In the United States, an environmental site assessment is a report prepared for a real estate holding that identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. The analysis, often called an ESA, typically addresses both the underlying land as well as physical improvements to the property. A proportion of contaminated sites are "brownfield sites." In severe cases, brownfield sites may be added to the National Priorities List where they will be subject to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program.
Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments are a common requirement today for most real estate transactions. Typically, the purchaser or the bank that is financing the purchase will require a Phase 1 assessment of the property to qualify for the CERCLA "Innocent Land Owner Defense", which is designed to allow the owner of contaminated property to defend against liability for hazardous substances that were put on the property by an unrelated third party. Property is site inspected by our certified Environmental Inspector, and a thorough mile radius survey is compiled from state and federal historical data of properties with underground storage tanks/wells, or hazardous chemicals.
The actual sampling of soil, air, groundwater and/or building materials is typically not conducted during a Phase I ESA. The Phase I ESA is generally considered the first step in the process of environmental due diligence.
If a site is considered contaminated, a Phase II environmental site assessment is recommended, ASTM test E1903, a more detailed investigation involving chemical analysis for hazardous substances and/or petroleum hydrocarbons.
Pricing: Typical pricing for a property of 2-5 acres ranges $1,500 - $2000, depending if there's a building on the land, and what the building is being used for.
Report Turnaround: Depending on the time of year, and client load, a Phase 1 ESA report takes 7 - 10 business days for delivery to client.
- Performance of an on-site visit to view present conditions (chemical spill residue, die-back of vegetation, etc.) ; hazardous substances or petroleum products usage (presence of above ground or underground storage tanks, storage of acids, etc.); and evaluate any likely environmentally hazardous site history.
- Evaluation of risks of neighboring properties upon the subject property
- Review of Federal, State, Local and Tribal Records out to distances specified by the ASTM 1528 and AAI Standards (ranging from 1/8 to 1 mile depending on the database)
- Interview of persons knowledgeable regarding the property history (past owners, present owner, key site manager, present tenants, neighbours).
- A comprehensive report with findings and recommendations is delivered via email within 7-10 business days depending on complexity and size of site.
- If a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment is needed, other recommendations and planning is made.
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