Phase I Environmental Site Assessments
Environmental Due Diligence
Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (Phase I ESA) are the central product in Partner's Environmental Due Diligence practice. Phase I ESAs are our core environmental expertise. Partner fully understands how the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report is used in the commercial and multi-family real estate industry.
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is the gold standard for evaluating the environmental liability associated with a real estate asset. Partner is truly an expert at the implementation of the ASTM 1527-2005 Standard. Our Phase I Reports are done by Environmental Professionals who meet the requirements of the EPA's AAI Standard.
Our experience in Phase I Environmental Site Assessments dates back to before the creation of the ASTM Standards. Having performed Phase I ESAs on hundreds of thousands of properties, we offer our clients a perspective on every property type.
All Appropriate Inquiries Rule
The EPA's All Appropriate Inquiries Rule governing the scope of Phase I Environmental Site Assessments went into effect on November 1, 2006 and provided specific scope requirements for a Phase I ESA to meet the requirements of CERCLA's innocent land owner defense.
In Partner's environmental risk practice, we help buyers meet the legal requirements for the CERCLA innocent landowner defense and we provide practical business advice on environmental liablity to our clients.
ASTM E1527 Standard
The ASTM E1527-05 Standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments has been accepted by the EPA as meeting the requirements of All Appropriate Inquiry. The latest revisions to the ASTM E1527 were done in 2005, and in 2012 the standard is currently under review for another round of potential changes. The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment scope of work is not anticipated to change dramatically and many of the potential changes serve simply to clarify language. However several potential changes could impact the way Phase I ESAs are conducted or written.
For example, a potential new category of Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) has been proposed: the Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition (CREC), which would apply to risk-based closures of contaminated sites. If adopted, this new term would impact the way findings and conclusions are discussed in the Phase I ESA Report, and could potentially impact the report user's understanding of environmental risk. Certainly the term would require some education of the industry.
Another potential change to the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment process is an explicit requirement for regulatory file reviews on adjacent properties. Many environmental consultants already perform these file reviews during the Phase I ESA when deemed appropriate due to high risk information being identified at the adjacent properties (such as a leaking gas station). However, an explicit mandate for these file reviews could impact the cost and timing of the Phase I Report, as well as the environmental consultant's liability.
A decision will have to be made in 2013 whether to adopt any changes to the E1527 standard, or renew the standard as is.
Phase I ESA Scope:
- Inspection of the Site by an Experienced Inspector
- Catalog the Presence of Hazardous Materials or Petroleum Products
- Historical Aerial Photographs
- Reverse Street Directories
- Building Permits
- Planning Records
- Topographical Maps
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
- Department of Oil and Gas Maps
- Title Information
Geology and Hydrogeology
- Soil Type
- Geological Setting
- Groundwater Depth
- Fire Departments
- State Environmental Agencies
- Federal Environmental Agencies
Interviews and Document Review
- Interview Tenants and Owners
- Interview State and Local Regulators
- Review Provided Reports
Limited Environmental Due Diligence Products
Not all circumstances require a full Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. If the user is not looking to qualify for CERCLA liability protection, such as many lenders conducting environmental due diligence for loan originations, a tiered environmental due diligence policy utilizing both the Phase I and limited-scope or "desktop" environmental reports can be successful at screening for high environmental risk properties. Read more about limited environmental reports.
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For More Information
- Pre-Lease Phase I ESA
- Phase I ESA for Foreclosure
- Fannie Mae Phase I ESA
- Freddie Mac Phase I ESA
- HUD Phase I ESA
- SBA Phase I ESA
- USDA Rural Development Due Diligence
- Regulatory Compliance Audit
- Large Parcel Phase I ESA
- Phase I Environmental Reports in Mexico
- Vapor Intrusion/ Vapor Encroachment Assessment