Toxic Waste: Mapping Boulder and Beyond

by Osman Parvez

When we help you buy a house, we'll advise you to complete your due diligence before purchasing a property. Typical items we recommend include simple steps, like walking nearby streets and talking to neighbors. We'll even walk the streets with you, if you'd like. Some of the check list items we recommend include calculating your commute, distance to grocery stores, and local schools. Articles posted on this blog are one of the ways we help people find the tools to do a better job at investigating the facts. From the list of labels on the right, click on "due diligence" for a collection of articles that can help you with you figure out "what you need to know" before buying a home.

Here's an item to add to your due diligence checklist: toxic waste. Luckily, a new website makes it easier to get the facts about toxic waste in your neighborhood. MapEcos lets you track polluters visually. You can compare output of pollution and types of toxic emissions. The site even has images to show actual images of pollution (see below). It's a joint project by Harvard, Duke, and Dartmouth. Companies that are shown on the map have the option to update information voluntarily and the site is also tied to EPA databases.

From the Mapping Polluters, Encouraging Protectors (Harvard):

On the site, users, whether company executives or private citizens, can view detailed environmental performance information on facilities across the United States. Each facility on the map is color-coded according to emission level (blue is low, red is high; a green ring indicates that a company disclosed some information about its environmental management activities by responding to the researchers' survey). In their survey responses, managers can outline what their companies are doing about environmental protection and community engagement, and see their responses posted in real time. .

Below are a few images from MapEcos to consider.

The United States (note pollution intensity on the east costs and historic industrialized areas):


Boulder Satellite Image:

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The ideas and strategies described in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties.   We strongly recommend conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate. 

Please Note

This document contains forward-looking statements. You are strongly cautioned that investment results are subject to business, economic and other uncertainties. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time. Always consult your financial advisor before making an investment decision.