If you are purchasing, refinancing, or a tenant of a commercial property, conducting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA) is critical. A Phase I ESA due diligence inquiry is a thorough study of the history of what activities were performed at the property and the potential for contamination from those activities; often the contamination is from hazardous substances or petroleum products.
The Phase I ESA is the most common initial environmental due diligence inquiry used by buyers, sellers, lenders, and tenants; often, a Phase I ESA is necessary prior to the refinance or sale of a commercial property. The goal of the Phase I ESA process is to assess a property and identify Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs). A REC is the presence, likely presence, or material threat of future release to the environment of a hazardous substance(s) or petroleum product(s) in/on/or at the property.
An Environmental Professional (EP) conducts the Phase I ESA, which involves performing research related to the property uses and the development of a report. The research is conducted through online databases, governmental entities, interviews with knowledgeable parties of the property, and an on-site property inspection. A report is generated by the Environmental Professional that synthesizes all of the information and documentation gathered during the research and discusses the history of the property including current and historic operations, owners, tenants, RECs (i.e., if any RECs are identified), and conclusions of findings. Conducting a Phase I satisfies the current All-Appropriate Inquiries in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials/Standard Practice for Environmental Assessments (ASTM E1527).
If the Phase I ESA identifies RECs, a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (Phase II ESA) will be recommended. A Phase II ESA involves an on-site investigation to assess the RECs, quantify the risks, and provide the client with information needed to make an informed decision.
The EPs of Oak Environmental have performed Phase I ESAs on residential properties, apartment buildings, gas stations/auto repair shops, dry cleaners/laundromats, liquor stores, banks, retail centers, undeveloped land, boat yards/marinas, farms, manufacturing plants, and bulk fuel terminals.
A Phase II ESA involves an on-site investigation to assess the RECs that were identified in the Phase I ESA, to quantify the risks, and provide the client with information needed to make an informed decision. A Phase II ESA can determine the location, source, and nature of releases/threat of releases affecting the property. The services often performed in a Phase II ESA are geophysical investigations to identify the location of subsurface RECs (underground storage tanks, old septic tanks, hydraulic lifts); soil and groundwater investigations; as well as mold, lead, and asbestos inspections.