Environmental Base Line
In dealing with physical matters, absolutes do not exist. One establishes value only by comparison.
I said, “Three hundred.” Your immediate response could probably be,
“Three hundred what? Fish? Avocado? Light years?” Suppose I said,
“Three hundred dollars.” Now we have value that can be compared. We can
buy so many almonds, rent a car for so many days, finance a date with a
loved one, or do many other nice things. And when we look at the
opportunities that three hundred dollars afford us, we shall
undoubtedly arrive fast at the conclusion that five hundred is more.
A “bench mark” is term used in the field of land surveying.
establishing elevations of land features, the surveyor indicates feet
above mean sea level. As it is impractical to run back and forth to the
ocean every time we take a measurement, various bench marks are located
throughout the land to indicate the altitude at their locations. A
typical bench mark is made of a round disk of metal embedded in a small
monument of concrete with a punched point on the disk. The surveyor
measures the elevations of the land features in that area relative to
the known elevation of the point on the bench mark.
“base line” is any precisely determined line forming a side of a
triangle so that when the adjacent angles are measured, the relative
position of a third point (the tip of the triangle opposite the base
line) is determined.
In the following diagram, lines Q-V, Q-R, and R-V are base lines.
principle of base line is used in land surveying and in navigation to
locate various positions on the surface. The concepts of bench mark and
base line are same: establishment of an arbitrary value from which
other, relative values are determined.
real estate transactions take place in properties where subsurface
contamination already exists or where an operation is planned that may
cause contamination. For example, an operator of refueling facility
enters a lease agreement on the facility, or an industrial operation
takes over a property. In such cases, it would be prudent for all sides
involved to establish an environmental base line (or bench mark) on the
presence of pollutants in the soil and groundwater at the property.
base line is established by collecting soil and groundwater samples
from certain locations and depths and analyzing same for the chemicals
the end of the lease, or in any time in the future, repeat samples can
be taken, analyzed and compared. It is important to remember that, to
draw sensible conclusions, the repeat sampling should be done in the
exact same locations as the base line sampling. There could, of course,
be reasons for future sampling in other locations and analytical tests
for other chemicals, as in the case where different operations enter
the property, but such sampling does not belong in the context of base