What do I have to do if my property is contaminated?

A person shall evaluate their property uses, determine if people may be exposed to the contamination in soil, groundwater or vapor, and take the actions necessary to prevent unacceptable exposures; and comply with the other Section 20107a and 21304c obligations. An Environment Professional can also assist in this evaluation. They may be listed in the phone book or on the internet under Environmental Engineers, Environmental Consultants, Soil or Groundwater Testing, etc. You may also consult with your financial institution, realtor, lawyer, or professional association for recommendations.

Determining what actions a property owner or operator needs to take is dependent upon the property use and the type of exposures that may occur. For example:

  • An owner that operates irrigation wells should consider whether they are exacerbating the contamination by irrigating with contaminated groundwater.
  • An owner of a vacant lot with no buildings would not need to consider exposures to people from drinking contaminated groundwater or vapors accumulating inside buildings, but would need to consider exposures to contaminated soils on the surface.
  • An owner of a building with a drinking water well would need to consider exposures from drinking or washing in contaminated groundwater.