Minnesota Department of Transportation

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MnDOT Policies

Environmental Due Diligence for Property Acquisition

MnDOT Policy #OE009
Revised: September 26, 2022

View/print signed policy (PDF)

Please go to the MnDOT Org Chart to find specific contact information: Org Chart.

Responsible Senior Officer: Deputy Commissioner/Chief Engineer

Policy Owners:

  • Director, Office of Environmental Stewardship
  • Director, Office of Land Management

Policy Contacts:

  • Environmental Investigation Unit Supervisor, Office of Environmental Stewardship
  • Right of Way Project Coordination Supervisor, Office of Land Management

Policy statement

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) must perform an Environmental Due Diligence (EDD) evaluation before MnDOT acquires real property. The Environmental Investigation Unit – Contaminated Materials Management Team (CMMT) in the Office of Environmental Stewardship must complete the EDD evaluation before an offer is made to the landowner for the property.

The EDD evaluation is a risk management tool that guides decision-making for MnDOT’s acquisition of real property by identifying the environmental risks associated with acquiring property that may contain contaminated soil and groundwater, solid waste, or debris. It considers various factors including project needs and the short- and long-term environmental risks associated with historical use of the properties within the project. It requires early involvement between project planners, designers, and right of way staff in district offices and CMMT beginning with the scoping process.

There are three levels of EDD evaluation (EDD-1, EDD-2, and EDD-3), each requiring progressively more information regarding the parcels under consideration for acquisition. Most projects require an EDD-1 or EDD-2 evaluation. Projects involving high-risk property acquisitions require an EDD-3 evaluation. CMMT may authorize acquisition of a property at EDD-1 or EDD-2 levels based on the information obtained during the property evaluation. An EDD-3 level evaluation requires MnDOT’s Deputy Commissioner/Chief Engineer to approve the acquisition.

Procedures for conducting an EDD evaluation are found in Section 137.3 of the MnDOT Right of Way Manual.

Reason for policy

State and federal laws may impose environmental liability on a new property owner regardless of when the property was contaminated or who caused the contamination. Completing the EDD evaluation prior to acquiring property may reduce MnDOT’s risk of liability associated with the acquisition of that property. The EDD evaluation allows MnDOT to:

  • Predict how acquiring a contaminated property may affect project cost and schedule.
  • Decide whether to avoid or proceed with the property acquisition.
  • Plan for mitigating risk and managing liability when acquiring a contaminated property.

This policy ensures that MnDOT utilizes the EDD process to assess both short-term and long-term costs and liabilities associated with contaminated property when deciding whether to acquire the property.

  • In the short-term, contaminated property cleanup may increase project complexity and cost and cause project delays.
  • In the long-term, owning contaminated property may expose MnDOT to potential liability for future remediation costs.


All MnDOT employees must comply with MnDOT policies.

Key stakeholders with responsibilities under this policy include:

  • Office of Environmental Stewardship, Contaminated Materials Management Team
  • District Land Management/Right of Way Offices
  • Office of Land Management
  • Deputy Commissioner/Chief Engineer

This policy applies to the following real property acquisitions:

  • Fee
  • Permanent easements (e.g., highway, transportation, slope, wall maintenance, drainage, utility, etc.)
  • Temporary easements (e.g., construction, building removal, Temporary Right to Construct, Railroad Maintenance Consent Letters, etc.)
  • Acquiring permission to use real property under the terms of a lease or a permit (e.g., Permit to Construct for Governmental Entities, etc.)
  • Commissioner’s Orders on roadways of other jurisdictions
  • Transfers of custodial control
  • Excess property
  • Railbank
  • Facilities (including shared facilities)
  • Any project in which a local unit of government or other party acquires property with the expectation that MnDOT will become the owner



The process of acquiring ownership or control of real property or an interest in real property.


A real property interest that entitles the owner of such interest to a limited use or enjoyment of the land in which the interest exists.

Note: Easements are granted for a specific purpose or use: highway, driveway, access, drainage, scenic, or utility easements are examples. Easements may be permanent or temporary.

