Phase I and Phase II ESAs can be utilized by lending institutions for establishing risk during property transactions. ESA activities provide the lender with thorough knowledge of the environmental condition of a property, as well as any risk(s) posed by local processes or activities. Phase I and II ESAs include the preparation of a comprehensive report including recommendations for the site if an environmental concern is identified relating to the site following ASTM 1527-05 standards.
Phase I property surveys entail characterizing the subject property for impact by a process or activity currently or formerly performed on or in the vicinity of the site location. Typical Phase I assessments consist of a site walk-through, which identifies items of potential environmental risk. Structures such as UST fill ports and delivery systems are noted, denuded or stress vegetation, obvious spill locations and non-natural features are also noted for evaluation. Phase I assessments include a historical background check of the property with a regulatory environmental record review of the site and surrounding properties to identify the location of previous spills or releases, UST Facilities, and current sites under environmental investigation. Review or aerial photographs can also be performed to help identify potential risk(s).
One example of ECE’s invaluable success to our clients includes The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC-W), which was to be gifted a piece of property in the Wilmington area. ECE’s Phase I ESA investigation revealed the subject property had been used for illegal dumping of solid and hazardous materials. Ultimately, UNC-W declined the property to avoid accepting the property’s environmental liability.
Phase II property surveys include all information and activities entailed by a Phase I survey, with the addition of on-site intrusive assessment. This may include the installation of soil survey points for the investigation of targeted contaminants, and/or monitoring wells or well-points, for the collection and evaluation of groundwater samples.
Recently, East Coast Environmental completed a Phase II ESA at an industrial site being considered for a cellular tower location. The investigation revealed extremely high metal levels in soil and groundwater samples. The cellular tower declined this location in order to avoid environmental liability.