Environmental Research -- Investigative Site Histories

Environmental cases generally involve finding answers to not simply scientific but also historical questions, such as:

  • What parties were located on the site and for what time periods?
  • What parties may have contaminated the site and when and how?
  • What neighboring companies may have caused contamination in the area?
  • Did any party doing damage to the site contract with the government?
  • What clean-up efforts, if any, were done by each party and what impact did those activities have?
  • What were the common environmental practices regarding each contaminant at the time the property was damaged?
Finding the answers to these types of questions and weaving those answers into a narrative story of the land use of a particular site is a specialty of Parrent Smith Investigatons and Research. With investigators who have backgrounds in not only environmental cases, but specifically in historical research and writing, our clients can expect to receive a thoroughly researched and well-written report on a site's history from the time it was simply unused raw land to the present, or for whatever time period the case requires.

A thorough investigative site history can often save the client large sums of money. There are a number of possible goals for either comprehensive or partial site histories, including:

  • Finding Additional Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs)
  • Finding Current Owners of Former Site Polluters
  • Finding Government Contract Information
  • Helping Make Scientific Testing More Cost-Effective, Accurate and Clearer


Good investigators have a natural instinct to follow every lead and leave no stone unturned. When investigators also have experience in library and historical research, as Parrent Smith investigators do, the combination gives attorneys and their clients the assurance that a thorough and comprehensive site history will be done as efficiently as possible. Because the job often requires not only document or library research but also interviews with ex-employees and other individuals, investigators are often better suited than academically trained historians for this sensitive information gathering.

When millions of dollars in clean-up costs are on the line, the question a party to an environmental action has to consider is - what will be the costs and consequences of not doing a comprehensive site history?

For a fuller discussion of Parrent Smith's environmental research please see:Digging Deeply for the Story: Investigative Site Histories in Environmental Cases

For some of the cases we have worked on see: Cases

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