Contaminated Site or Abandoned Hazardous Site?

Until 1 July 1997 subsoil pollution was punished only in accordance with the principle of disturbance contained in the water pollution control provisions. With the 1997 review of the Swiss Environmental Protection Act (USG) a foundation was created in federal law which includes not only the effects on water but also all environmental disturbances (earth, water and air). The review which came into force on 1 November 2006 aims to clarify at the legal level the problems which have arisen in everyday legal practice until now. At this time it is not possible to assess how the new practice will develop as a result of these regulations.

Not only lay people but also many real estate professionals are unfamiliar with the different grades of environmental disturbance. For this reason they are unable to classify the changes from the 2006 review, despite press reports. The results are poorly drafted contract terms and conditions in real estate deeds of sale and clauses on subsoil responsibility in construction service contracts, with cost implications in each case.

  1. Correct use of terms
  2. Cost bearing responsibilities
  3. The significance of the Land Register to contaminated sites
  4. Summary

Illustration Alexander Bürgi (010)

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