When performing an Environmental Site Assessment or “all appropriate inquiry” into the past or present uses of a property to determine any environmental impacts considered as recognized environmental conditions (REC), environmental professionals will soon face the challenge of evaluating whether the subject facility or property used or released PFOA and PFOS.
PFAS chemicals are in many industrial and commercial products, and small amounts can leak into the environment or be present in golf course water recirculation systems, for example. Leaks from many products will likely be considered minor and de minimis. Larger releases are more likely at certain industrial facilities, PFAS waste sites, PFAS firefighting foam sites, and possibly some sites where treated sewage sludge was used as fertilizer.
The current understanding of PFAS use and its impacts on human health and the environment is evolving. Its toxicity, environmental behavior, chemical properties, and human exposure to individual PFAS chemicals are still under study. As PFAS knowledge continues to evolve, so will its application to environmental due diligence practices for the commercial real estate industry.
Jeff Marshall and Michael Miller’s article in Development, the NAIOP magazine for commercial real estate, explains where we are now and the potential impact. We know from experience that property remediation is possible. Still, you’ll want to use an ESA and other due diligence studies to narrow down the extent and cost of the remediation and keep your eyes open for pending regulatory policy changes from the EPA.
About the Authors:
Jeffrey D. Marshall, PE, is a vice president and the practice leader for the Environmental Services Practice for SCS in the mid-Atlantic region. He is the SCS national expert for innovative technologies and emerging contaminants. Reach Jeff at .
Michael J. Miller, CHMM, is a vice president and the practice leader for the Environmental Services Practice for SCS in the Central region. He is SCS’s national expert on due diligence. Reach Mike on LinkedIn.