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Environmental law: Does that site have a waste disposal well?

If you are looking to open a Georgia business that sells, maintains or repairs motor vehicles, including boats and small aircraft, then you may want to determine whether a waste disposal well is on the property, especially if the facility was built prior to April 5, 2000. Environmental law at both the federal and state levels outlines certain requirements regarding the disposal of motor vehicle fluids and solvents. If you fail to follow those requirements, it could jeopardize your business.

Waste disposal wells include any underground systems that collect waste such as oil, transmission fluid and antifreeze from motor vehicles. Dry well or shallow disposal systems fall into the category of waste disposal wells. Because these fluids (and others) and solvents can seep into the groundwater, they are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

If the facility you intend to purchase is in a water protection area and has a waste disposal well, you will more than likely not be allowed to use it. The EPA has devised a series of questions you can review and answer to determine whether the property has a motor vehicle waste disposal well. If it does, you will then need to determine whether you can keep the well, understand how to maintain the well or figure out how to close it if necessary.

Even if the property you intend to purchase does not have a waste disposal well, you will probably need to understand how you are to dispose of the waste from motor vehicle repair and maintenance. It would benefit you to discuss the environmental law that applies to your situation before making your purchase since you may need to take measures to ensure that the waste from your business does not violate federal or state laws. A Georgia attorney who routinely deals with environmental compliance could prove invaluable in this area.

Source: epa.gov, "Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells", Accessed on Jan. 20, 2018

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