, groundwater, or other buildings; cause fires, explosions, and unpleasant odors; be harmful to human life or the environment; or, in extreme cases, cause the soil to lose its ability to retain water or recycle nutrients.”

How to protect yourself         

The first step is to work with a broker who knows the area and its history well and who will be upfront about disclosing contamination risks. Your real estate broker can help you view and interpret interactive maps showing where contaminated sites are located.

It’s also a good idea to contact the local or provincial government to find out more about your lot’s history.

Lastly, your broker can refer you to an environmental assessment specialist. This type of assessment is now routinely required by financial institutions and should be recommended for anyone who owns an older home.

How do you know when cleanup is required?

If the buyer or seller discovers contamination, several questions need to be asked:

-Who is responsible for cleanup? Is the contamination a latent defect?

-Is there a potential risk of future liability? For example, contamination of a neighbor’s lot or liability for a latent defect.

-How might contamination affect the property value?

-Is the cleanup cost worth it? Are the environmental and health risks or the risk of a drop in the home’s value so great that cleanup is a must?

-After cleanup, will the property be fit for purpose as planned?

Once you’ve considered each of these questions, you’ll be fully informed and ready to decide what to do about your contamination issue.



Eco constructions Green Building

Green building: The way of the future?

The environment is center stage these days. Is it time for a new, more sustainable way of building? The idea isn’t new, but interest among buyers and developers is ramping up. What is green building? And how is this trend revolutionizing how we build? Here are some answers. What it means to be green Green… View Article

Four Tips for Securing Your House during the Holidays

If you plan on being away over the holidays, we’ve got some helpful advice for securing your house so you can leave care‑free. Lock up your house Make sure all windows and doors are locked. Draw your curtains and close your blinds so objects on the ground floor aren’t visible from the street. If you… View Article

reserve-funds

Reserve Funds: Clues You Can Use in Your Condo Buying Decision

Before you even start negotiating with a seller, it’s wise to take a look at the condo’s financial statements. For reassurance that the property is being managed well, buyers need to know how much of a reserve fund is set aside for major repairs. Be sure to pay close attention to upcoming work, debt, and… View Article