Category: LandWatch

Where is the Water Well? The Competing Interests of Homeland Security and Environmental Health

Can you find the location of a water well in on a governmental mapping system? The answer is maybe – and it varies nationwide. A strong tension between the environmental health protection and safeguards for homeland security controls whether you will find that water well.  Environmental health protection invites for more  transparency in water well locations to aid vulnerability assessments from spill sites, while homeland security management invites hiding the well locations for fear that terrorist would know their locations to affect an assault.

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Bob Wenzlau August 18, 2011 0 Comments

ASTM Publishes Continuing Obligations Guide

After years in the making and on the heels of two recent court decisions addressing “appropriate care,” ASTM published E2790-11, the “Standard Guide for Identifying and Complying With Continuing Obligations.”

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Admin July 6, 2011 0 Comments

Panel at Brownfields 2011 to Discuss Emerging Trends of IC Stewardship

A group of institutional control experts and state and local government experts, in a roundtable setting, will describe and compare thoughts about emerging trends in the IC institution, and particularly IC monitoring and stewardship, during an upcoming educational session at Brownfields 2011 – April 4th at 1pm.

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Mike Sowinski March 29, 2011 0 Comments

States and Locals Gather on the Web to Talk ICs

A little over a week ago, Terradex hosted a web meeting on institutional controls (IC) efforts at state and local agencies, with a particular focus on the use of one call and local and state cooperation. About 15 participants from EPA, state agencies, local government, and academia gave 3-minute overviews of their IC stewardship efforts and then I helped facilitate a question and answer discussion.

Not unlike an ASTSWMO report concludes, I thought the discussion showed that states increasingly focus attention towards IC stewardship and I might even say that a shift of sorts has begun – one that’s evolving with the cleanup site pipeline and slowly shifting more and more towards post-cleanup site management. I don’t know of any that have taken “the leap” yet, but some states mentioned the idea of creating a centralized IC or Long Term Stewardship (LTS) program in their state. Having said that, states also report this increased role could strain their resources.

 

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Controls reported that it was drafting an upcoming LTS best practice guide, and for years has managed a comprehensive IC monitoring program to compliment regulatory requirements for its growing list of deed restricted sites. Maryland built an IC mapper with GIS capabilities that help speak directly to local governments by matching site boundaries to real estate parcel numbers. West Virginia joined the West Virginia One Call center, and uses web mapping technologies to screen excavation announcements against sites with environmental covenants.  Missouri is beginning to develop an IC tracking system, with an eye towards community and local use. Virginia recently enacted a UECA statute (which includes the creation of an environmental covenant fund) and is considering a regulatory program to compliment the enactment.

With the evolution of state IC efforts, though I wouldn’t quite call it a trend yet, there is movement in the use of One Call and local and state cooperation. In both West Virginia and California, the state actively monitor excavation activity by connecting into One Call centers, and California even reported cases where excavation notices allowed them to prevent IC breaches with potentially severe consequences. Like California, West Virginia’s newer process showcases the power of web technolgies to efficiently screen excavation “tickets” – in the past, screening of excavation tickets and the issue of overnotification proved burdensome in some states. New York is evaluating the use of One Call.

As California explained (and this is the case in many states) efforts to notify local agencies of ICs has occurred for many years. Efforts in Colorado and New York, the only states where legislative requirements demand local and state cooperation (see, e.g., Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-15-324), move further. Denver explained its successful cooperative agreement with the Colorado DPHE, where the City routinely downloads state-prepaed lists of IC sites and screens permit applications against those sites, notifying the state of permit applications that occur at IC sites. In New York, a more recent law requires a similar type of state and local cooperation. While evolving state procedures help implement the law, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) explained the need for more local awareness.

Jerry Cobb summarized Idaho Panhandle Health District’s IC program for the Bunker Hill Superfund site – a robust program requiring pre-excavation permits, training for persons performing work in the area, reliance on the One Call center for identifying excavation events, and other measures that control and manages deep soil contamination (below about one foot).

EPA summarized its evolving IC tracking efforts, including efforts that improve the ability of communities to locate and learn of IC details, as well as guidance document in the works on IC enforcement and IC implementation planning – a process to identify the roles and responsibilities for IC management before-hand.

