What Are Environmental Site Assessments & Why Are They Important?
Environmental Site Assessments, or ESAs, investigate past and current uses of a commercial property to determine if the property has been affected by recognized environmental conditions (RECs). These assessments are essential in ensuring the surrounding environment is not negatively impacted. If you purchase a property where contamination has occurred, for example, you could be held liable, so, before investing thousands, or millions, of dollars, it’s recommended that you do your due diligence and ensure your property is environmentally sound.
The 3 Phases of an Environmental Site Assessment
Traditionally, there are three phases of an Environmental Site Assessment; Phase I, II, and III. Each phase can be integral in determining the property’s environmental condition and how to correct any issues. Therefore, it is critical that an appropriately credentialed consultant conducts each stage.
Phase I – Assessment
Phase 1 is the preliminary assessment. It begins with paperwork and a visual inspection. Investigators will audit historical records, past site usage, and other information to determine if contamination might have occurred at the property. This includes reviewing past operating records and discussing with past owners, occupants, and related government officials–if necessary. The onsite or visual inspection compares the current property conditions to the original site plans and includes assessing adjoining properties.
Phase I offers an idea of whether or not actual contamination has occurred, is present, or is likely to occur and whether or not further investigation is needed.