Phase I Site Assessments

One of the most commonly conducted inspections is the Phase I Site Assessment. Requested by bankers, real estate professionals, business owners, and other stakeholders in industrial, commercial, and agricultural properties, a Phase I Site Assessment provides peace of mind. When making such large moves as starting a business, moving business location, or buying a farm or ranch, having the assurance that the site is clear of environmental contaminants or potential problems is important to the value and enjoyment of your new property. Bankers and brokers can feel secure knowing that the investment they are about to make is free of any potential worries down the road.

In addition, Phase I Site Assessments (Phase I ESAs) satisfy the requirements of the innocent Landowner Defense to liability imposed by the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), which ensures your future financial security and prevents any future liability.

What is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)?
A Phase I ESA is a study of a property to identify potential or existing environmental liabilities. Although the ESA typically addresses both the underlying land as well as physical improvements to the property, the scope of work does not include actual collection of soil or groundwater samples or chemical analysis of any kind.

What is included in a Phase I ESA?

  • Site walk: The outdoor and indoor areas of the property are inspected for evidence of spills of hazardous substances or petroleum products, such as soil staining and petroleum odors, leaking containers, pipes or other evidence of underground storage tanks. The surrounding properties are also visually inspected from the property boundary or intervening streets.
  • Regulatory Research: Federal, state, local, and tribal environmental records are reviewed out to distances ranging from 1/8 to 1 mile, depending on the database.
  • Historical Research: Interviews of past and present owners, occupants, and neighbors are conducted. In addition, a historical review is conducted via air photos, reverse phone books, fire insurance maps, and topographic maps.
  • Records Review: Local building plans and permits, health department and fire department records, and tax and title information, including environmental liens are reviewed.
  • Report: The findings of the research, including any recommendations for further investigation, are summarized in a report along with site photographs and other relevant documentation, in accordance with a standard set forth by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Practice E 1527-05, Phase I Site Assessment.

Great Plains Environmental