Lower vs Higher Prices for Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (Phase II ESA)
An article about Phase 2 ESA Reports, by Azad A. Kaligi, PG.
Clients seeking a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (also known as a Phase II ESA) are usually attracted to the lowest priced proposals. As a person who truly believes that “money saved” is just as good as “money earned,” I understand the incentive to seek lower prices. However, when it comes to environmental due diligence, not all scopes are created equal. Usually unknown to Client’s, reduced prices for Phase II Environmental Site Assessment may result in a reduced scope of investigation.
Not All Phase II ESA Scopes Are Equal
Far too many times, I have witnessed individuals rejecting a proposal for a properly scoped Phase II ESA, and turning to a lesser-expensive proposal that is inadequately scoped and lacking of reasonable investigation methods.
In most cases, when a Client turns to the lower-costing Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, they are unaware that the difference in cost is due to a reduced scope. Without a reliable scope of work, the decision to save money on a Phase II ESA can backfire later down-the-line.
- Purchaser is interested to buy a property with a gasoline station, where groundwater is approximately 30 feet below the ground surface. Purchaser needs a Phase II ESA to address environmental risks and concerns.
- Consultant A submits a proposal for the higher cost, which includes drilling to 35 feet to collect soil and groundwater samples.
- Consultant B submits a proposal for the lower cost, and only includes drilling to 15 feet to collect shallow-soil and shallow-soil-gas samples.
- Both consultants claim their proposals are for a comprehensive Phase II Environmental Site Assessment. Purchaser mistakenly believes that both scopes are equal, and chooses the lesser expensive option by Consultant B to save money.
- Years later, a nearby subsurface investigation reveals that gasoline contaminants have been found in the groundwater flowing from Purchaser’s property. Now Purchaser and his/her attorney are facing pollution fines and remediation costs, and are having a difficult time proving that the groundwater contamination was not Purchaser’s fault, mainly because the lesser expensive Phase II ESA didn’t include groundwater analysis.
A Proper Scope for Proper Prices – Phase II Environmental Site Assessment
A reasonable scope of work is objectively created by experienced geologists or engineers to address all potential contamination concerns onsite. Various site conditions, such as depth to groundwater, type of soil, regional land use, and more play a great role in the designing of a Phase II ESA scope.
Phase I ESA & Phase II ESA: Environmental Due Diligence
Environmental Due Diligence is a critical process that typically warrants a comprehensive investigation for reliable results and legal liability protection. In some cases, Clients (who are not seeking legal liability protection) specifically request a Limited Environmental Site Assessment as a tool for better decision making.
Before blindly awarding a Phase II ESA to the lowest bidder, it is important to review and compare the listed scopes of work for each proposal. Be sure to compare apples to apples, and communicate with a licensed professional geologist or engineer to accurately understand what is a reasonable scope of work is for your property.
Benefit from a Free Consultation with a Licensed Professional Geologist or Engineer
For a free consultation with a licensed professional geologist or engineer about your Phase I and/or Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, call Geo Forward, Inc. at (888) 930-6604, or Click Here to Visit the Contact Page.