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Issues related to purchasing property
Contact information
For information about the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program, contact:
Small Business Hotline
Toll free: 855-889-3021

What to look for when purchasing a property

There are many issues to consider when you are looking at purchasing a property. Depending on the size and scope of the property, you may run into multiple programs within DNR that have rules affecting the property.

It would be a good idea to review the following DNR program requirements before finalizing the property transaction:

  • Most DNR programs have rules that may affect a property, such as invasive species, endangered resources, wetlands (that aren't always 'wet'), agriculture and historical landfills/unapproved waste dumps. Go to DNR's page on property with greenspace for more details on these issues.
  • Water or the potential for water to collect on the property can be regulated by programs that include wetlands, drinking water, storm water and zoning for shorelines/waterways. Visit DNR's page on water-related issues for more information.
  • If you discover new or historic contamination or are concerned about liability for contamination on the property, review the information on DNR’s Environmental Contamination page. Soil, groundwater or other types of environmental contamination on the property that occurred prior to your purchase can affect how you manage or use the property in the future. See DNR's page on issues related to spills and contamination for more details. The property may be subject to a continuing obligation for remaining contamination, for which subsequent property owners are legally responsible. See DNR's page on Residual contamination, regarding continuing obligations for remaining contamination.
  • There may be a few scenarios related to air pollution, such as asbestos contamination of existing buildings and air permits for new operations planned for the property. If you clear land and plan to burn brush or other materials on the property, it is important to know the open burning rules. Go to the air pollution page for more details.

If you are looking to purchase or sell an industrial property with existing buildings and equipment in place, there is more information on how to properly transfer or revoke permits upon sale of the property. Go to the Property transfers page for information on managing the existing permits. Also, there are programs available that could help to limit your liability if you find issues that do not comply with environmental regulations: the DNR's Compliance Audit Program, and USEPA's Audit Policy [exit DNR].

Contact the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program if you have questions on this information.

Last revised: Monday June 20 2016