What is a Phase II ESA in Real Estate Due Diligence?


What is a Phase II ESA in Real Estate Due Diligence?

A Phase II ESA is short for “Phase II Subsurface Investigation,” and follows the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment process. In the commercial real estate due diligence period, this assessment comprises direct sampling of subsurface materials, to test for contamination. The work is generally performed by professional geologists and engineers with State certifications. In some cases, toxicologists also assist to provide human health risk evaluations of a property’s contamination condition. In addition to laboratory data, Phase II ESA reports generally include site maps of environmental concerns, as well as geophysical survey and radar data. Updated July 31, 2019

Phase II Environmental Site Assessment or Phase II ESA

Phase II Environmental Site Assessment or Phase II ESA

The Phase II ESA Objective

Environmental Due Diligence is a critical process that typically warrants a comprehensive investigation for reliable results and legal liability protection.  The primary objective of a Phase II ESA is to determine whether contamination exists in the soil gas, soil and/or groundwater underlying a property, as a result of the recognized environmental concerns listed in a Phase I Site Assessment Report.

The Phase II ESA Seekers

A property will generally undergo the testing of a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment based on the conclusions and recommendations of a recent Phase I Site Assessment Report.  However often times at high risk properties, parties directly request a Phase II ESA along with a Phase I ESA, for a comprehensive understanding of contamination risk.

Requirements of the Investigation 

Geo Forward Phase II ESA Reports are solely based on the specific job site information. Geo Forward prepares a customized scope of work for each proposal.  All recommended scopes of work are prepared by a State licensed geologist or engineer, and are designed to be in accordance with the ASTM E1903 Standard Guide for Environmental Site Assessments.

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 Environmental Site Assessment scope.

The Phase II ESA Process

The general scopes of work vary from site to site, and depend on local geology, chemicals of concern, job-site history, and areas of concern.  The scopes of work designed by Geo Forward are intended to meet all the legal requirements and standards.  The Geo Forward team is highly experienced with modern drilling methodologies and discrete sampling technology.

Depending on the site-specific characteristics and land-use history, a Phase II ESA can include testing of one (or a combination of) of the following medias: Soil Gas (Shallow and/or Deep); Soil; and/or Groundwater. Most (but not all) Phase II projects will also require a limited geophysical survey, to identify the precise location of underground features, such as tanks, utility lines, pipelines, etc.

If agreed by all involved parties, Clients can also request to customize scopes for a Phase II ESA.

Free Consultations

For more information about environmental due diligence for real estate transactions, or to learn more about the Phase II Subsurface Investigation process, please call (888) 930-6604 and speak with a professional geologist, engineer or environmental scientist. 


Forward-Thinking Geologists, Engineers & Contractors

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