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Phase I & II Environmental Site Assessment

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.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

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. Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are prepared for residential and commercial properties within the scope of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) as specified in the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards E 1527-05 and forthcoming E 1527-13. As such, these practices are intended to satisfy one for the requirements to qualify for the innocent landowner defense to CERCLA liability that constitutes all appropriate inquiry into the previous ownership and uses of the property consistent with good commercial or customary practice. The Phase I investigation can also include preliminary asbestos investigation, sampling and laboratory analysis, where applicable.

Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are conducted in accordance with ASTM E 1903-11 to determine the presence or absence of hazardous or industrial substances in soil, groundwater and/or vapor media. Phase II investigations can be designed to estimate quantity and type of impacted soil or groundwater. The presence or absence of hazardous substances is documented by independent laboratory analysis.

EE&G’s Environmental Site Assessment

EE&G’s ESAs are completed by or under the direction of a qualified Environmental Professional as defined in the ASTM Standard. If a site is considered contaminated, a Phase II environmental site assessment may be conducted, ASTM test E1903, a more detailed investigation involving chemical analysis for hazardous substances and/or petroleum hydrocarbons. Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are prepared for residential and commercial properties within the scope of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) as specified in the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards E 1527-05 and forthcoming E 1527-13. As such, these practices are intended to satisfy one for the requirements to qualify for the innocent landowner defense to CERCLA liability that constitutes all appropriate inquiry into the previous ownership and uses of the property consistent with good commercial or customary practice. The Phase I investigation can also include preliminary asbestos investigation, sampling and laboratory analysis, where applicable.

Environmental Transaction Screens

For a variety of reasons including but not limited to; prior knowledge of the property, size of the acquisition portfolio, and current use of the site, a client may request an environmental review of the property with a more limited scope. The Transaction Screen may include one or more of the ASTM requirements.

  • Records Review
  • Site Reconnaissance
  • Interviews with Past or Present Owners
  • Interviews with Regulatory Officials

Business Environmental Risk

The business environmental risk is a risk which may have a material environmental or environmentally-driven impact on the business associated with the current or planned use of a parcel of a commercial real estate, not necessarily limited to those environmental issues required to be investigated as part of ASTM Designation E 1527-05. The following observations regarding business environmental risk considerations may be addressed as part of a Phase I ESA:

  • Radon
  • Indoor Air Quality & Mold
  • Lead in Drinking Water
  • Environmental Regulatory Compliance
  • High Voltage Powerlines
  • Cultural, Historical, and Archeological Resources
  • Wetlands and Surface Waters
  • Threatened, Endangered, and Other Protected Species
  • Wildlife Sanctuaries and Other Natural Resource Preserves
  • Biological Agents

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