Partner has a strong presence throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The Oakland team provides Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), Phase II Subsurface Investigations, Property Condition Assessments (PCAs), Asbestos Surveys, Lead Testing, Seismic Evaluations, and Zoning Services in support of local and nationwide commercial and multifamily real estate transactions. The Partner Oakland office is led by Sau San, who has more than 15 years of environmental consulting.
1) Regional Water Quality Control Boards: In most states the regulations are statewide rules with maybe some variations for cities and counties. In California, the State Water Board grants a lot of power and autonomy to the Regional Water Quality Control Boards. The regional water boards are organized generally by watershed and may split counties. Water boards may have very different regulations. For example, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board developed Environmental Screening Levels (ESLs) for soil and groundwater contamination, whereas the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board uses different screening levels including Soil Screening Levels, CHHSLs for soil-gas (see below) and Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for groundwater.
3) CHHSLs: The California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the California Human Health Screening Levels (CHHSLs) in 2005. The CHHSLs provide the user with a chemical-specific look-up table for what levels of soil gas or indoor air concentrations represent a threat to human health. CHHSLs are not intended to be regulatory numbers but are often treated as such. CHHSLs are also famously conservative. You need an environmental consultant doing your Phase I ESA that knows how to interpret soil gas and indoor air data in relation to CHHSLs and this requires a lot of California experience.
4) CUPAs: Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs) have a lot of power in California. CUPAs are city or county agencies that have been more or less deputized by CalEPA to handle certain regulatory functions such as oversight for hazardous waste and hazardous materials standards as well as releases from underground storage tanks (USTs), termed leaking USTs or LUSTs. In Alameda County alone, there are seven different CUPAs. To do proper regulatory due diligence during a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment your environmental professional must understand the California CUPAs.
5) CEQA: The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is California’s equivalent of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment sometimes has to deal with CEQA/NEPA issues like wetlands, endangered species and/or historical resources as additional scope items.
Some recent projects and experience that provide insight into our robust Northern California consulting practice include:
PMLs for a Portfolio of Historic Buildings, San Francisco, CA
Partner completed 16 PMLs on multifamily properties in San Francisco. The buildings were built in the early 1900s and had several seismic risk concerns.
Phase I ESAs, Phase IIs and PCAs for a 42-site Newspaper Portfolio Nationwide
Partner completed a 42-site portfolio of Phase I ESAs and PCAs for newspaper companies located across the United States. About half of these sites were located in Northern California. Partner subsequently completed the Phase II investigations for the sites to address the recognized environmental conditions.
Equity Phase I ESAs, PCAs, and PMLs for a 24-site Portfolio in California
Partner completed a 24-site portfolio of equity-level Phase I ESAs, PCAs, and PMLs on office properties throughout California.
Phase I ESAs, PCAs, and PMLs for 30-site Portfolio Nationwide
Partner completed a 30-site portfolio located throughout the country, including Phase I ESAs, PCAs, and PMLs. The Phase I ESAs, PCAs, and PMLs were conducted for an equity client.
Energy Efficiency Projects Throughout the Country
Our sister company, Partner Energy, secured $13 million of ARRA grants and loans implementation of energy efficiency projects at low-income multifamily projects across the country.