As towns expand, it's common that old industrial sites get considered for residential redevelopment. When redevelopment is being considered for an industrial site, it's important to ensure that the land is suitable for living. Here are some aspects that need to be considered when looking at a potential redevelopment.
Is the land contaminated?
There can be a range of contamination sources directly in the soil, including heavy metals and high levels of pesticides and poisons from previous use, which are often not visible. These contaminants can create poisonous dust as well as create a hazard for anyone who accidentally consumes the dirt or any food grown from the soil. The environmental assessment will measure these levels of potential contaminants, and if some contamination is found, the assessors can perform depth measurements to determine the extent of the land contamination. This can help you see whether the land is suitable for housing or other potential uses.
Is the water table contaminated?
The water table exists much lower below the ground and extends across many properties in most cases. It is important to see if the water table is contaminated as this can affect any 'bore' water pulled up from the water table for watering yards as well as potentially contaminating plants that are grown in the area. As the contamination extends beyond a single location, it can be an issue for residential property that surrounds previous industrial sites, even if there has not been any industrial contamination directly on the site that is being considered for development.
Can a development improve the land?
In some cases, even if a property currently has a contamination problem, it's possible that the potential development is a great way to deal with the issue. This can include removing some of the topsoil and replacing with clean fill or placing concrete slabs over some space to contain the dust. Environmental assessments can help developers to formulate a plan for how to develop the land in a way that improves the space, whether as a residential development or in another form.
If you have an old unused site in an industrial area which you are contemplating getting rezoned for residential development, it is a good idea to get an environmental assessment early in the process. This can help you to identify the best ways to develop and improve the land you own to maximise its overall value.