Environmental Due Diligence (EDD)

The evaluation process associated with the acquisition of real property or an interest in real property which is used to investigate the environmental background and use of a property to determine the potential risk associated with contaminated soil, ground water, or solid waste on that property, manage environmental liability, and minimize impacts to project cost and schedule. This process is used when acquiring:

  1. real property or an interest in real property needed for a MnDOT-let project;
  2. temporary orders over a public right of way for a MnDOT-let project;
  3. real property or an interest in real property or temporary orders through a local agency via a local let project (for parcels that will include MnDOT in the chain of title during or after the project is completed); or
  4. real property or an interest in real property for non-projects.

EDD Evaluation Levels

A brief description of the three EDD levels follows below. Procedures for conducting an EDD evaluation are found in Section 137.3 of the MnDOT Right of Way Manual. The evaluation levels apply to all real property acquisitions listed in the Applicability section of this policy.

  • An EDD-1 evaluation provides the general project area information, including the endpoints of the project. CMMT reviews the project area for identification of potential contamination. CMMT determines whether additional investigation and evaluation is necessary under EDD-2.
  • An EDD-2 evaluation provides additional specific parcel information, so that known or suspected occurrences of contamination are tied to specific parcels. CMMT must conduct a Phase I or Phase II as necessary. CMMT must authorize parcels for acquisition or determine that an EDD-3 evaluation is required.
  • An EDD-3 evaluation provides information on potential “high-risk property acquisitions.” The EDD-3 summarizes the benefits and risks of acquiring the property, all feasible and practicable risk mitigation options (such as project design changes to avoid or limit use of the property), and liability protections available from regulatory agencies.

High-Risk Property Acquisitions (EDD-3)

Properties that:

  • Have clean-up costs greater than $500,000;
  • Have clean-up costs greater than 50% of the appraised value of the property;
  • Have clean-up costs greater than 10% of the project cost; or
  • Present a high environmental liability risk to MnDOT, such as a superfund site, landfill, coal gasification plant, etc.


Provided below is a high-level overview of key responsibilities. For a detailed description of procedures, refer to Section 137 of the current Right of Way Manual.

Office of Environmental Stewardship, Contaminated Materials Management Team (CMMT)

  • Determine the level of investigation needed for each real property parcel to assess environmental conditions and risk associated with the acquisition.
  • Obtain appropriate regulatory clearances needed to proceed with the real property acquisition.
  • Approve real property acquisitions before an offer is made.

District Land Management/Right of Way Offices

  • Provide the general project layout to CMMT.
  • Obtain access permits for environmental investigation from landowners.
  • Work with the Local Unit of Government (LGU) and inform CMMT of project corridors and project areas where potential property acquisitions for planned construction and operations projects may occur.
  • Provide specific real property parcel information to CMMT.
  • Work with the LGU and CMMT to gain EDD clearance before property acquisition.

Office of Land Management

  • Oversee the real property acquisition process.
  • Confirm the fulfillment of EDD requirements before an offer for property acquisition is made.

Deputy Commissioner/Chief Engineer

  • Review information about the parcel on the EDD-3 form and approve or deny the property acquisition.

Policy Owners (Director - Office of Environmental Stewardship and Director - Office of Land Management)

  • Review the policy every two years, or sooner as necessary, to ensure the policy remains up-to-date.
  • Ensure procedures, manuals, forms, and other documents associated with the policy remain current.
  • Monitor state, federal, enterprise, agency, or other requirements that apply to the policy or procedures.
  • Ensure the policy and procedures remain compliant with all state, federal, enterprise, agency, or other requirements and that necessary approvals by state or federal agencies are obtained before changes to the policy or procedures are implemented.
  • Work with the Policy Coordinator to revise the policy and/or confirm its accuracy.
  • Communicate policy revisions, reviews, and retirements to stakeholders.

Resources and related information


Processes, Procedures, and Instructions


History and updates


July 18, 2016


  • First Revision: September 26, 2022 (renumbered #OE009 from #OP009)

Policy Review

This policy's next scheduled review is due September 2024.