Home__________ Where is Your Environmental Report?

Did it's Author Dissappear to the Four Winds?
Has An IPO or Merger Mania Moved Them Out of State?

I’ve received two phone calls today requesting that work be performed on sites that have already been studied and whose reports have been lost. Furthermore, the companies that had performed these studies no longer existed and the professional who had signed the report was nowhere to be found. This is not an uncommon situation. A quick review of the roles of the registered geologists in the state of California reveals that roughly 50 percent of them live out of state. What does this mean?

What this suggests to me is that the mergers that occurred in the mid eighties have moved a lot of the local expertise out of state. Most of the acquisitions that occurred during this time involved larger engineering firms out of the Midwestern and Eastern United States buying up the smaller consulting firms in California. When times got tough in California in the mid nineties, these firms naturally consolidated around their home base, which was generally not in California. The better people (the registered ones) were asked to relocate and, because there was no local work, they were glad to do so. All of their reports and records went with them.

Now the situation has evolved where there are a number of real estate transactions occurring on properties where these consulting firms performed work. Naturally, the original reports have been misplaced and, because they were performed for an original real estate transaction, were never submitted to the regulatory agencies and are not a part of the public record. The companies have disappeared and the bank that is financing the loan on the property wants a fresh report. Either the prior consultant must be found to review and update his/her report, which is usually relatively inexpensive, or a new report must be prepared.


The simplest solution to this problem is that the landowner should maintain fastidious records and the reports should not be lost. This is seldom the case. A second alternative would be to place these reports into the public record by submitting them to a public agency. If there is even a 1% chance that any contamination may exist on this site, this is not advisable. You may end up paying your life’s savings for the purpose of record keeping. The last alternative is to use companies that have California headquarters and that have a long-standing California history. This may sound provincial, but makes a lot of sense if you’re the two people who called me today and hired me to restudy their sites. If they would have used us in the first place, I’d update our report for 1/10th of the price.

At the very least, research the consultant that you hire thoroughly and try as best as you can to satisfy yourself that they’ll be around in five years when you need to update your report.

Bernard J. Luther

If you have any questions contact Applied Consultants at 1-800-266-6577, or E-Mail at mailto:HYDRO1BJL@aol.com


submitted by:

Bernard J. Luther, P.E.,C.E.G., President
Applied Consultants
3040 Clairemont Drive, Suite B
San Diego, CA 92117
619-275-6577 voice
619-275-6947 fax

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