Environmental Site Assessment Services for Commercial Real Estate
Choosing the appropriate Environmental Site Assessment for your property prior to a real estate transaction is key to gaining protection under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act’s (CERCLA) innocent landowner liability protection, and obtaining financing from you financial institution.
ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (E1527-13)
The purpose of the Phase I site assessment is to identify recognized environmental conditions at the subject property. As defined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard Practice E 1527-13, a recognized environmental condition means the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances (as defined by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act [CERCLA]) or petroleum products in, on, or at a property 1) due to any release to the environment; 2) under conditions indicative of a release to the environment; or 3) under the conditions that pose a material threat of a future release to the environment. The non-CERCLA issues of radon, lead-based paint, lead in drinking water, mold, and asbestos are not included in this standard assessment, but GeoServices can assist you in the sampling and analysis of these issues, if requested.
Our baseline Phase I Environmental Site Assessment meets the data collection requirements of both ASTM Standard E 1527-13 and USEPA “All Appropriate Inquiries” (AAI) Rule 40 CFR Part 312 (CFR – Code of Federal Regulations) and typically includes the following elements in order to identify areas of recognized environmental conditions:
- Review of files from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), federal and state environmental databases, published geologic, soils, and hydrogeologic information, and historic maps and photographs.
- Interviews with persons familiar with the property.
- Reconnaissance survey and visual inspection of the property, including all structures on the property.
- Written report detailing the results of the investigation, including recommendations for any additional work, as necessary.
Should there be knowledge of a release or potential release at a site, further investigation should be undertaken. The Phase II Environmental Site assessment (ASTM E-1911) uses the information gained from the Phase I ESA to conduct necessary soil and/or ground water sampling.
A quicker option for a bit of peace of mind, offering limited due diligence, is the ASTM Transaction Screen (E-1528-14). The transaction screen is for properties with no history of impacts and involves the completion of a five-page survey by several persons knowledgeable of the site. It is important to note that this process does not provide relief under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act [CERCLA], but may be accepted by some financial institutions.