Key Conclusions: Low Threat Case Closure can allow for sales and re-financing of real property. However, the owner must recognize the implications of the closure on future operations and uses.
ERAS has made efficient and effective use of the California regulations that allow for proper low threat case closure of contaminated sites.
Note these closures are granted by regulatory agencies with contamination remaining in the subsurface. These case closures require the preparation of a Site Management Plan (SMP, sometimes called Risk Management Plans) and the recording of a Deed Restriction.
SMP – This is a document that shows the extent and location of remaining contamination and is an operations manual that describes steps to protect occupants and workers at the Property.
The SMP is specific to the site and to the medium that is the environmental issue (soil, groundwater, and vapor). Activities that may be regulated are activities such as the following.
- construction activities such as installation of utility lines where workers could be exposed
- changes in commercial use
- installation of equipment or tenant improvements that could affect the foundation that would cause occupants to be exposed
- construction of new buildings, re-paving or other redevelopment
Deed Restriction – the environmental agency granting case closure will require the recording of a deed restriction for the Property. The deed restriction will reference and include the SMP and will generally restrict the future uses of the Property to non-sensitive commercial uses.
The Property will be restricted from uses including but not limited to, hospitals, schools, children’s day care, and elderly care facilities and residential.
Any changes of use will require possible additional investigation, remediation and/or mitigation of the residual contamination. Note it is possible to use Property for almost any purpose if enough money is spent on remediation and/or mitigation.