You are asking an unintentionally difficult question. In order to answer it we need to know what “Environmental Investigation” you are talking about. If you’re looking for environmental investigation of products like cell phones, you’re in the wrong spot. If you’re talking about commercial real estate, soil or groundwater environmental investigation, read on…
Environmental Screen (ES)– Also known as Environmental Radius Searches or Environmental Desktop Reviews. These are typically done in 24 hours but they don’t really qualify as an “environmental investigation” because it’s all done with database work, remotely.
Record Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA) – These are typically done in 5 business days. They are a middle step between an Environmental Screen and a full Phase 1 ESA. Once again, these are done remotely with a heavy duty database research. There’s no testing involved.
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA): Phase 1 ESAs are done in 10 business days typically but we’ve been able to do them in 5 business days (one week). The fastest we’ve ever gotten one of these done is 3 days. Even though we are onsite with a scientist looking for past, present or potential future impacts of contamination to a property, it’s all visual. There’s no Phase 1 Testing, we don’t take samples.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA): Well, you’ve finally found where we do actual testing but chances are good you already had your question answered above. Most people aren’t concerned with how much time it takes for an environmental consultant to do their job until there’s a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) that requires a Phase 2 ESA.
Phase II ESA Environmental Investigation Time Table:
- Scope of Work (SOW) : 1 Day – The scope of work is where we determine what we will be sampling for, where we’ll be sampling and how we will go about doing the work. Pro tip for those of you who need Phase 2’s is to discuss at length your goals, hopes and dreams with your project manager who is scoping the project. There are narrow scopes and wide scopes with different prices for both. Depending on what your plans are going forward it can be less expensive in the long run to do a more expensive Phase 2 investigation in the short term.
- Price Quote: 2 Days – Generally there are subcontractors involved in Phase 2 ESAs. Sometimes it’s drill rigs, sometimes Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). These subcontractors provide their own pricing and need to work up quotes for us before we can get back to you. They are typically pretty quick about it but generally need 48 hours.
- Contract Signing: (unknown) Sometimes getting a contract signed can be the longest part. Typically these environmental studies take place as part of a commercial property transaction. Both the buyer and the seller are working hard to force the other to pay for the environmental due diligence. We have a whole dissertation on the best way to negotiate the costs away here.
- Scheduling the Work: (7 – 14 Days) Unless you’re interested in paying more for a rush (which is always possible), you are at the mercy of the schedules of the drill rigs. Drill rigs work hard to be booked up as far into the future as possible. We need to find a hole in their schedules that fits with the job size. In addition, it takes 48 hours to have the crews come out and locate the utilities. This can happen concurrently with the schedule but puts a hard barrier to starting your project at 48 hours, even if you pay for a rush.
- Doing the Work: Doing the work typically takes only one day.
- Getting the Analytical back from the Laboratory: (7 Business Days) Once we take the samples, it’s all up to the laboratory to get the analytical done so we can review it and get you your report. You can rush the analytical and depending on what we are sampling for can get it back in 1 to 3 days.
- Writing the Report: (5 Business Days) Typically clients are looking for answers, not necessarily reports. Within 24 hours of receiving the analytical from the lab we can tell you what the report will say. Writing the report is just a formality to getting the answers.
The bottom line for how long it takes to do environmental investigation is; the fastest you can have answers is about 6 business days with a report in 11 days. Going at a regular speed you are looking at 28 business days. That’s about 5 weeks on average. It won’t matter who you use for your environmental consulting, that time frame is pretty accurate.
Chances are, if you need environmental investigation, this just threw a wrench into your timetable for acquisition or sale of the commercial real estate.
If you need a Environmental Investigation, research or testing done on your property or one you are interested in purchasing, give A3 Environmental Consultants a call. We’ll get your project done with the utmost in confidentiality, we’ll meet or exceed ASTM Standard E1903-19 on any sort of commercial or industrial property. Our Assessments 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.