What is the risk in buying a contaminated auto repair facility?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What is the risk in buying a contaminated auto repair facility?

We found small amounts of PAH’s in one groundwater sample at a diesel engine repair facility that I am trying to buy. The seller will finance it, but I don’t want to buy a big headache. It seems to me that this must be a common occurrence. I have read that the contaminants will dissipate naturally over time. Is this a big deal? Should I walk away?

Asked on July 3, 2011 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should consul with an environmental law attorney, since 1) environmental regulation is a complex area, and you need advice from an expert; 2) the specific facts--the exact amount an extent of contaminants, etc., needs to be carefully evaluated for this situation; and 3) if the transaction is not worth hiring an attorney to help you with, then you should walk away anyway--it's not woth incurring the risk of liability for something it's not worth spending some money on a lawyer for.

All that said, and while you do need an attorney to review the specifics of your situation, you should be *very* careful here. If these contaminants need to be cleaned up--and it's not a function of whether "over time" they will disappate; it's whether they are of a type and level that now, under the law, requires remedial action--it is the current owner of the property who has to pay for the clean-up. He or she may in turn be able to sue a prior owner for compensation, but first will need to him- or herself pay clean up costs that can easily be tens or hundres of thousands of dollars. You want to understand the potential risk and exposure before putting yourself in that position.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption