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You are here: Home » Locations » New York, New York » New York City NY Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

New York City, NY Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is a standardized process conducted to assess the environmental condition of a property, typically before a real estate transaction or development project. This assessment is carried out to identify potential environmental concerns or liabilities associated with a property. In New York, as in most places in the United States, Phase I ESAs are conducted following the guidelines established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) in ASTM E1527-13.

It’s important to work with experienced environmental consultants, like those at Partner Engineering and Science, Inc.’s New York City office, who are knowledgeable about New York’s specific regulations and requirements. They can guide you through the Phase I ESA process, help you address any identified environmental concerns, and ensure compliance with state and federal laws. The Phase I ESA is an essential step in protecting yourself from potential environmental liabilities when purchasing or developing property in New York.


The Phase I ESA Scope includes the following:
Site Inspection
  • Identify Any Potential Environmental Hazards
  • 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
Regulatory Research
  • Fire Departments
  • State Environmental Agencies
  • Federal Environmental Agencies
No Further Action (NFA) Letter (NY)
  • If the Phase I ESA does not identify any environmental concerns, the property owner may request a "No Further Action" (NFA) letter from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to confirm that the site does not require further investigation or remediation.
Interviews & Document Review
  • Historical and Regulatory Records
  • Property Deeds
  • Title Reports
  • Aerial Photographs
  • Sanborn Maps
  • Government Environmental Databases
  • Interview Tenants and Owners
  • Interview Former Employees

Frequently Asked Questions

No, a Phase I ESA is not required for all real estate transactions in New York City. However, it is often required by lenders for commercial real estate transactions.
The OER is a city agency that is responsible for overseeing the cleanup of contaminated sites in New York City. The OER also has a program for remediating contaminated sites that are being redeveloped for residential or commercial use.
The E-Designation program is a New York City program that allows for the development of contaminated sites for residential or commercial use. The program requires developers to clean up the site to meet certain environmental standards.

Digging Deeper

Once the records review, site inspection, and interviews have been completed, the environmental professional will prepare a Phase I ESA report. This report will summarize the findings of the assessment and identify any potential recognized environmental conditions (RECs). A REC is defined as the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on, or at a property.

If RECs are identified, the environmental professional may recommend further investigation, such as soil sampling or groundwater testing. This additional investigation is typically referred to as a Phase II ESA.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind about Phase I ESAs in New York City:

  • Phase I ESAs are typically required by lenders for commercial real estate transactions.
  • Phase I ESAs can also be required by government agencies for certain types of development projects.
  • The cost of a Phase I ESA can vary depending on the size and complexity of the property.
  • It is important to hire a qualified environmental professional to conduct a Phase I ESA.

If you are considering buying or selling property in New York City, it is important to understand the requirements for Phase I ESAs. By working with a qualified environmental professional, you can ensure that your transaction is conducted in a safe and responsible manner.

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