Beware of environmental remediation on property adjacent to yours! Spurred by new changes to the state’s environmental remediation laws (SRRA), more and more property owners are facing the dilemma of what to do when an environmental remediation contractor requests access to your property as part of an enviromental remediation project ocurring on an adjacent property. Many of my most recent cases involve dimunition of value to property due to environmental contamination migrating from an adjacent property; and these cases have become more complicated because the property owner did not adequately review or negotiate key aspects of an Access Agreement.
If your neighbor’s property is undergoing environmental remediation, you may be presented with a generic Access Agreement requesting access to your property so that sampling and other field activities can be performed on your property. Many property owners willingly oblige without reviewing the Access Agreement or consulting an attorney regarding the potential risks and benefits. While the adjacent property owner most likely enjoys a statutory right to access your property for such activities, this right is not absolute. Essential aspects of the access must be circumscribed (e.g., notice, time of day, no unduly interruption of current business, insurance, obligation to repair, remediation standards, staging of equipment, stockpiling of soil, access to sampling results and reports, indemnification) in order to protect your property.