An RTC Perspective on Environmental Risk

By Reid, Steven W. | Journal of Property Management, May/June 1992 | Go to article overview

An RTC Perspective on Environmental Risk


Reid, Steven W., Journal of Property Management


The Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) was created by Congress in August 1989 to handle the massive financial crisis caused by the combined factors of the overall economic downturn and widespread abuse in the thrift industry. To date, the RTC has closed or sold over 630 savings institutions and achieved asset sales and collections of more than $234.1 billion.

Included deep in the massive FIRREA legislation that created the RTC are sections that require it to report on properties "with natural, cultural, recreational, or scientific values of special significance." Little mention is made, however, of the need to manage or report on environmental hazard issues.

Yet some 16 to 20 percent of RTC properties have been identified as having some form of environmental problem. These range from non-friable asbestos to large Superfund sites. These percentages seem fairly typical.

An independent study conducted by Boelter Environmental Consultants in 1989 found that about 19 percent of all properties held by members of the Mortgage Bankers Association were impacted by environmental hazards. The most common problem areas were: asbestos (49 percent), surface/groundwater contamination (33 percent), and underground storage tanks (23 percent). These figures are generally in sync with those experienced by the RTC.

INVESTIGATION

Asset manager contractors for the RTC are required to inspect all properties (excluding single-family units) to determine if an environmental issue is present. In conducting the required reconnaissance and completing the environmental checklists, asset managers must look for the obvious--drums of chemicals and damaged asbestos pipe wrappings, as well as the more subtle--soil discoloration, stunted or dying vegetation, and unusual odors.

In addition to just looking at a physical structure, the RTC also requires the investigation of soil conditions, storage areas, and surrounding acreage areas that may have been overlooked during past inspections.

All asset management contractors are given periodic training in property inspection techniques as it relates to searching for potential environmental issues. Much of this training emphasizes the common sense approach: "When in doubt, check it out."

FURTHER STUDY

Once an RTC property is inspected and found "clean" of environmental problems, no additional follow-up is needed unless new issues become known. However, should a checklist indicate there may be an issue to resolve, then the asset manager contractor will engage an environmental engineering or consulting firm to complete an additional review.

Selecting an environmental contractor is often difficult because there are few industry standards designating which firms are qualified to complete environmental studies, much less what should be included in these studies. Additionally, many firms with roots in other fields--including real estate brokers, civil engineers, and building contractors--have attempted to enter this booming industry, with mixed results. Therefore, asset manager contractors must exercise great care in selecting a qualified firm to perform further investigation of a property.

The firm selected will conduct a Phase I (also known as Level I or ESA I) audit or other environmental study. Such studies normally range from $1,500 to $5,000 in cost and can be completed in two to six weeks.

The preparer of the Phase I environmental site assessment will review file information and historic data available from federal, state, and local agencies. A study will also include actual site visits, review of aerial photos (going back at least 20 to 30 years, where available), and review of all known contaminated sites in close proximity. In some cases, a preliminary asbestos survey is conducted as well.

Should additional studies be indicated by the results of a Phase I, the asset manager contractor decides on the next course of action--a Phase II (testing/drilling/probing) or a Phase III (alternatives available/actual remediation). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

An RTC Perspective on Environmental Risk
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.