Environmental Site Assessments

Thoroughly Explore Your Property

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)

Property buyers and owners, as well as banks and developers, realize the potential for environmental liabilities associated with commercial property uses. A Phase I ESA is an extensive records review and visual inspection of the property to determine any potential sources of environmental contamination as a result of current and historic land use. General activities include a review of regulatory databases, ownership records, building permits, aerial photography, and historic maps. A full visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the property will also be completed by an environmental professional. Lastly, interviews and/or written questionnaires will be completed by people knowledgeable about the property such as the current or previous owners, site managers, occupants, and/or municipal officials as applicable.   

The collected information is compiled into a detailed report in general conformance with ASTM E1527-21, Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments, and 40 CFR Part 312, All Appropriate Inquiries. The conclusions of a Phase I ESA include whether a Phase II ESA is recommended or not. A Phase I ESA does not include any sampling or laboratory analysis activities. These activities are conducted if recommended during the Phase II ESA.  

A Phase I ESA is usually performed by a party considering a purchase of real estate since the best time to determine if an environmental issue is present is before you buy. A property owner may also wish to conduct a Phase I ESA of their land to begin resolving environmental issues at their own pace and avoiding future surprises.


Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)

When a Phase I ESA identifies a recognized environmental condition (REC), most clients request to evaluate the potential impact by performing a Phase II ESA. The purpose of a Phase II investigation is to determine the presence, or absence of, contamination as a result of identified RECs

The scope of work typically focuses on the areas most likely to exhibit detectable contaminants and suspected releases. Additional inspections outside the scope of a Phase II ESA may include surveys for asbestos, lead paint, or a wetlands assessment based on knowledge of property use and history
A geophysical survey may be employed as the first step of a Phase II ESA to identify the location of underground features such as storage tanks, filled in excavations, drywells, drain lines, or buried debris. The next step is typically collecting samples of soil, groundwater, and/or soil gas. Soil Solutions can provide these services as well as a comprehensive range of other field services as required.

If no significant contamination is detected in the Phase II ESA, often no further work is required. If contamination is found at levels of concern, further site characterization to delineate the extent of the impacts and assess the level of risk may be completed to determine if an environmental cleanup is recommended.

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