[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Adams County 5-21-1991 by Ord. No. 7-1991. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Hazardous waste and toxic substances have become a major concern in the acquisition and ownership of real estate. Federal and state laws and regulations impose severe restrictions and significant economic sanctions upon the owners of real estate that contains hazardous waste and toxic substances. While Adams County acknowledges its obligations to a clean environment, this chapter is intended to prevent the acquisition, knowingly or unknowingly, of lands by Adams County that contain hazardous waste and toxic substances.
All interest in real property acquired by Adams County pursuant to § 59.52(6) and (19) or Chs. 75, 32 and 83, Wis. Stats., or by any other method, shall be subject to this chapter.
Prior to the acquisition or the execution of any contract or document obligating acquisition of any real property in the name of Adams County or its subunits, the responsible County agency or entity shall make referral to the Environmental Site Assessment Committee. Acquisitions after the date of passage by any County entity described in § 32-2 above shall be suspended until the Environmental Site Assessment Committee has given consideration to said acquisition.
Upon receiving referral from any Adams County agency or entity that proposes real estate acquisition, the Environmental Site Assessment Committee, or certain members thereof as designated by the Chair, shall within 60 days of said referral personally inspect the premises to make an initial determination as to, or to take such other measures as are necessary to otherwise ascertain, whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that hazardous waste or toxic substances may exist on or beneath the surface of said premises.
In the event it reasonably appears to the Committee that no hazardous waste or toxic substances are present, the Committee, on appropriate forms, shall promptly return approval to the referring entity.
In the event the Committee cannot reasonably determine the presence of hazardous waste or toxic substances, or has reason to believe such do exist, the ESAC may, if authorized by the Board, engage an engineering consultant to prepare a formal environmental assessment of the premises.
In the event the formal environmental assessment discloses the presence of hazardous waste or toxic substances, said report shall include a cost estimate for removal and remedial action as may be required by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulations. A copy of the formal environmental assessment shall be returned to the referring entity, the County Board Chair, the County Treasurer, and the County Clerk.
Acquisition of land containing hazardous waste or toxic substances by Adams County is not hereby prohibited, but such decision by the County Board or other entity of Adams County authorized to acquire land shall take effect only after the Board has been provided the information set forth in the formal environmental assessment.
Personal liability. No member of the ESAC shall be personally liable or responsible for decisions made or judgments rendered in effectuating this chapter.