By Lindsay Penn
The bill we looked at, HB1610, requires sellers of real property to provide notice to buyers of environmentally hazardous sites within one mile of the property, and to disclose water test results if a source of MTBE or perfluorinated chemicals is identified within one mile of the property.
I agree with the overall concept of the bill however; I feel there are many spots that require revision. While the bill proposes some good regulations to be put in place, I do not have much faith in it passing due to how strict these regulations are.
The first part of the bill I would revise states the disclosure of hazardous sites within a mile of the property is mandatory. In the state of New Hampshire, a large percentage of properties in urban areas, and those along the shore would be required to disclose they are within a mile of a hazardous waste site. However, some of these hazardous waste sites may have no impact on the water quality of the property and some may. It is important that the buyer know this information. If all the properties they are looking are within one mile, then they might become desensitized to this information.
After listening to how those responded to the bill when it was presented to the committee in Concord, I think who pays for the water test should be discussed. The relators as expected are strongly against the seller paying for the water test. The relator also had a very strong argument. It is my belief that a compromise should happen regarding who pays. Either requiring the buyer to, or splitting the costs 50/50 between buyer and seller.
I strongly agree though, no matter who pays, that the water should be tested. It is not adequate enough to leave the safety of the water up to the seller to disclose any knowledge he/she might have.
NH Science for Citizens
Department of Environmental Studies
Keene State College
Keene, NH 03431
A project of students and faculty at Keene State College in collaboration with local NH state representatives.