The environmental inspection is part of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). It’s just one component of what goes into the project. If you are asking how the whole process is done, look here. If you are really only looking for insight into the Environmental Inspection part of the Phase I ESA, you are in the right spot.
Choosing a Scientist for an Environmental Inspection.
When performing an environmental inspection on commercial properties, the difficulty of the project will determine who we send. Sometimes the environmental due diligence we perform is on restaurants, hotels, vacant farmland and real estate with historic residential uses. We would consider these projects “easy”. Junior staff get easier projects.
Our “Environmental Professionals” or EPs in industry jargon go to industrial properties because they represent more environmental risk. We send EPs to any projects with an automotive, industrial, chemicals, metals or dry cleaning component. We do this because the risk of environmental contamination is elevated at these types of commercial real estate.
Scope of Work for the Environmental Inspection.
Standard practice for a Phase I ESA is to take a series of pictures while performing the visual inspection.
- Adjoining Properties: We take pictures of adjoining properties to figure out what types of businesses they are and if their industry may pose an environmental risk to our subject property.
- Building Elevations: An elevation is basically one side of a building. We take pictures of all the sides of the building. We do this for multiple reasons, one of which is to see the utilities, storage facilities, tanks, breather pipes and other telltale signs of concern from uses on the property.
- Standard Pictures: We take pictures of bathrooms, breakrooms, office space, retail space, and storage space. We pay special attention to cleaning chemical storage. We don’t expect too many surprises when it comes to these spaces but it’s necessary to meet the ASTM Standard.
The ASTM is the governing body that sets standards for what’s included in Environmental Reports. It’s covered under what is known as All Appropriate Inquiry or AAI for short.
- Specialty Pictures: This is where the magic happens in a Phase I ESA. There’s a lot to cover, but this article only covers the high points.
- Floor Drains: Floor drains represent a pathway for chemicals to make it out into the wider environment.
- Elevator Mechanicals: Elevator Mechanicals are often hydraulic which involves oil under pressure. Leaks can occur and contaminate the wider environment.
- Industrial Equipment: Mills, presses and other industrial equipment use oils and chemicals as part of the process that can leak.
- Acids, Bases and Flammables Storage: We hope these are stored responsibly but we take pictures of them wherever they are.
- Petroleum Product Storage: Fuels and oils are some of the most common contaminants in the environment.
- Underground Storage Tanks (UST): Over time, steel walled tanks rust and leak. We look to document them because they are frequent risk vectors.
- Above Ground Storage Tanks (AST): These are safer than USTs but ASTs still represent a threat.
- Pits Ponds and Lagoons: Often the lowest part of a property, anything that is spilled usually winds up here.
- Stressed Vegetation: Stressed vegetation is representative of something in the soil or groundwater that is at high enough concentration to prevent plants from growing.
- Chemical Storage: Typically in 55 gallon drums, steel drums have a habit of leaking.
- Waste Streams: Documenting how a company handles its garbage streams is often a good insight into the risks a commercial property represents to a new owner.
- Waste Hauler Manifests: Manifests are a document showing how waste is disposed of. Pictures of these in good order are representative of good housekeeping.
- Waste Storage Areas: How a company stages their waste on it’s way to the appropriate landfill is a representation of good housekeeping practices.
If you’d like to see an in-depth video we use for training our new employees and associates check out the series below.
If you need an Environmental Inspection on your property or one you are interested in purchasing, give A3 Environmental Consultants a call. We’ll work to get your Environmental REC removed with the utmost in confidentiality, we’ll meet or exceed ASTM Standard E1527-13 on any sort of commercial or industrial property. Our reports meet the requirements of all lenders and government agencies such as the Small Business Administration (SBA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). A3 Environmental Consultants can be reached at (888) 405-1742 or by email at Info@A3E.com.