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Houston, Texas Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

Partner is the national leader in Phase I Environmental Site Assessments by volume and with a strong presence in the Houston area, Partner can often customize reports to meet individual client or agency lender’s (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) requirements (usually performed to meet the standards of ASTM E1527-21) while taking the widely varying geology and topography of Texas into consideration.

A Houston, Texas Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is a process for identifying potential environmental hazards on a property. It is typically required by lenders before they will approve a mortgage for a commercial property, and it can also be helpful for homeowners who are considering buying or selling a property.


Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (Phase I ESAs) in the Houston area should be conducted by a local expert who is knowledgeable on the historical and regulatory environment. These unique requirements may identify superfund sites, industrial activity, and regulatory concerns for property owners. The process includes the following steps:
  1. Records review: The environmental professional will review historical and current records to identify any potential environmental hazards on the property, such as previous environmental assessments, hazardous waste disposal records, and underground storage tank records.
  2. Site inspection: The environmental professional will conduct a visual inspection of the property to identify any potential environmental hazards, such as stained soil, stressed vegetation, or abandoned drums.
  3. Interviews: The environmental professional may interview current and former owners, occupants, and neighbors to gather information about the property's history and any known environmental issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Phase I ESAs are essential to understand any environmental liabilities associated with a property. Houston, like many urban areas, has a history of industrial and commercial activities that may have left behind environmental issues. Identifying these issues early can help property buyers or developers make informed decisions.
Phase I ESAs in Houston are conducted in accordance with federal regulations outlined in the ASTM E1527-13 standard and may also consider state-specific regulations.
Environmental consultants collect information such as historical property records, aerial photographs, government agency databases, interviews with current and past property owners or occupants, and site visits to assess the property's current conditions.

Digging Deeper


More on Houston, Texas’ Phase I ESAs
  1. Houston, Texas known as the energy capital of the United States, is strategically located near major refineries and oilfields, resulting in an extensive and far-reaching subsurface oil and gas pipeline network. However, subsurface pipelines present various environmental challenges that must be accurately delineated to ensure proper maintenance and monitoring.
  2. Houston has a unique approach to land-use regulation, characterized by the absence of traditional zoning laws. Instead of comprehensive zoning regulations, Houston follows an “unzoned” or “no zoning” land-use planning model. This means that commercial, residential, and industrial activities can coexist in close proximity, which presents challenges, especially when high-risk sites like gas stations, factories, and oil-change facilities are located directly adjacent to residential properties. This differs significantly from other areas in the country.
  3. Texas, and particularly Houston, is experiencing rapid population growth, with an estimated 1.5 million people migrating to Houston in the last decade. This population shift has led to new commercial development, often on previously undeveloped land. One of the significant risks associated with this development is flood mitigation. Houston has faced widespread flooding events in the past eight years, with Hurricane Harvey in 2017 as a notable example. Floods not only result in acute on-site environmental issues like mold, but they can also lead to broader problems, including contamination due to the extensive oil and gas operations throughout the city.

Consider hiring an experienced professional in Houston for your commercial real estate due diligence needs.

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