Partner has a growing presence in the California capital of Sacramento. The Sacramento team provides Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), Phase II Investigations, Property Condition Assessments (PCAs), Asbestos Surveys, Lead Testing, ADA Surveys, Seismic Evaluations, and Zoning Services in support of local and nationwide commercial real estate transactions.
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.
2) 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 lookup 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.
3) 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.
4) 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.