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Environmental Updates
Brownfield Redevelopment in 2009 and Beyond - The Momentum Continues - 4/21/2009

By Robert P. Blauvelt, PG., CHMM
Senior Vice President

Published Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Journal, April 10, 2009

      As the country works its way through the current economic downturn, we are finding that a series of very fortunate events (to steal a phrase from a well-known book series) are taking place.  Brownfields redevelopment is becoming more and more mainstream thanks to a growing market maturity, streamlined regulatory approval processes, and cheaper, more easily implemented cleanup technologies.  This perfect storm (another book reference) of events represents a new way of evaluating and assessing the usefulness of a site; ranging from that old, long inactive corner gas station to the slowly rusting 20-acre chemical plant.

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Probable Costs and Liabilities Using Statistical Models to Estimate Risk - 3/19/2009

By Anthony Kaufman, Senior Associate
Published by Brownfield Insurance March 2009

Environmental contamination and liability concerns affect nearly all commercial and industrial property and business transactions.  High quality and defensible cost estimates are essential for negotiating, deals, settling litigation, tax appeals, modeling investment returns, securing financing and insurance, and complying with regulatory disclosure requirements.  Environmental exposure and liabilities are difficult to determine, and frequently owners, sellers, and investors must develop such estimates based on incomplete data and limited knowledge of site and contaminant conditions.  Even in the absence of complete and detailed data regarding each environmental issue that may be associated with a site or portfolio, there are tools available that offer effective and defensible means of estimating environmental cost and exposures.  

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Know your Potential Environmental Risks Before Marketing your Property - 3/19/2009

Liz Davis, Director, Site Assessment – Remedial Investigatory Services
Pubished by Brownfield Insurance March 2009

Property sale transactions almost always require an investigation to determine if potential environmental issues exist at a property.  However, many owners, manage properties that were purchased before due diligence practices went into effect and may not be aware of the potential environmental issues that can impact a pending sale or the value of them.

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LSRP No Quick Fix - 1/26/2009

By Robert P. Blauvelt, P.G., C.H.M.M.
Senior Vice President
Published in Real Estate New Jersey
January/February 2009

 There has been much hopeful buzz in the NJ-based trade press regarding DEP’s tentative movement towards a Licensed Site Professional (LSP) program.  If enacted, the LSP presumably will have limited, carefully bracketed authority to issue a No Further Action letter/opinion or similar closure “approval” for a site where a release has occurred and has been properly investigated and remediated.  Some percentage of the closure opinions or findings will be audited by DEP and not all sites would qualify for closure by an LSP.  Similar programs are in place in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Ohio (as well as other states) and have been successful in significantly reducing case backlogs and in spurring Brownfield redevelopment.

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Taking Remedial Action - 11/4/2008

By Richard Arnold, P.E., C.P.G.
Director of Engineering & Remedial Action Services
Published November 2008 Real Estate New Jersey Magazine

At the outset of remedial action project, risk management is a key discussion topic. Standard remedial action risks should be discussed, project controls should be agreed upon, and projects should proceed after the needed controls are implemented. But risks to the integrity of existing buildings may not always be included in pre-remedial planning efforts. And there are cases where these risks can be severe.


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Dangerous Chemicals in NJ Classrooms - 9/12/2008

By Craig Gorczyca, CHMM
Director of Operations and Waste Management Services
Published September 2008 Commerce Magazine

Schools typically use and accumulate many different types of chemicals.  The most obvious are science rooms in high schools and colleges.  Chemistry and Biology laboratories are known for having various, and occasionally dangerous, types of toxic chemicals that are used in educational experiments.  Art rooms and vocational skills rooms such as wood and metal shops typically contain substances like solvents and glues that are covered by Community Right-to-Know (CRTK) regulations.  Grammar schools storing innocuous products including paint and adhesive may trigger reporting and labeling obligations under CRTK.  Custodial staff supply rooms, janitorial closets, and boiler rooms also contain various cleaning and maintenance products that need to be managed in accordance with the CRTK regulations. 

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Vapor Intrusion –Property at Risk - 9/5/2008

Vapor intrusion is an increasingly problematic condition for the owners, operators, and prospective buyers of buildings in close proximity to shallow soil and/or ground water contaminated with gasoline, solvents, and other mixtures of toxic volatile chemicals (collectively referred to as VOCs).

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“Going Green” Means More Green for Store Owners and Operators - 8/15/2008

By Michael Logue
“Green building”, “sustainable development”, “carbon friendly”, “carbon footprint”, “environmental accounting” are all terms that have exploded across the trade press and mass media since the UN Environmental Programme’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change unequivocal announcement in 2007 that global warming is occurring, and that it has an anthropogenic (human caused) component.  Regardless of your scientific or political beliefs, the marketplace (customers, clients, and probably very soon, regulatory agencies) is clamoring for ways to demonstrate that the impacts of our most common, every day commercial and retail practices – merchandise displays, parking lot maintenance, lighting – on the world’s highly interconnected climate and associated ecosystem have been considered and minimized.

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A Success Story: NJDEP Cleanup Star Program and New Spin-off - 8/8/2008

By Alfred Moffit, C.P.G.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) began the Cleanup Star Program in February 2004 to expedite environmental investigations and cleanups at low-risk sites, and has succeeded in this program over the past three years.  The Cleanup Star Program allows certified environmental professionals/consultants to investigate and remediate specific qualifying sites and Areas of Concern (AOCs) with limited NJDEP oversight. 

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Site Assessments and Compliance Audits: Knowing the Differences Matters - 7/3/2008
By Robert P. Blauvelt, PE, CHMM
Senior Vice President
Published in Real Estate New Jersey July 2008
The two most commonly used tools in the evaluation (and valuation) of environmental liabilities associated with transactions are the Phase I Site Assessment and the Compliance Audit.  But it is important for those involved in a property or financial transaction to note the differences between each, as well as their respective strengths and shortcomings.  From a regulatory perspective, the Phase I site assessment, if conducted in accordance with the federal requirements of 40 CFR Part 312: the All Appropriate Inquiry or AAI guidelines  can aid in the establishment of a variety of useful and important liability shields such as the innocent landowner defense, the contiguous property owner and the bona fide prospective purchaser exemptions to Superfund liability.  Additionally, AAI equivalent Phase I’s are needed to qualify for most Federal and State Brownfield site characterization and assessment grant programs. ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials) has more conveniently compiled AAI requirements in its E1527-05 Standard.  Environmental Compliance Audits also have some regulatory benefits.  Incentives established under the USEPA’s Audit Policy (Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 70, Tuesday, April 11, 2000, pp 19618-19627) allow for facilities that discover, voluntarily disclose and quickly correct certain non-compliance issues to avoid fines and penalties or have those fines and penalties significantly reduced.
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