Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment  | Phase 1 ESA

A phase one level environmental site assessment is done to provide information regarding the current or past uses of a commercial real estate transaction in regards to environmental concerns. The purpose is to determine if uses have effected the soil and or groundwater under the property and if that could be a threat to human health or to the environment. 

Issues can pose a liability to the owner and/or to the lender as well as the value of the property.

Have a Phase 1 ESA completed prior to closure of the purchase can be used to satisfy the requirements of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) innocent and owner defense. This is the initial step in the process of environmental due diligence. Helping to protect the buyers and banks from liability.

The purpose a of Phase 1 Assessment is to determine if existing or potential environmental contaminations liabilities are present for a specific location. 

The Phase 1 Professional conducts an assessment of the location and a review of records to determine likely evidence of environmental contamination. 

Phase 1 ESA standards

There is a new standard for Phase 1 Assessments. Every 8 years, the standards are looked at, evaluated and updated to clear up any issues or ambiguous wording. The new standards were passed November 1, 2021. The new standards will be ASTM E 1527-21. The EPA will be reviewing the new standards and they should be approved sometime in the first quarter of 2022.

The new standards have not changed much. There is a requirement to research all four historical resources for the subject property that include aerial photos, topographic maps, fire insurance maps and city directories. This new standard will also apply to adjoining properties.

In addition to the extra requirements for the records search, there is to be more effort put into title searches. This does not fall to the Environmental Consultant, but to the purchaser of the property. This search is also to go back to 1980.

Environmental Consultants of Ohio can assist companies doing the Phase 1 Assessments by doing the site visit and taking the photos needed.