What does an environmental consultant do? Across the United States environmental consultants provide their clients with expert assessment and advisory services on matters concerning the management of environmental issues. Environmental consulting includes field and desk-based research in order to produce a scientific report that identifies risks that would result in legal action or fines, ensures compliance with current laws, and preserves health and safety. In general, environmental consultants assess if water, air, or land contamination has a significant impact on the area and future development.
When might you need an environmental consultant? Common reasons an environmental consultant may be needed include environmental audits, regulatory and legislative compliance, identifying unknown contaminant sources, as well as property transactions and development.
Environmental consultants conduct various assessments and testing to determine an environmental risk. The most common methods utilized in the Denver area include Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), Phase II Environmental Testing, Radon Assessments, and Asbestos Surveys.
- Phase I Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I ESAs are prepared for a commercial real estate holding and will identify exisitng or potential environmental contamination liabilities. Phase I ESAs assess both the land and the physical improvements on the subject property. Most reports are performed to meet the standards of the ASTM E1527-21 but can be customized to meet individual client or agency lender’s requirements. Partner is the national leader in Phase I Environmental Site Assessments by volume, as well as the #1 provider of ESAs in Colorado.
- Phase II Environmental Testing: A Phase II report is typically conducted after a Phase I ESA has identified contamination liabilities. Phase II testing utilizes a geologist to drill and sample soil, soil-vapor, and groundwater in order to test for contamination. A Phase II report will then evaluate the presence or absence of contamination based on the testing results. Partner performs Phase II Environmental Testing either in support of a financing decision or to meet the requirements of the Colorado Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA). Specific to Denver, the state of Colorado has its own Hazardous Waste Act (CHWA) separate from federal laws with independent authority to regulate and enforce cleanup. You will need an environmental consultant who is familiar with CHWA specifications and can navigate Colorado clients through the process if needed.
- Radon Assessments: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil that can enter a building from the soil beneath it. Many Colorado counties fall within the EPA’s Radon Zone 1 and could potentially have high levels of radon, representing a concern to indoor air quality. Radon testing can be performed for commercial and multi-family residential properties. In the state of Colorado, an environmental consultant testing for radon must be licensed under the director of the division of professions and occupations in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
- Asbestos Surveys: Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that resists exposure to fire, sound, water, and chemicals and has been used by manufactures to make various products. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause deadly diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Asbestos surveys can be added on to a Phase I ESA and address the risk of asbestos in commercial or multi-family residential properties. As part of a Phase I, Partner regularly performs a visual evaluation of accessible areas for the presence of Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACMs). Should it become evident that Asbestos-Containing Materials may be present, Partner can perform sampling and testing to evaluate if Asbestos-Containing Material is in fact present.
The Denver metro area is an important market as it is constantly growing and expanding. Having a track record of being one of the best long-term real estate investments in the United States, Denver is home to many qualified environmental consultant firms. When choosing an environmental consultant in Denver, it is a good idea to go with a firm who offers the above services and is familiar with the area. Partner has a strong presence in Denver and provides a wide range of services, including those discussed above, as well as much more in support of commercial real estate