In purchasing a piece of property, it is important to be aware of any environmental liabilities associated with it. For example, you should find out if there are any registered underground tanks within several miles of the property, if there are any known contaminated properties in the neighborhood, or if any property owners have been fined by the government for failing to meet environmental safety standards.
Previously, this has been done by a costly site investigation, but now there are online environmental databases available at a fraction of the cost. These databases range in price from about fifty dollars to several hundred, but through them, anyone can access reports on otherwise hard to detect environmental issues. With these databases, it is possible to obtain a listing of hazards near a property, or spills and violations attributed to businesses nearby.
Some of the more well known databases include VISTA Information Systems, located in San Diego, California, which allows you to register and search the data bank for free, and E Data Resources, which is located in Southport, Connecticut. These services are all relatively inexpensive, but can provide you with priceless information before you make a purchase.