On my real estate website www.sunnyland.com, I posted this information. I hope you find it useful:
Here at www.sunnyland.com, we have tried our hardest to provide only the best quality land for you to purchase. But whether you buy your land from us or from another source, we cannot stress how important it is that you do your due diligence. Other than verifying the size and location of the property, you might also come across one of several red flags (including hidden liens and a cloud on the title). You might even discover that the land has been threatened by environmentally hazardous conditions. Let’s discuss a few of the environmental hazards that you should watch out for:
Oil change shop: If the parcel you are looking at is next to or was once used as a mechanic’s garage or oil change shop, it is highly likely that the ground has been contaminated with used motor oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and other chemicals used to repair and maintain vehicles. This can especially be the case if the shop was in use before stringent anti-pollution laws were passed.
Gas station: If the parcel was ever used as a gas station, or one was placed nearby, then it is possible that buried gas tanks may have leaked and contaminated the soil.
Dump – In some parts of the world, once a landfill is complete the land above is sold to developers who build subdivisions of land. While there is generally a large amount of topsoil placed over the garbage – and ideally no hazardous materials were placed in the landfill – it is possible that the parcel may suffer from some sort of contamination in the future.
Power plant – Any sort of power plant (whether hydroelectric, coal, or nuclear) has the potential to leak contamination into surrounding areas. Even if a power plant is no longer in use, in the past it may have done lots of damage to the surrounding area.
If you suspect that a parcel may have been affected by one of these dangers, do some investigation. A good place to start is the US Environmental Protection Agency and their “My Environment” tool. This tool lets you enter in the zip code of the land you are researching and find out the conditions in the area.