Lead Contaminated Soil - What would you do?

2 Replies

So a little background: My area has been a heavy industrial area for well over a 100 years. With facilities such as oil refineries, steel mills, smelters, chemical plants, and power plants. So it can be said that most likely our ground and air have been and may still be heavily polluted. Everyone has to assume this but yet still people live next to these facilities and investors continue to buy in this area. So the reason I mention all of this; the EPA has come forward and announced that the soil in these communities are contaminated with high levels of Lead, as much as 7 times higher then then normal level. These communities area great investor friendly areas with being in close proximity to all these jobs and next to Chicago. The rental market does very well here. 

These are my questions:

What impact do you think this would have on property values?

Do you think this would have an effect on rentals?

Would you invest in these communities? i.e Buy and Holds/Rentals

Would you run away as fast as possible?

I mention and ask all this because I've been working on a off market deal that is this area and the numbers make complete sense and there is even room to improve cash flow, but before we have come to terms, the EPA has made this announcement of the contaminated soil. What would you do???????? 

Hi @Eric Meyer - I can’t say whether I’d buy or run away, but there’s a cheap way to remediate lead in dirt fairly effectively(it takes some time and patience.) One word: sunflowers  🌻🌻🌻  

There are certain species of sunflowers which absorb lead effectively from soil. So at the beginning of the season, plant the affected area with many of the proper type of sunflowers- then at the end of the year, cut them down and take them to the dump(they’ll have high levels of lead in them- I’m not sure if you have to dispose of them in a special way, but you can’t let them die in the yard as the lead they’ve taken up will then go back into the soil.) You can also grab the seeds from the old sunflower heads and plant them in the subsequent year(unless the lead concentrates in the seeds, then I recommend not doing this.) 

Have the soil tested- grow sunflowers- test it again after harvesting. The second benefit of this is that lead regulations in my area(not sure about yours) allow for higher lead levels where stuff is planted and kids won’t be playing. If it’s exposed dirt where kids tend to bathe in the stuff, the lead levels must be lower.