L&R completes comprehensive Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) in accordance with the following governing bodies:
• United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
• Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI)
• 40 CFR Part 312
• ASTM: Phase I ESA E 1527-13
We complete Phase I Environmental Site Assessment for real estate transactions, property development, bank financing, refinancing, foreclosures, and other in-house proactive audit programs.
The purpose of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is to gather sufficient information to develop an independent professional opinion about the environmental condition of the property, and to identify actual or potential environmental contamination. This may impact the property value or affect claim to an “innocent land owner” exemption following acquisition.
Phase One Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) should be an essential step in acquiring commercial or industrial property, but there are many questions stakeholders have about Phase I ESAs. Phase I Environmental Site Assessments are the introductory phase of investigating if there is a potential for environmental risk or contamination on a property that would affect its value and if additional investigation and testing is warranted. If further investigation is needed there are Phase II, and Phase III to pinpoint sources of contamiantion and potential liability.
Many transfers of ownership of a commercial property may be required to receive a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.
Many banks will not approve a loan for the purchase of a commercial property if a trained environmental professional has not reviewed the property for risk of environmental contaminants. This reduces the risk of the transaction and gives them a more reliable value of the property.
The Phased ESA process is used to help in the characterization of environmental issues and associated contaminant levels that could affect a property or the natural environment.
ASTM International has issued a set of standards known as Standard E1527, which is a prescribed standard for the environmental professionals to follow when conducting a Phase I ESA. Banks and other lenders may request additional investigations that are not included in the list of ASTM standards.
A Phase I ESA is non-intrusive, and involves professional opinions on the likelihood of common environmental issues ranging from soil and groundwater contamination due to historic land use, to the possible presence of hazardous building materials (such as lead paint or asbestos), to past and present uses of the site and surrounding properties. This would involve a site visit, interviews, regulatory database searches, and an evaluation of all relevant information provided in a written report.
A written report will be conducted by the environmental professional that will outline the findings from the Phase I ESA and any conclusions that can be made regarding the property. If recognized environmental conditions are identified, a Phase II ESA may be recommended.
A Phase II ESA, the second-level characterization, would involve investigations of any potential environmental issues identified during the Phase I ESA through an intrusive investigation. It might involve sampling potentially hazardous building materials or drilling boreholes and installing monitor wells in order to assess soil and groundwater. Assessments are carried out by our team of geoscientists, chemists, engineers and specialists, who collaborate to confirm all relevant details, and to create a plan that addresses the full range of problems that could arise as a result of these contaminants.
The third step is a Phase III ESA and is centralized around the remediation or cleanup of the site. Once the site has been fully characterized during the Phase II ESA, a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) is prepared to address the site conditions. Approach, methodology, physical conditions, area and quantities, constraints (including site access), and special considerations would all be included in the RAP. Following the RAP, the final step would be site remediation, which is the actual implementation of steps outlined in the RAP, and could include risk assessment (i.e. risk modeling or other regulatory accepted methods), physical remediation, or a combination of the two. The overall objective is to achieve ‘site closure’ through regulatory compliance.
For more information regarding the site assessment process or questions regarding your specific site, please contact us at (208) 813-7700.