As a business owner, we take many precautions to ensure our ventures are carried out efficiently, conscientiously, and diligently from beginning to end. If you find yourself purchasing commercial property, one of the most important steps before closing that contract is to make sure your property has been checked and cleared of any environmental risks. Doing so will protect your business from CERCLA liability.
In 1980 congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability act to hold innocent property purchasers accountable for environmental contamination, even if they didn’t cause the contamination themselves. Additional legislation called the AAI (All Appropriate Inquiry) was passed that required land purchasers to do their environmental due diligence before purchasing commercial property to stay in accordance with CERCLA.
Thus, the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was born. In order to avoid CERCLA violations, Phase 1 ESAs are highly recommended for your business. Phase 1 ESAs are evaluations and reports of environmental risks that a commercial property either currently, or in the future, faces. The Phase 1 ESA must adhere to certain government standards that ensure your commercial property and the surrounding structures are free of any environmental issues.
What are some of the considerations that come with a Phase 1 ESA?
- They aim to identify Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs)
- If the RECs from the Phase 1 ESA require further investigation, a Phase 2 assessment might be necessary
- Industrial and other high risk properties will require more time to review and will be more costly
- The ASTM requires an “environmental professional” to sign off on the report
- It’s extremely important to hire a company that has extensive experience with Phase 1 ESAs due to their naturally subjective nature. Ensuring a trained professional is performing the ESA will reduce subjectivity
- Phase 1 ESAs are only valid for six months and may be amended within one year of the report date
- If there have been any changes since the previous Phase 1 ESA, it may be more prudent to generate a new report
At Alpha Environmental, we take Phase 1 ESAs very seriously. Our experts generate extensive reports that may contain hundreds of pages of background and information on your property. Our reports are easy to understand and well organized, while still in compliance with even the most stringent financial institution’s requirements. We’re dedicated to ensuring that your property is scrupulously checked for any potential environmental risks.
If there are any environmental risks (RECs) detected during the Phase 1 ESA, Alpha Environmental can assist in carrying out your Phase 2 ESA. The environmental professional typically defines the scope of the assessment. They will carefully consider state-specific guidelines and procedures for environmental safety, while completing the tasks required in the most cost effective and efficient ways possible.
RECs can include environmentally hazardous materials or petroleum products. During a Phase 2 ESA, Alpha Environmental will carry out the following processes to properly identify the risks:
- Soil sampling and site characterization
- Soil testing, profiling, and disposal
- Groundwater remediation, sampling, and plume migration
- Well installation and monitoring
- Remediation design and management
- Regulatory agency interaction and site closure
- Brownfield assessment and redevelopment
- Risk assessment
- Vapor intrusion studies
When it comes to compliance, you’ll want to make sure you’re hiring a company who has been a dedicated professional in this industry for years. Alpha Environmental will do everything we can to ensure your commercial property is checked for environmental standard requirements so that you can keep your business running efficiently and professionally for generations to come.