Over five years, the State of Michigan took a significant step modifying the laws regarding liability for the clean-up of environmental contamination. The June 5, 1995 amendments to Part 201, Environmental Remediation, and the March 6, 1996 amendments to Part 213, Leaking Underground Storage Tanks, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) allow for certain liability protections to a person or company who becomes the owner or operator of an environmentally contaminated site. Many people are still unaware of the laws, or how to take advantage of them. Some people, even if they are aware of the laws, have fallen victim to liability because they did not follow the proper steps to protect themselves.


There are several facts that everyone should be aware of when looking at a property with known or potential environmental contamination. The purchaser must conduct a BEA. The BEA is a document submitted to the State of Michigan disclosing the presence of environmental contamination at a subject property prior to purchase or possession of the property. There are very stringent time restrictions on when this BEA must be conducted and completed. Numerous buyers have been stuck with environmental liability because they failed to comply with these time restrictions. Also, the site must meet the definition of a “facility” as defined by the regulations. A “facility” is a site with known contamination exceeding the generic residential clean-up criteria. In other words, there must be documentation that there is environmental contamination present at the site. If the contamination is only suspected, samples will need to be collected to verify this. Other requirements deal with the buyers past relationships with the subject property and the proposed use of the property.


There are significant benefits to both the buyer and seller of properties if the proper procedures are implemented. For the seller it is now possible to sell property which only a few years ago was would have likely been abandoned and left to be sold at a tax auction. For the buyer this is an opportunity to buy a piece of property, often at a significant savings over a “clean” piece of property, without taking on environmental liability. DeLisle Associates, LTD can help you determine if you are eligible for a BEA and assist you in obtaining this protection from liability. Talk to us before you buy and we can walk you through the entire process.


DeLisle provides a complete line of environmental assessment services for real estate transfers. The standard Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) begins with the ASTM Standard (E1527-00) and can be expanded to meet a specific client’s needs. We at DeLisle pride ourselves in producing some of the highest quality and most accurate Phase I reports in the industry.


DeLisle Associates LTD Kalamazoo, Michigan 269-373-4500
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