Joe Schilling, a professor of land use at the Virginia Tech Metropolitan Institute (and I would add an expert on brownfields, vacant properties, smart growth, and ICs), took note of of the local-state cooperations that are budding in Colorado and New York and opined that national-scale systematic cooperation would only happen if legislation required it, and he thought that national-scale effort or federal intervention would be needed and should occur.

Overall, the attendees seemed to appreciate the discourse, especially given the evolving nature of IC stewardship and the varying (yet largely aligned) efforts across the states. As it does in states already, the Terradex technology provides a powerful tool in the IC management effort and, we believe, plays a part in the overall (and evolving) IC management solutions. We were pleased to organize the small discussion (our first) and are planning more – stay tuned.

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Mike Sowinski August 30, 2010 0 Comments

Taking Stewardship Underwater By Tracking Dredging Activity

Stewardship services apply beyond our shorelines into harbors, waterways and oceans. Beneath the surface of harbors, rivers and channels are contaminated sediments and  unexploded ordnance (UXO).   A common and disruptive offshore activity is dredging, which can unknowingly disturb these materials – often to unfortunate ends.

Dredging is a regulated activity, and thereby produces records that Terradex can track and locate on maps within our LandWatch service.  When a dredging operation is located near a monitored facility, Terradex can alert regulatory or private party clients. The alerted parties can contact the applicant, and identify any issues associated with dredging at the location of concern. The approach offers parties the chance to prevent an unintended encounter with contaminated sediments or UXO.

 

We generate our dredging alert service within Terradex LandWatch by tracking the review and approval of dredging activity by the Army Corps and other agencies. Under either (or both) Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, dredging requires a permit issued by the Army Corps before dredging activities occur in bodies of water or where fill material will be disposed in waters and many types of wetlands. In addition, dredging activities ordinarily trigger other types of regulatory approvals from state resource and environmental agencies and, in many cases, dredging activities are managed by Dredged Material Management Offices – interagency regulatory groups including Army Corp, EPA, and state agencies – who meet about twice a month to consider “episode plans” from those seeking to conduct dredging. These permits and regulatory procedures, if closely watched, can alert interested persons of upcoming dredging.

Most of our dredge monitoring is now being performed in California. For example, Terradex tracks dredging activity across two district offices of the Army Corps South Pacific Division:  the San Francisco District and the Los Angeles District.  Within the San Francisco District we work through the Army Corps Dredged Material Management Office, an interagency office that works with  San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control BoardU.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IXCalifornia State Lands CommissionCalifornia Department of Fish and Game, and the National Marine Fisheries Service. In the Los Angeles District, we work through the Southern California Dredged Material Management Team where similar participating agencies are involved.

Absent from this review process is the Department of Defense, and therefore any formal consideration of the occurerence of underwater UXO.  According to the Corps, the inner agency review focuses toward contaminated sediment occurrence, and the evaluation of the occurrence of UXO is a burden of the applicant. The process Terradex is initiating holds prospect of providing an alert mechanism for submerged UXO.

Terradex clients often want to know about planned dredging. For example, private concerns may wish to know of dredging near environmental release sites, or an environmental regulatory agency might wish to receive an alert.  Given the vastness of regulatory agencies, Terradex even helps transfer alerts between agency branches or between agencies.

We look forward to integrating dredge into other regions.  For any environmental facilities adjacent to or lying within dredging operations, we believe the dredging activity monitoring is a reasonable way to augment stewardship off offshore ecologies.

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Bob Wenzlau August 26, 2010 0 Comments

EPA Cleanup Proposal Relies on Institutional Control Monitoring

A recent EPA cleanup proposal directly recognizes what many have come to accept as a given – cleanups need institutional controls (ICs), monitoring of ICs is a critical component of cleanup remedies, and private sector landwatch services make monitoring effective.

 Recognizing the key role of IC monitoring, EPA’s June 2010 “proposed plan” for a Southern California Superfund site sets forth a preferred cleanup alternative for soil contamination at a 280-acre commercial/industrial tract.  The soil cleanup, engineering control, and IC strategy relies on long term monitoring of institutional controls, stating  “institutional controls, caps, and building engineering controls would be monitored in perpetuity to ensure effectiveness.”

