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You are here: Home » Locations » Irvine, California » Irvine California Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

Irvine, California Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) in Irvine, California, is a standardized process conducted to assess the environmental condition of a property or piece of land before any real estate transaction or development takes place. It is typically performed to identify potential environmental risks, liabilities, or issues that may affect the property’s value or usability. The assessment is guided by ASTM International’s Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments (ASTM E1527-13).

When selecting an environmental consulting firm to perform your Phase I Environmental Site Assessment in California, you should either choose a California firm or at least a non-California firm that is intimately familiar with CA regulations


The Phase I ESA Scope includes the following:
Site Visit
  • Inspection of the Site by an Experienced Inspector
  • Catalog the Presence of Hazardous Materials or Petroleum Products
Historical Research
  • Historical Aerial Photographs
  • Reverse Street Directories / City Directories
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
  • Topographical Maps
  • Building Permits
  • Planning Records
  • Department of Oil and Gas Maps
  • Interviews
Geology and Hydrogeology
  • Soil Type
  • Geological Setting
  • Groundwater Depth
Regulatory Research
  • Fire Departments
  • State Environmental Agencies
  • Federal Environmental Agencies
Interviews and Document Review
  • Interview Tenants and Owners
  • Interview State and Local Regulators
  • Review Provided Reports

Frequently Asked Questions

A Phase I ESA can help to identify potential environmental hazards and liabilities that could impact the value or use of a property. It can also help to reduce the risk of costly surprises down the road.
Some specific environmental hazards that may be identified during a Phase I ESA in Irvine, California include: * Leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) * Hazardous waste disposal sites * Contaminated soil and groundwater * Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) * Lead-based paint (LBP) * Mold growth
The best way to find a qualified environmental consultant to perform a Phase I ESA is to contact the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). The DTSC has a list of qualified consultants on its website. Once you have found a qualified consultant, you should schedule a consultation to discuss your specific needs. The consultant will be able to provide you with an estimate of the cost and timeline for the Phase I ESA.
* Gather as much information about the property as possible, including historical records, environmental reports, and site plans. * Be prepared to answer questions from the environmental consultant about the property's history and past uses. * Identify any areas of the property that you are concerned about, such as areas where hazardous materials may have been used or stored.

Digging Deeper

Here are the key steps and components of a Phase I ESA in Irvine, California:

  • Site Inspection: Environmental consultants visit the site and conduct an exhaustive visual inspection of the property and its surroundings. They examine historical land use records and maps to identify any potential sources of contamination.
  • Historical Records Review: Consultants research historical records, including property deeds, building permits, and aerial photographs to uncover any past uses of the property that might have resulted in contamination.
  • Interviews: Interviews with current and past property owners, as well as local officials and neighboring property owners, are conducted to gather information about potential environmental concerns.
  • Regulatory Research: Consultants check local, state, and federal environmental databases to identify any regulatory actions or environmental violations associated with the property.
  • Environmental Liabilities Assessment: The assessment aims to identify recognized environmental conditions (RECs) or conditions indicative of potential contamination. RECs are conditions that could represent an environmental risk, such as underground storage tanks, hazardous materials storage, or evidence of spills.
  • Geological and Hydrogeological Conditions: Consultants evaluate the geological and hydrogeological conditions of the site to determine if there are any factors that might impact groundwater quality or movement.
  • Report Preparation: A comprehensive report is prepared, summarizing all findings. The report typically includes a description of the site, findings from the site visit and research, conclusions about the presence or absence of RECs, and recommendations for further action if necessary.
  • Recommendations: Based on the findings, the Phase I ESA may recommend further investigation, such as a Phase II ESA, if there are indications of contamination or environmental risk. Phase II involves sampling and testing to confirm the presence of contaminants.

It’s important to note that Irvine, California, may have specific local regulations or considerations that consultants need to take into account during the Phase I ESA process. Additionally, Phase I ESAs are often required for property transactions, as they can help potential buyers or lenders understand the environmental risks associated with a property. These assessments are typically conducted by environmental consulting firms with expertise in California’s environmental regulations and practices.

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