Enviro Check

Among those stacks of disclosures buyers receive,and try to digest, when they purchase a home is something often referred to as the Enviro Check. Essentially it’s a list of kind of scary sounding issues that could,and do, present themselves in almost all of the communities that exist around here. There’s a requirement that a seller purchases a disclosure product that’s sold by one of several vendors that disclosure this kind of pertinent info. Disclosure Source and JCP Geologists are a few of these providers.

These providers disclose a variety of things on their basic report, which I think I’ll discuss a bit later. Right now I’m interested in the environmental report, also known as the Enviro Check. In it, you’ll find stuff like whether or not the property in in close proximity to 1, 2 or 56 leaking underground storage tanks, whether it’s near or on top of a EPA National Priority Site (Superfund Site) and areas highlighted for treatment of treatment, storage and disposal of other types of hazardous waste.

In Foster City, it’s really pretty unusual to find big problems on these reports. Occasionally, there will be a report of FC’s dry cleaners small issues with cleanup and sometimes you’ll see a map showing our proximity to a landfill. The disclosures here are really nothing though, compared to lots of other Bay Area towns. Once upon a time I sold a condo in Sunnyvale. The JCP report showed 72 separate instances of toxins that could have posed a potential danger. Leaking underground storage tanks, undisposed waste, toxic plumes in the ground water…stuff like that. I freaked! I couldn’t believe it and I also couldn’t believe that people were routinely buying homes around there and acting like it was all no big deal. I called the county geologist and the staff geologist from JCP…they both told me the same thing. Don’t worry about it…it’s no big deal. OK, but I’m still not too hip to buy a place in Sunnyvale since then.

I showed a house in Palo Alto recently and picked up the disclosures. The palce was a couple of blocks from Hewlett Packard’s HQ on Page Mill. There’s a “Superfund” site there (maybe 2 of them actually?). There were also a bunch of toxic issues from gas stations and dry cleaners. The house sold with multiple offers! When these folks have a spill I assume they get cleaned up? Maybe the EPA just never takes them off of their lists? Often, I’ll drive by a site that shows a leaking underground tank at a Shell Station someplace…and find and In and Out Burger or something like that. Is the tank gone? Who knows!

At the end of the day I guess I think that the world’s a dangerous place! I’m not sure what to do, but I’m glad Foster City (and a few other towns around here too) show up so well on these reports!

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