There are three phases for environmental investigations, conveniently called Phase I, II and III.
Phase I Environmental Assessment:
Phase I is an environmental audit. It starts with a database and historical record search. We request data from the city and fire department and an environmental professional walks through the site looking for past, present or potential future environmental concerns. There are no soil or groundwater samples collected in this step. If we find what is called a “REC” or Recognized Environmental Concern, we make a recommendation in the Phase I ESA report that further investigation should be completed to either confirm or deny the existence of the identified REC or environmental concern.
Phase II Environmental Investigations:
A Phase II is typically environmental investigations which involve collecting samples of soil, air or groundwater and sending it to a laboratory to confirm or deny the existence of an environmental concern. These results are written into a Phase II ESA report which will make recommendations based on the risks to health and human safety and regulatory compliance for your area, often the state the subject property is in, although federal, county and municipal concerns could also impact the findings.
Phase III Environmental Remediation:
There really is not an ASTM Phase III ESA. ASTM developed several standards that set forth the practice of remediation after a Phase II ESA which include site characterization, vapor screening, development of remediation strategies. But commonly, this is called a ‘Phase III’. The ‘Phase III’ is the environmental remediation phase. The remediation phase of an environmental cleanup usually goes hand in hand with the property being entered into the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) program or the Site Remediation Program (SRP)
If the Phase II ESA shows concerns that need to be rectified, your environmental consultant will offer a plan to move you beyond your environmental contamination issues. This might include digging out contaminated soil and hauling it away. Other options could be engineered barriers, biological remediation, or positive pressure venting of gasses. It all depends on the type of contamination you have, the media that was impacted, and the economics of what you are trying to accomplish.
Is there an Environmental Phase IIII (Phase 4)?
Not really. The phases end at 3. The Phase I and Phase II ESA are standards set by the ASTM which stands for the American Society of Testing and Materials. If your project moves beyond a Phase II ESA, your project will likely enroll into the regulatory agency that oversees the remediation of properties and their regulations will dedicate the remediation efforts that are completed.
Are there other types of Environmental Assessments that are less expensive?
YES. For a lot of the readers of this post, I have a hunch this is the real question you came looking for an answer for. There are three other types of environmental due diligence that you can do which won’t cost as much as a Phase I ESA.
- Environmental Screens (ES)– These are also called Environmental Database Reports. These range from $59 to $150 depending on whether you want an environmental professional to interpret the data that shows up on the report to evaluate it for environmental risk to your subject property.
- Record Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA) – These are products specifically designed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for low(er) cost environmental due diligence. They have an SBA standard procedure which is SOP 50 10 5K. This is different than an ASTM standard but they are still passable for many applications. They only cost $650.
Transaction Screen Assessment (TSA) – Not to be confused with the government agency that gets all handsy in the airport, this TSA is similar to the RSRA above only with a site visit performed by an environmental professional. Transaction Screens have an ASTM standard, E1528-14. They cost $850.
If you need a Environmental Investigations 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.