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Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)

EE&G offers phase I Environmental Site Assessments. In the United States, an environmental site assessment is a report prepared for a real estate holding that identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. The analysis often called an ESA, typically addresses both the underlying land as well as physical improvements to the property. A proportion of contaminated sites are “brownfield sites.” In severe cases, brownfield sites may be added to the National Priorities List where they will be subject to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program.

The actual sampling of soil, air, groundwater and/or building materials is typically not conducted during a Phase I ESA. The Phase I ESA is generally considered the first step in the process of environmental due diligence. Standards for performing a Phase I site assessment have been promulgated by the US EPA and are based in part on ASTM in Standard E1527-13. Our Phase I have been completed for a variety of programs including:

Our Phase I Environmental Site Assessments are completed by experienced staff and all are directed by environmental professionals with a minimum of 30-years of experience. Our projects are very cost effective and we have the available staff and experience to complete multi-site portfolios with very short due dates. We specialize in fast completion, quality assessments, and competitive cost while meeting the requirements for the ASTM E1527-13 standards and the All Appropriate Inquiry Rule (AAI) 40 CFR Part 312 rule.

Comprehensive natural resources services:

  • National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) Assessments
  • Endangered and/or Threatened Species Assessments and Relocation Services
  • Wetlands Assessments and Consulting
  • Archeological and Historic Preservation Assessments
  • Radon Gas Measurements

Phase I ESAs Scope

Scrutiny of the land includes an examination of potential soil contaminationgroundwater quality, surface water quality and sometimes issues related to hazardous substance uptake by biota. The examination of a site may include definition of any chemical residues within structures; identification of possible asbestos-containing building materials; inventory of hazardous substances stored or used on site; assessment of mold and mildew; and evaluation of other indoor air quality parameters. Asbestos-containing materials are not typically surveyed or sampled in a Phase I site inspection, but suspect building materials may be noted

Depending upon precise protocols utilized, there are a number of variations in the scope of a Phase I study. The tasks listed here are common to almost all Phase I ESAs:

  • Performance of an on-site visit to view present conditions (chemical spill residue, die-back of vegetation, etc.); hazardous substances or petroleum products usage (presence of above ground or underground storage tanks, storage of acids, etc.); and evaluate any likely environmentally hazardous site history.
  • Evaluation of risks of neighboring properties upon the subject property
  • Review of Federal, State, Local and Tribal Records out to distances specified by the ASTM 1528 and AAI Standards (ranging from 1/8 to 1 mile depending on the database)
  • Interview of persons knowledgeable regarding the property history (past owners, present owner, key site manager, present tenants, neighbors).
  • Examine municipal or county planning files to check prior land usage and permits granted
  • Conduct file searches with public agencies (State water board, fire department, county health department, etc.) having oversight relative to water quality and soil contamination issues.
  • Examine historical aerial photography of the vicinity.
  • Examine current USGS maps to scrutinize drainage patterns and topography.
  • Examine chain-of-title for Environmental Liens and/or Activity and Land Use Limitations (AULs).

In most cases, the public file searches, historical research and chain-of-title examinations are outsourced to information services that specialize in such activities. Non-Scope Items in a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment can include visual inspections or records review searches for:

  • Asbestos Containing Building Materials (ACBM)
  • Lead-Based Paint
  • Lead in Drinking Water
  • Mold
  • Radon
  • Wetlands
  • Threatened and Endangered Species
  • Mercury poisoning
  • Debris flow
  • Earthquake Hazard
  • Vapor intrusion

Often a multi-disciplinary approach is taken in compiling all the components of a Phase I study, since skills in chemistryatmospheric physicsgeologymicrobiology and even botany are frequently required. Many of the preparers are environmental scientists who have been trained to integrate these diverse disciplines. Under ASTM E 1527-13 parameters were set forth as to who is qualified to perform Phase I ESAs.

  1. Our current Professional Engineer’s are licensed from a state or U.S. territory with 3 years equivalent full-time experience;
  2. Have a Baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution of higher education in a discipline of engineering or science and 5 years equivalent full-time experience; or
  3. Have the equivalent of 10 years of full-time experience.

If you are looking for a highly skilled team and professional service, call our office, we will be happy to help you.