If nature wasn’t putting up enough of a fight, it seems we’re also making things a little bit more risky for ourselves. Every property owner should take man-made hazards into consideration when building, expanding, or buying their property.
While man-made hazards are not as common as natural disasters, they can be just as devastating for the lives of those nearby. These include things like explosions and fires that often lead to dangerous chemicals spreading throughout the area.
Man-made hazards can be anything from a leaky pipe to hazardous material disposal. Property owners need to take time and research man-made hazards before they buy their property, because once it’s there – you’re stuck with it.
Let’s Talk About a Few Man-Made Hazards!
Thousands of contaminated sites exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed. These sites include manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills and mining sites. In response to these man-made hazards, Congress established the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) in 1980. CERCLA is commonly referred to as “Superfund” and give the EPA the right to clean up these sites.
Superfund sites are considered the most polluted properties in the US, often requiring years of expensive and time-consuming cleanup. They can contain a variety of different hazardous substances that can cause long-term health effects in both adults and children alike if exposed for extended periods of time.
Property owners should take when buying real estate near Superfund sites, as it is usually not a required disclosure in most states. HazardHub maintains a database of known Superfund sites that tells you the name, address, and distance to the nearest site.
Brownfield Sites are property sites that have been contaminated with hazardous materials and/or pollutants. While not as large as a Superfund site, they still require extensive cleanup before the site can safely be used again. The property may be a vacant lot, an abandoned factory or other industrial sites, or a piece of land where construction has not yet begun.
The EPA estimates there are more than 450,000 brownfields nationwide – the majority concentrated in urban areas like New York City; however even rural communities suffer from these contamination issues.
HazardHub maintains a comprehensive database of all known brownfield locations in the US.
Underground Storage Tanks
Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)are often used on large properties, such as farms and home builders. These tanks are often hidden from view with only a pipe visible above ground to let out any gas that accumulates in the tank once it has reached its full capacity.
The dangers of underground storage tanks are mainly from the contents of the tanks, such as chemicals or gasoline. These substances can contaminate groundwater and soil life when released into them either by leaks in the tank’s lining or through pipe cracks.
HazardHub has created the first national Underground Storage Tank database with more than 2,000,000 tanks across more than 600,000 locations. HazardHub can tell you the nearest known tank, as well as the number of tanks within 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, and 1 mile from any location in the US.
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks
Sometimes, Underground Storage Tanks leak. For these locations, we’ve created our Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) database. The leaks are usually caused by a defect in the tank, such as corrosion or holes drilled through it for installation purposes.
If you own or live near a property with an underground storage tank that is leaking, there is potential liability to your property and offsite water supplies. Property owners may be liable under federal law even when they did not have knowledge of the leak until after it occurred (RCRA).
HazardHub provides the distance to the nearest Leaking Underground Storage Tank, as well as the total number of leaking tanks within 1/4 mile of any location in the US.
Toxic Release Facilities
Toxic Release Facilities are properties that contain and use toxic chemicals as part of their operations. Toxic Release facilities can cause environmental damage because of spills or leaks. They also pose a threat from toxic substances that may leak into groundwater supplies. Toxic release facilities are required by law to maintain certain emergency procedures for releasing hazardous waste materials if something goes wrong during their operation.
HazardHub maintains a national database of Toxic Release Facilities. Our API can tell you how close you are, the chemicals used at the facility, as we as whether those chemicals are carcinogenic.
Nuclear Facility Locations
Nuclear Facility Locations pose a risk to property owners because of their proximity to the property. Nuclear Facilities are on the list of hazardous sites for many reasons, including but not limited to:
The U.S Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management estimates $37 billion in cleanup costs at current decommissioned nuclear facilities around the country and this is just one department!
HazardHub maintains an active database of nuclear facilities, including those that may not be generating power but are still storing spent fuel. We provide a score based upon the distance to the nearest facility.
Premium Tax Zones
Premium Tax Zones are those areas that charge a tax on property insurance premiums. HazardHub maintains a complete and annually update database of Premium Tax Zones for any state, county, or municipality that charges a tax on insurance premiums.
HazardHub is approved as a provider of Kentucky Premium Tax zones.