 

EPA’s proposed plan covers shallow and deep soil at the Del Amo Superfund Site, near Los Angeles California. Organic contaminants, such as benzene (among others) lie beneath this commercial/industrial business park, which spans 67 separate parcels and 280 acres of largely paved and built-out areas.  The risk assessment showed elevated risks to commercial workers, construction workers and future residents (if the area were to be redeveloped).   EPA selected a preferred alternative (subject to public comment) that would partially clean the soil with vapor extraction and chemical oxidation technologies (2) apply “engineering controls” at certain buildings to prevent chemical vapor intrusion, and (3) cap areas of the site which weren’t already paved or covered by buildings.

The plan also sets forth a comprehensive IC regime.  It requires each of the parcels to record restrictive covenants designed to prevent inappropriate future land uses, and to prevent exposure to soil and/or groundwater contamination.  The ICs also establish an EPA review of land use permit applications, designed to prevent or condition future uses and to collect additional site data (as necessary) prior to any new development.  Finally, the ICs require current commercial/industrial zoning restrictions to remain flagged in the land use planning document (the “general plan”) so future planning efforts are aware of site restrictions.

 

The proposed plan recognized that establishing an IC regime isn’t enough – it must be monitored.  “Institutional controls, caps, and building engineering controls would be monitored in perpetuity to ensure effectiveness” the plan explains.  The feasibiilty study (available here) provides the basis of the proposed plan and explains “[m]onitoring of any IC tools selected in the ROD is an important component of remedy implementation.”  The study continues by recognizing that private sector landwatch services “monitor and report   … notices of plans to perform excavation or grading activities, records of applications for building or excavation permits, real estate marketing or transfer or ownership records, and applications filed for changes in zoning designation.”    For example, the report continues, landwatch services “identify planned excavation activities before they occur … ”

Terradex LandWatch monitors hundreds of thousands of acres of contaminated properties in states across the country, including the Del Amo site, in precisely the way that the EPA remedy recognizes as being critical.  Terradex LandWatch reviews land activity as frequently as daily and as future blog posts will explain, we see land activities occurring all the time that could threaten ICs, leaving us certain (as has been concluded by the proposed remedy described in this post and separately by ASTSWMO), IC monitoring is a critical component of cleanup remedies.

For more information on the Del Amo proposed plan, see EPA’s Proposed Plan.

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Mike Sowinski August 18, 2010 0 Comments

Protecting 6,000,000 Children In Daycare From Toxic Hazards of Cleanup Sites

Mix 400,000 daycares with 550,000 cleanup sites nationwide, and the vision takes shape for a national daycare screening service to vigilantly protect 6,000,000 children  from inadvertent exposure to toxics.  This effort started after 2006 on the failings at Kiddie Kollege, where children attending daycare were exposed to high mercury levels. The childcare facility occupied the same building that ten years earlier had been a thermometer assembly factory.  The site’s environmental problems were known to environmental agencies but were lost in the site investigation backlog. Progress at the state-level, coupled with work by the  United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), provides the basis of a national daycare screening service. This post to The Monitor describes the progress made in New Jersey, as well as different approaches taken in California and New York toward an efficient state-wide daycare screening service. Terradex has been a technology provider introducing DaycareWatch as a state screening tool.

This post draws upon a presentation by Terradex to the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) at their State Superfund Managers Symposium held on August 10 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Terradex plans a web conference on September 28, 2010 (tentative) to overview various state and federal approaches to daycare safety – we invite your participation and interest using the signup link.

 

New Jersey Learns The Lessons from Kiddie Kollege

In 2006, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) learned that children and their teachers at Kiddie Kollege had been occupying the Former Accutherm, Inc. site. The site had become lost in a cleanup backlog, and daycare activity had begun unbeknownst to NJDEP. Thus began the examination of multiple institutional failures that led NJDEP and the New Jersey legislature to establish a comprehensive multi-agency program to prevent the occurrence of another Kiddie Kollege in New Jersey.   In her presentation to ASTSWMO, Ms. Diane Pupa, on behalf of NJDEP, shared lessons learned and described a multi-layered program to find other “Kiddie Kolleges” and prevent repeat occurrences in New Jersey.

