6B — September 27 - October 10, 2019 — Engineers — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal



Steven Kitzke, Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. Top three environmental issues in commercial real estate


nvironmental contami- nation can be one of the costliest liabilities associ-

naturally-occurring radioactive gas that cannot be detected by the human eye but can be pres- ent in any type of building and can penetrate many types of surfaces. Radon exposure over time is extremely dangerous, and can cause lung cancer. Radon sampling is an essen- tial component of real estate transactional due diligence, accounting for 75% of all ra- don tests performed today. Be aware that some states require special licensing or certifica- tions to provide radon services (testing, laboratory analysis, mitigation solutions). Others have strict “chain of custody”

enforcement between sample collection and delivery to cer- tified laboratories. In some states, such as Ohio, radon samplingmust be performed on all ground units in multifamily properties, which can greatly impact cost. 2. Vapor Intrusion Vapor Intrusion occurs when vapors or gases from contami- nated soil or groundwater seep through any cracks or openings in any type of building. Vapor intrusion can come from radon gas, petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents found on sites that were formerly dry cleaners or gas stations, a

range of volatile organic com- pounds, and pesticides. Vapor exposure from these sources is considered extremely harmful to occupant health, and poses risk for business operations and property values. A Phase I Environmental Site Assess- ment is critical for identifying the presence of environmental concerns, which can include Vapor Intrusion Conditions. In some cases, if soil vapor wasn’t investigated as part of the original environmental assessment, property owners might have to perform a more extensive subsurface investiga- tion and laboratory analysis

specifically addressing soil vapor risks, even at previously “closed” sites. 3. Per- and Polyfluoroal- kyl Substances (PFAS) PFAS are a group of chemi- cals used for a wide range of manufacturing applications due to their resistance to heat, water and oil, and inability to biodegrade easily. PFAS is found in consumer products such as non-stick cookware, food takeout containers, stain and water repellents, polishes, waxes, paints, carpeting and furniture, and industrial fire- retardant foams. A growing body of research suggests that PFAS exposure over time may have harmful impact on human health and development. Water contamination from PFAS is an emerging environmental concern because PFAS cannot be removed by standard waste- water treatment methods or most home water filters. The United States Envi- ronmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet established current enforceable standards for acceptable levels of PFAS in drinking water, nor guidance on assessments or remedia- tion for impacted properties. However, in 2016, the EPA released a Drinking Water Health Advisory (HA) of 70 parts-per-trillion (ppt) for PFAS chemicals and has indi- cated a commitment to issuing future enforceable regulations. Some states have begun taking rudimentary steps to address due diligence sampling and cleanup guidance (MA), addi- tional State-wide monitoring (MI), and proposing new envi- ronmental investigation and sampling at 1,000 high-risk facilities (CA). The best way to lower your risk is to engage with quali- fied and informed environ- mental consultants who are knowledgeable about the latest regulatory requirements in your State, who can perform cost-effective, careful environ- mental due diligence assess- ments, and who can guide you through remediation steps and final clearance, should it be necessary. Steven Kitzke is the op- erations director for Part- ner’s technical and busi- ness development services. He brings over 25 years of experience in the engineer- ing consulting industry and a deep knowledge of Feder- al and State regulations. 

ated with a commercial real estate (CRE) asset. Th r e e im- portant en- vironmental concerns to be aware of involve radon

Steven Kitzke

gas, vapor intrusion from soil or groundwater contamination, and the emergence of PFAS contamination. 1. Radon Gas Radon is a colorless, odorless,


Geotechnical Design & AnalyƐŝƐͻnvironmental Site Assessments and

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