Basic Elements of Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments

If you’re preparing to purchase your first piece of commercial property, you’ve probably been told you need to perform a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). This process is not required for residential real estate transactions, so it’s only natural if you’re a bit confused about what’s involved.

A Phase I ESA is typically the first part of an environmental due diligence process mandated by the Superfund Cleanup Acceleration Act of 1998. This evaluation is designed to identify any previous environmental issues at the site, so you know the true value of the property.

You’ll need to hire an expert to conduct the assessment who meets the terms of environmental professional as defined under 40 CFR 312.10. Perform background research on the person or firm before making a hiring decision, to ensure they know what they’re doing.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

In a Phase I ESA, interviews are conducted with neighbors, occupants, local government officials and current owners to learn more about the property and its history. A site inspection is performed and public records are analyzed to find out what the land and adjacent properties were used for in the past. In some cases, sampling and laboratory analysis may take place at this stage, but not always.

This process is incredibly labor intensive, so don’t expect it to be completed overnight. Your Phase I ESA should be started as soon as possible, to allow plenty of time for a thorough investigation.

Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

A Phase II ESA is only conducted if any potential contamination by hazardous materials is detected on the site. In this second phase, sampling and laboratory analysis is used to determine whether or not the site has been contaminated. This may involve a host of different tests, such as drum sampling, surficial soil and water samples, and the testing of underground storage tanks.
The results of Phase II will determine the next steps you’ll need to take before purchasing the property — if you’re still interested despite problematic results.

Contact Eco-Rental Solutions for an environmental rental, sales, and service partner you can trust. Our team is pleased to provide you with an efficient, user-friendly rental and sales process that will to save you time and money.