Ms. Pupa identified multiple opportunities to have detected the unsafe conditions:  the problem was hampered by lack of communication between agencies, lack of due diligence by the buyer,  map location errors, misunderstanding of regulatory documents, and more. At hundreds of thousands of daycares in the United States, the unfortunate pattern of events appears replicable without a systematic national approach. A 2006 article from L. Schnapf Environmental Journal, cataloging the incidents and roles of parties around the Kiddie Kollege, still reminds one of how repeatable the Kiddie Kollege scenario might be.

The New Jersey program appears an effective model for protecting daycare from toxics at cleanup sites, and was propelled by  legislative and a staffing commitment. The NJDEP Child Care – Education Facility Unit has a staff of 15 dedicated to daycare review, and NJDEP now approves all daycare centers before the Department of Children and Families Office of Licensing issues a license to operate.

Quantifying Daycare and Cleanup Sites in the United States

Nationwide there are approximately 100,000 daycare centers and 300,000 child care homes (a 2004 estimate by the House Ways and Means “Green Book”).  Combined, these facilities serve approximately 6,000,000 children aged five years or younger.  The average daycare facility turns over once every five years – across the country perhaps 80,000 new daycares are started each year. The turn-over necessitates that a program must review not only the current inventory of daycare, but also track new daycares coming into operation.

There are at least 550,000 cleanup sites. While the sites are slated for cleanup, approximately 40% of the 550,000 lay somewhere in the cleanup pipeline: awaiting investigation, under investigation, or being remediated. Adding further complexity to the cleanup process, the sites are tracked within a is the multitude of disconnected government databases.  Terradex’s has built its catalog of 550,000 cleanup sites from 110 databases from 3 federal agencies and 45 states. With an additional five states to complete, the number of cleanup sites will grow.  (These estimates are based on work Terradex has performed for USEPA building the Cleanup Site Map Service (CSMS) – a system still under review by USEPA. The CSMS is a web-based map service that displays basic location, site status, and use limitations on a common map platform. )

Efforts to Prevent Daycares Operating Near a Cleanup Site

The likelihood of co-located daycare at a remediation site is rare, but too high for affected families and involved jurisdictional agencies.  NJDEP’s efforts have resulted in 3,777 preliminary assessment of daycares, showing that 33 daycares (about 1%) have potential contamination exposure.  The common contaminants occurring at daycares were poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)leadasbestos, pesticides and PCBs.  Vapor intrusion of contaminants is another significant exposure pathway.  Indoor air screening 2,851 centers lead to 507 centers being sampled for two classes of common contaminants: those derived from chemical products used at the daycare and those derived from nearby toxic sites. The airborne toxics derived from within the daycare include 1,4 DCBmethylene chloride and formaldehyde. The contaminants that volatilized from toxic sites included benzenetolueneperchloroethylene and trichloroethylene – contaminants typical of gas stations and dry cleaners.  Ultimately, 6 centers (0.2%) were closed due to indoor air quality issues, and 275 centers (10%) remain on continued air monitoring.

A limited proximity analysis of New York’s 18,000 daycare facilities to 2,200 New York remediation sites revealed less than 0.5% were located at or within 100 feet of a remediation site, and 2.7% fell within 100 to 500 feet of a remediation site.  Proximity is a key risk factor, but other considerations such as the extent of cleanup, the type of contamination, and migration pathways further refine whether a particular daycare is at risk.

State childcare licensing agencies provide numerous reviews for the safety of children in daycare.  Why wouldn’t state licensing agencies provide the review for proximity to cleanup sites? As environmental scientists, we know that the chemistry of contaminated sites is complex and the environmental regulatory filings are also complex.  It is reasonable to anticipate that the multiple state and local agencies that license and approve daycare facilities would not have the capacity to make judgments of environmental safety – that judgment is made in New Jersey by the Department of Environmental Protection, not the Children and Families Office of Licensing. Nationally, the judgment of safety would likely be left to an environmental professional or the applicable environmental oversight agency.

New York and California Daycare Screening Approaches

The states of New York and California are utilizing a method to continuously obtain daycare licenses from the issuing agencies, and then compare daycare locations to cleanup site locations. If a targeted at-risk daycare is found, an alert is issued to the environmental agency to facilitate resolving any of the at-risk situations at the flagged daycare.

