Phase I, II, and III Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs)
Environmental Solutions Specialists, LLC (ESS) has over 34 years of experience conducting Environmental Site Assessments.
Phase I ESA
If you are purchasing a property, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) can provide you with information on potential environmental issues with the property. It may also protect you from liability due to unexpected environmental contamination found on the property after the purchase.
A Phase I ESA is completed prior to the closure of a real estate transaction and can be used to satisfy the requirements of CERCLA’s (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) innocent landowner defense under All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI).
ASTM E1527-13 provides the guidelines for a Phase I ESA report to meet industry standards. Environmental Solutions Specialists, LLC (ESS) has over 34 years of experience conducting Phase I ESA’s. As part of the Phase I ESA, a visual site visit is conducted and research is evaluated by ESS Environmental Professionals (EP) to identify potential environmental risks to the property such as current or historic operations that are known or suspected to have used hazardous substances or petroleum products during onsite operations. Some very common uses of concern are dry cleaners, gas stations, auto/vehicle repair, printing operations, and manufacturing. In addition to potential soil and groundwater contamination, ASTM E1527-13 addresses the concerns associated with contamination in soil vapor and the potential for vapor migration to pose a threat to onsite and offsite tenants.
While not part of ASTM requirements, Phase I ESA reports can include “Business Risk” typically include a discussion of observed suspect asbestos-containing materials (ACM), potential lead-based paint (LBP), and mold growth; as well as the potential for lead in drinking water and radon. Sampling for these non-ASTM concerns is beyond the scope of a standard Phase I ESA but can be included upon request.
A recognized environmental condition (REC) indicates known contamination or the potential for the subsurface to have been impacted by contamination (either from the subject property or possibly from an offsite source). A controlled recognized environmental condition (CREC) identifies that the property has been impacted by contamination which has been investigated and remediated; however, contamination remains and would require additional work if redeveloped. A historical recognized environmental condition (HREC) identifies a release impacted the subject property which has been investigated and remediated meeting unrestricted use criteria.
Phase III Environmental Site Assessment (ESAs)
During a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, intrusive testing is performed on a property to determine if environmental contaminants are present on a property. If no contaminants are found, a Phase III Assessment is not necessary. However, if contaminants are found, a Phase III Assessment determines the extent of contamination of the property. It is a much more detailed investigation of the property and is necessary to uncover additional information before remediation work can take place.
A Phase III ESA should allow parties involved to develop a plan of remediation, or risk-based closure strategies which needs to have the approval of local, state, and federal environmental agencies. It will also detail a full scope of options for all parties and time and costs involved with cleanup.