When clients ask “How Much Does a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Cost?” there is no other way to answer than to say “It depends”. I know that’s an unsatisfying answer but stick with me! We’ll get you a better answer by the end of this, I swear.
But before we start, there’s some background information that you need or this isn’t going to make any sense to you.
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Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Background Info
A Phase II Environmental is the second “phase” of a process to determine environmental contamination on a (most often) commercial property. The first phase is cleverly called a “Phase I Environmental“. We get people who want to skip the Phase I Environmental and go straight to Phase II ESA. It’s a really bad idea in most situations. A Phase I Environmental informs an environmental consultant about the most important questions they can have, namely what kind of contamination are we suspecting, where are we suspecting it, how old is the contamination and who is the responsible party. All of this matters, a lot.
Suppose you already had a Phase I Environmental done and it calls out a few “RECs” which mean recognized environmental conditions. These RECs would be in the “Findings and Conclusions” section of the report. There are some important things you should know about.
Important Facts About Phase II Environmental Site Assessments
Just because you have a REC doesn’t mean you need a Phase II Environmental.
Sometimes you can have a REC on a Phase I Environmental and there’s nothing that needs to be done. There are many reasons for this but one reason we see frequently is the building is built lot-line to lot-line and there’s nowhere to drill.
Phase I Environmental reports are often wrong (both ways).
Environmental consultants make mistakes for many reasons. We have seen reports call RECs which we disagree with. Others should have called RECs but didn’t. You can find out about the quality of your Phase I Environmental Consultant by sending copies to other consultants while pricing the Phase II Environmental.
If you DO need a Phase II Environmental, you can (and should) shop around.
Everything you need to price out a Phase II Environmental is inside the Phase I Environmental report. You should shop around and talk to at least 3 companies. The sales team will answer your extensive questions and it will make you a smarter buyer when talking to the other companies. Make them work for it. Just because a company did the Phase I Environmental report does not mean you HAVE to give them the Phase II Environmental work.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Cost Components.
What are we looking (sampling) for?
This seems like a basic question but it drives the costs in a major way. When laboratories test for what is in soil or groundwater, there are hundreds of things they can be looking for. Are we looking for automotive fuel indicators? Are we looking for heavy metals? How about dry cleaning fluid or heating oil. Knowing what we are looking for is why we do Phase I Environmentals in the first place.
Where are we sampling?
Again, these are things people who are not in the environmental consulting business don’t think of. Is the contamination outside? Is it in a basement? Warehouse? Do we need to core through concrete with rebar in it? How big of a hole will we need?
How big of an area are we sampling?
This is another way of asking how many holes we will need to drill and how many samples we will take. Each sample we take needs to be tested at a laboratory for every analyte we decide to test for. The bigger the area and the wider the lab testing, the higher the cost as we multiply lab costs against holes drilled.
How much equipment will we have onsite?
Often we need to do ground penetrating radar tests for underground tanks. Sometimes we do electromagnetic survey to find metal piping in the ground. Sometimes the work we do needs to be done with small equipment to fit in small places and it needs to be carried in by hand. Other times we can use large tracked equipment and roll it through a vacant lot with impunity. All of this affects the costs.
How many times do we need to come back?
Sometimes a job requires that we come back several times to test wells. Sometimes we need to come back because we found something we weren’t prepared to find when we are onsite. Finally, one of the requirements of getting a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter is to delineate the extent of contamination. We might find ourselves “chasing” a plume of pollution until we run out of time and need to come back. There are times when the State makes us come back and do more sampling.
How far is your project from your consultant? From your driller?
In the environmental consulting business we call getting from our office to where we are doing the Phase II Environmental a “Mobe” or “Mobilization”. Mobilization costs are a function of how far you are from the equipment and talent needed to do the job. We have performed projects on the Canadian border in North Dakota. Others are easily done in downtown Chicago.
Vision / Strategy
What are your intentions with the Property?
I think this is the most important part of building a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment cost. Your strategy for the project will drive how wide our lab results need to be, how many samples we take, and if we come back. You need to have a good long conversation with your environmental professional before you ask for a price so they can narrow the scope and reduce the price to exactly what you want to pay for.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Cost Average Range
As I had mentioned, it really depends on the scope and other factors listed above in order to get you a good price quote. However, we have found your average Phase II Environmental Site Assessment cost is between $4000 and $12,000 historically. I know that’s a huge spread but at least I didn’t tell you it was going to cost $50,000. Your best bet is to call us and talk through the project. We’ll get you a price or find you someone who will.
If you need Phase II Environmental Site Assessment costs, 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.