This continuous locational screening approach captures at least two essential elements – discovering potentially at-risk daycare, and then efficiently managing the alert across the environmental agency and ultimately to the affected daycare.  This approach presumes that the state environmental agency would provide notice to its state daycare licensing division or licensed daycare operator.  The states of New York and California retain Terradex to screen daycare locations, and these efforts provide the basis of the summary of the progress of the DaycareWatch service.

New York State Experience. Within New York state, daycare is regulated by two agencies: the New York Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) and the New York City Bureau of Child Care.  Cleanup sites are overseen by New York Department of Environmental Conservation, and are broadly cataloged into three environmental databases: petroleum, remediation, and bulk storage. Terradex’s current DaycareWatch scope monitors a subset of this data: the remediation database and the OCFS childcare database. The effort is likely to expand soon to include the petroleum sites and the Bureau of Child Care licenses.

The DaycareWatch service has been active since April 2010. The procedures followed under DaycareWatch include: 1) monthly review of new daycare licenses, 2) monthly updates of the remediation site lists, 3) preparation of monthly lists of new daycares within 250 feet of a remediation site, and 4) maintenance of web mapping service (at right) which permits the searching by address or remediation site for tabulations of nearby daycares.  When at-risk daycares are discovered, the NYSDEC program manager alerts the assigned NYSDEC project manager of the specific circumstance.

California State Experience: Within California, daycare (and senior centers) are licensed by the California Community Care Licensing Division (CCCLD).  Cleanup sites at the state level are overseen by California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) (via Envirostor), the State Water Resources Control Board (via Geotracker), and the Integrated Waste Management Board (via Solid Waste Information System).  Additional catalogs of environmental site restrictions are maintained at the local level (e.g. institutional controls are cataloged by County of San Diego).

Since 2007 Terradex has provided DTSC with LandWatch service  to monitor numerous sensitive land activity data across its portfolio of 377 sites that carry land use restrictions.  Among the data sources monitored are the licenses issued weekly by the CCCLD.  LandWatch offers geospatial screening similar to DaycareWatch, but also introduces an alert management process.  This process transmits summary information showing the environmental site and the sensitive use to the DTSC project manager.  The LandWatch alert system then facilitates logging the interchange between Terradex and the DTSC staff as the alert is judged and ultimately closed.  Closing the alert can reflect either that the stakeholder was alerted to the situation, or that the project manager judged after review that there was no risk. A key attribute of LandWatch is that the closure of the alert is tracked in order to make sure that the situation is not overlooked within all the other duties of the project manager.

Toward a National System for Daycare Safety

What is the prospect to construct a national-scale daycare screening and alert process? This section presents progress toward getting the cleanup sites and daycare data to feed a national screening system, and the organizational processes to serve the solution across fifty states. Terradex has worked several years with USEPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) and USEPA’s Office of Site Remediation Enforcement to build a national database to help local government and the public make informed land use decisions.  The CSMS project with USEPA provides an optimal platform within which to introduce a national DaycareWatch service: the service has already catalogued datasets from 45 states and 3 federal agencies.  Furthermore, the project has been constructed in collaboration with ASTSWMO, an organization embodying state and federal cooperation environmental waste management.

The CSMS maintains a structure whereby states can have their environmental datasets automatically updated into the CSMS national map service.  The CSMS collects the data either by automatic spidering of databases or through uploads accomplished by the state agency. The CSMS severs environmental site information as a simple web service that provides point and polygon locations of environmental sites — this data would be bye basis from which to compare the locations of daycare facilities.  The CSMS platform could be augmented to also collect  the records for new daycares facilities. As with the environmental data, daycare records  can be obtained by either crawling the state agency websites or through the upload of the equivalent datasets through the CSMS infrastructure.  Additional daycare records can be obtained from commercial datasources that aggregate new daycare centers for listing services.   The commercial datasource anticipates providing 1,200 new daycare records per month and can provide an initial catalog of existing daycare providers.  The commercial datasources would be supplemented overtime with state and local licensing sources.  Herein lies the basis for a database of environmental sites and daycare from which to feed the DaycareWatch screening.

