Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) have been commonly performed on commercial properties since the 1970s but normally only on high risk sites. The need for ESAs increased due to the promulgation of standards such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) in 1980. In the 1990s, the methodology for conducting ESAs was standardized under ASTM E1527: Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process. The purpose of an ESA is to identify potential environmental concerns prior to the purchase of a commercial property. If environmental concerns are identified, a site sampling may be conducted under ASTM E1903: Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process. The most common reasons for performing an ESA include:
- Purchase of realty property by a person or entity not previously on the title.
- Concerns from a new lender on providing a loan for the property.
- Buyout or redistribution of property.
- Application for change of use under a land permit.
- Desire to understand the toxic history of the property.
- Pushed for by regulatory agencies.
- Divestiture of properties
Steps in the ESA Process Include:
- Records review: Federal, State, Local, and Tribal records for areas 1/8 to 1 mile surrounding the site.
- Site Reconnaissance (onsite inspection) of subject and surrounding properties.
- Interviews with persons knowledgeable regarding the site history (past/present owners, key site managers, tenants, neighbors).
- File searches with public agencies such as fire departments and county officials.
- Review of historical aerial and topographical maps.
- Chain of title searches for Environmental Liens or Activity Use Restrictions.
EES has over 30 years of combined experience in conducting both Phase I and Phase II ESAs, allowing us to provide cost effective services to both public and private entities.