Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment
This first step of environmental due diligence is a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment, or Phase 1 ESA Report. A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment is a study of historical and current land-use. Additionally, a Phase 1 ESA Report can document the liability of a property undergoing a transaction. Furthermore, a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment evaluates risk using EPA standards. Moreover, ESA reports can serve to legally defend innocent landowners from unforeseeable environmental issues.
Local & National Bank-Approved
When environmental issues are discovered in a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Report, conclusions can recommend soil testing. This process is a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment, also referred to as a Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation.
Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment
A Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment is a subsurface investigation comprised of field testing. The Phase 2 ESA process can include testing soil, soil gas, and/or groundwater. Furthermore, a Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation includes site maps and geophysical reports. Moreover, a Phase 2 ESA documents whether contamination exists or not, due to the recognized environmental conditions (also known as REC items) found in the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Report.
Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment & Pre-Purchase Requirements
In order to regulate the scopes of work for all Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Reports across the country, the US EPA established the All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) rule. When Phase 1 ESA Reports qualify, they can provide the users of the report(s) with landowner liability protection. Additionally, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has produce a standard for conducting Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments. The EPA’s AAI and ASTM’s E1527 standards comply with CERCLA’s Innocent Land Owner (ILO) defense for purchasers with unknown and undisclosed environmental concerns.
Landowners looking to qualify for CERCLA liability protection will require a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Report which meets the standards mentioned above. The Geo Forward team prepares all Phase 1 ESA Reports to meet the requirements of the EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI), as well as the ASTM E1527-13.
Limited Versions of a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment
Sometimes a Phase 1 ESA report isn’t required. If liability protection is not required, a limited environmental site assessment report can be prepared instead for a lower cost. Click here to learn about Limited Environmental Report Options.
Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Reports funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) additionally follow standards by the Multifamily Accelerated Process (MAP 223[f]) and completion of Form 4128.
Scope of Work for Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments
Geo Forward Inc. is experienced in conducting Phase 1 ESA Reports for lending entities, investors, real estate developers, brownfields developers, public works agencies, real estate brokers, private parties, and more. Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Reports are prepared by licensed professional geologists and engineers. Reports include (but are not limited to):
- Job Site Visits;
- Review of Historical Property Information;
- Review of Regulatory Agency Files;
- Analysis of Historical Photographs, Topo Maps & Permits;
- A Review of Database Reports;
- Study and Analysis of Geology and Hydrogeology;
- Vapor Intrusion Risk;
- Chain of Title;
- Environmental Liens and/or Activity Use Limitations; and
- Conclusions and Recommendations
Common Definitions – Phase 1 ESA Reports
A Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) refers to the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substance or petroleum product on a property under conditions that indicate an existing release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the property or into the ground, groundwater, or surface water of the property. The term REC includes hazardous substances and petroleum products even under conditions that might be in compliance with laws. The term is not intended to include “de minimis” conditions that do not present a threat to human health and/or the environment and that would not be subject to an enforcement action if brought to the attention of appropriate governmental agencies.
A Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition (CREC) refers to a Recognized Environmental Condition resulting from a past release of hazardous substances or petroleum products that has been addressed to the satisfaction of the applicable regulatory authority, with hazardous substances or petroleum products allowed to remain in place subject to the implementation of required controls.
A Historical Recognized Environmental Condition (HREC) refers to an environmental condition which would have been considered a REC in the past, but which is no longer considered a REC based on subsequent assessment or regulatory closure.
An Environmental Issue refers to environmental concerns identified by Geo Forward, which do not qualify as RECs; however, require discussion.
Upon the request of clients, Geo Forward can customize Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment formats for the preference of the reader(s).
For more information about environmental due diligence and the Phase I ESA process, please call (888) 930-6604 to speak with a licensed professional engineer, geologist, or environmental professional.
Forward-Thinking Geologists, Engineers, and Contractors