The CSMS combined with Terradex’s LandWatch provide a basis to generate reports and alerts of at-risk daycares.  Each state and federal agency is controls which users would receive reports, and conducts the upload of cleanup and daycare datasets.   As a web service, the DaycareWatch would be able to  track these notices, and help the state maintain that the alerts of nearby daycare are received and resolved.  The labor burden on a state should be modest as projections anticipate 500 alerts per year nationwide. Averaged across 50 states,  any state agency would likely receive a manageable 10 alerts per year.

A Look Forward

This post has developed the prospect of a national screening system for daycare sites.  Terradex, as a technology service provider knowledgable in institutional controls, is pleased to be contributing to the effort.  The screening approach embodied in DaycareWatch will require further development and interest on behalf of USEPA, ASTSWMO, and state environmental agencies.  Over time, state childcare licensing departments could be integrated into the service, and their understanding of how to manage the unlikely but important risks posed by toxic sites will grow. The CSMS platform has already worked to provide uniform and intuitive statements of cleanup status so that non-environmental professionals can be better informed, and thus take the proper precautions.

Daycare screening can serve another relevant purpose for environmental agencies:  helping assure that low-priority cleanup sites do not get hidden in an investigation or cleanup backlog when new sensitive uses like daycare emerge nearby. DaycareWatch could help re-prioritize cleanup lists based on real time development of daycare use (or other sensitive uses). In hindsight, such an approach might have guided NJDEP early on to re-prioritize their known contaminated sites list and push the Accutherm site to clean-up long-before Kiddie Kollege’s occupancy.

Any national screening  will need to confront challenges in data quality, lack of locations of cleanup sites and daycares, and find budget to support the effort. Furthermore, documenting that a daycare is protected is never as news worthy as the daycare that tragically becomes impacted.  Still the progress made in New Jersey, as well as California, New York and likely other states is to be celebrated.

Terradex looks forward to furthering and perfecting the DaycareWatch platform’s development. We hope further development will occur during the discussion in the September webinar. Please consider participating by registering.

Feedback to this post. A state official supportive of this effort suggested that we incorporate monitoring any facility where children are present – school sites, churches, youth centers and parks.  The naming should be expanded to encompass this broader service. A article in the The County Gloucester Times looks back at Kiddie Kollege four years later.

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Bob Wenzlau August 12, 2010 0 Comments

Helping West Virginia Screen One Call Excavation Tickets at Cleanup Sites

In both a progressive and unique move, the West Virginia DEP joined the state’s call-before-you dig, or “One Call” center to help screen for improper excavations at about 100 of the state’s environmental covenant sites.   The process requires a daily review of excavation tickets at or near these site which, in turn, allows DEP to alert excavators prior to contact with the area controlled by the covenant: engineered controls are protected, excavators avoid impact with hazardous substances, and residuals are not improperly disposed.

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Admin July 21, 2010 0 Comments

Terradex Wins Patent “Method and Apparatus For Monitoring and Responding to Land Use Activities”

Seven years ago, we created a new methodology for increasing the effectiveness of institutional controls, and as of June 29, 2010 this innovation is protected by a patent.

So what led to the patent?  Failed approaches led to a new idea.  We knew a duty existed to monitor safe use of contaminated sites, but whose duty is it? First, we tried providing institutional control (IC) tools to the city for their implementation. We were inspired by the approach taken by the City of Emeryville, and thought to leverage that method to other cities.  The Emeryville  web database describes institutional controls that could be viewed by planners.  However, after numerous visits to other local governments, we learned the hard way that most cities had other higher priorities. Except for cities dominated by brownfields, cities could not afford the time to track ICs. Ultimately, a venture capitalist challenged Terradex to take control of the process of making ICs effective. Any business must control its value proposition.  This challenge sparked the innovation of Terradex’s LandWatch.

Returning to the the venture capitalist, we presented a methodology of a changed Terradex.  Now Terradex, instead of  relying on local government, took control of the land activity review process. Terradex controlled its value proposition. This challenge lead toward the patented innovation inherent to LandWatch, a methodology to monitor and respond to land activities.  As it turned out, we ended up moving forward without the venture capitalist.

In the development of a methodology where we controlled the process, we observed that numerous other land activities beyond local permitting and planning could be reviewed.  Around 2004, the Internet was just beginning to make visible numerous permit sources including excavation, real estate, building permits, and sensitive use (day care, hospitals, etc.).  We saw this as a powerful new methodology, and sought to apply it to institutional control implementation.  We also sought to protect the intellectual property we developed as we began to introduce it to clients.

