LandWatch monitors contaminated properties to help ensure conditions for safe reuse, institutional and/or engineering controls, remain met. Effective implementation of these controls protects the public and the environment, satisfies federal and state statutes and limits landowner liability. The system currently protects approximately 600 sites around the U.S. spanning more than 500,000 acres, from corner gas stations to large federal facilities and Superfund sites.
LandWatch plugs into the “electronic trail” of hundreds of land use documents, immediately collecting pertinent information and delivering it to landowners and government as soon as available, in doing so helping to prevent or swiftly stop land actions that would be unsafe and/or trigger liability exposure.
Every day, property is bought and sold, leased, foreclosed and made the subject of bankruptcy. People and companies excavate and grade for new construction, build new offices, parking garages, houses, and pools. Municipalities and utility companies dig to repair or lay utility lines and to fix streets. New daycares become licensed for occupancy, and hospitals, schools, and elder care homes get sited. Land use never stops, and does not need to be halted by lasting contaminants.
As environmental cleanups increasingly rely on institutional controls, or “ICs”, to protect against remaining contamination post-cleanup, the monitoring and enforcing of these ICs has become more important than ever. Stakeholders need to know land use complies with ICs in terms of limits imposed, obligations assumed and risks to avoid. Regulators need to about new land activities to enforce ICs and otherwise assure compliance. To help all parties follow ICs and achieve their goals of human safety and environmental protection while still maximizing possible land use, LandWatch hunts down all pertinent information on land activities and controls and immediately communicates with involved parties.
How Does LandWatch Work?
LandWatch works as an IC file cabinet and smoke alarm, continually sifting and searching through hundreds of sources of land activity and land sales information to find any potential IC conflicts, and alerting relevant stakeholders when found. LandWatch continually self-improves upon its efficiency—a year of continuous IC monitoring typically costs about the same as a one-time site visit.
Site Set-Up and Mapping
Whether for a single site, a national portfolio or state-wide group, Terradex builds web-based maps of “my sites,” each one containing all core IC information, as well as specific details needed for monitoring. LandWatch maps boundaries of ICs (individually, for cases with multiple overlapping ICs, including “soft” ICs), identifies activities of potential concern such as excavations below 10 feet, land sales, zoning changes and more and prepares an “alert list” of who to notify of an alert. New land activity is compared to the crucial IC information compiled in the IC file cabinet.
IC Monitoring & Alerts
Nearly all land activity and sales involve an “electronic trail” that LandWatch continuously monitors. Depending on the IC, the various pieces of “electronic trail” data prove more or less relevant and valuable, leading to a customized monitoring list for each site. As Table 1 summarizes, these “electronic trail” sources divide into (1) Sales and Transaction Monitoring and (2) Activity, Use, and Occupancy Monitoring, [TABLE NEEDS TO ACTUALLY CORRESPOND TO THIS]. With varied sources of information, LandWatch easily adapts to changes in ownership, land use and ICs, providing information that might otherwise slip through the cracks to protect ICs and hence stakeholder interests at critical junctures
Terradex applies its patented LandWatch technology to sift through the “electronic trail” of land use, comparing newly found documents to an IC file cabinet of important information, and, if a conflict appears, sending alerts to a pre-designated list of site stakeholders, including landowners, regulatory agencies and even excavators, if relevant. The alert, delivered by email, SMS and fax, and containing information on site risks and contact information, remains “open” until a pre-designated environmental professional or responsible party “closes” it in LandWatch.
LandWatch serves as a “smoke alarm,” detecting imminent land activities, alerting to any unsafe activities and ultimately preventing the damages to health, the environment or liabilities that accompany the breach of an IC.
Though LandWatch only sends alerts concerning unsafe land usages, the application keeps records of the entire “electronic trail” of land activity at their site, allowing users to view land activityevents, alerts (if any) and the resolution of any alerts. This IC compliance record goes into the site’s file cabinet, and is used to inform or populate compliance reports and IC certifications. For those with site portfolios (or regulators with jurisdiction over many sites), this record also allows for comparison of trends and performance metrics, helping to show, for example, sites with an apparent greater risk of IC conflicts. As a business, Terradex’s IC monitoring is establishing a key role operating between those parties vested in an IC’s success: local government, regulatory agencies, responsible parties and landowners.
LandWatch is efficient and far-reaching, proving especially helpful to parties without daily contact at their site(s) as well as to emerging IC duties that can be perpetual and often underfunded.