Early clients like Chevron and BP appreciated the power of the innovation, and helped sponsor the development of the application.  Today Terradex monitors hundreds of facilities across nearly 600,000 acres. We look forward to applying the protection the patent offers as we extend the methodology to more facilities across the country.

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Bob Wenzlau July 9, 2010 0 Comments

Becoming Familiar with Terradex’s Real Estate Monitoring

Terradex can monitor numerous transactional real estate data sources permitting the detection of problematic real estate scenarios at tracked properties.  The sources include monitoring new residential and commercial listings, new sold properties, pre-foreclosure actions, foreclosure actions, tax liens, bankruptcies, new easements and new occupants. Thorough real estate monitoring is critical when the responsible party no longer owns the land, and tracking ownership and the owner’s financial health are duties to help assure the integrity of institutional controls.

Terradex alerts metatrader 4 upon key changes including a listing of a property, ownership change, financial duress, or placement of new liens or easements.  The expanded real estate monitoring services were inspired at a California site monitored by Terradex – in this case the then owner entered bankruptcy, the property foreclosed, and the convenants agreed to by the then current property owner were vanquished.  This suite of real estate sources raises the reliability of institutional controls monitored by Terradex.

 

  • Listing Services – search by address match, this information provides indication of a sale (or a new tenant). The information is derived from commercial listing services and reviewed daily. Various commercial aggregators of real estate information provide the data set that Terradex monitors daily.
    • Residential For Sale– Search criteria maintained in MLS residential listings
    • Residential For Rent – Search criteria maintained in residential listings
    • For Sale By Owner – Listings filed on websites listing for sale by owner
    • Commercial For Sale – Search criteria maintained in two commercial listings
    • Commercial For Lease – Search criteria maintained in two commercial listings
  • Economically Distressed Properties – searched by address match at weekly basis, this information provides indication of a pending sale.
    • Pre-foreclosures – such as Notice of Defaults and Notices of Sale typically alerting of potential foreclosure about 4 months prior to foreclosure sale (derived from county recorder offices; commercial aggregators)
    • Bankruptcies – property listed as asset in bankruptcy filing – dervied from court records; commercial aggregators
    • Tax Liens – government taxing agency may sell property to collect taxes owed (derived from commercial aggregators; county recorder records, other sources)
    • Trustee/Sheriff Auction – this is a judicial foreclosure event and occurs within one year of notice of default (commercial data aggregators; newspapers)
  • Change of Ownership – The information is derived from the County Tax Assessors and/or commercial aggregaters. This identifies principal owners changes, but may not identify a change in members of a partnership.
    • Change in Tax Records – After close of escrow and filings with the county recorder, new owners are recorded into the county assessor office. (avail from commercial data aggregators; county tax assessor)
    • Foreclosures – property title has transferred to lender through private (non judicial) foreclosure (avail. from commercial data aggregators; county recorder offices). The nonjudicial foreclosure occurs typically within 4-6 months of the default.

Reporting Procedure for Real Estate Events

A real estate event (listing, economic distress or sold) would be reported as an email to the contact associated with a particular property. The alert would contain the information about the property transaction and the associated site monitored. The alert would then be tracked by Terradex to make sure that the information was received. During the process you (the client) may ask clarifying questions, and we can see if our data providers have further information.

When is the Alert Issued?

The alert is issued daily. The trigger is the real estate event at the property (or zone monitored). There is latency between the the real estate event and when the knowledge of that activity is detected by Terradex. For example, a county may be slow at maintain the filings that we search, and the county’s speed is beyond our control.

When is a Property Listed for Sale?

This is at the discretion of the owner, broker or government agency. We rely on the Internet for these listings, and our sources anticipate residential or commercial MLS, or a listing in FSBO web wervices. When sold by a government agency, the filings or newspaper advertisements control the timing of the listing.

After A Sale, What Could Terradex Do?

Preliminary title review could be conducted to produce documents. Some clients ask Terradex to conduct a preliminary title review and produce documents that their counsel could review to determine if environmental easements are still in force. Upon request, Terradex can produce these documents.

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Bob Wenzlau June 28, 2010 0 Comments
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