In the State of Michigan, any property which is known to contain contamination at concentrations which exceed the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Part 201 Residential Cleanup Criteria (RCC) is defined as a “facility.” Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) of 1994 contains two sections (Part 201 and Part 213) which allow potential or recent purchasers to own a property without being liable for the cleanup of existing contamination if a Baseline Environmental Assessment (BEA) is conducted and disclosed to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
Baseline Environmental Assessment
There are some circumstances where liability is not covered by a BEA such as properties utilized as landfills, disposal facilities, treatment facilities, and facilities which are subject to underground storage tank (UST) operational requirements. Reach out to us if you believe your property falls under these categories and we can guide you in determining if a Baseline Environmental Assessment (BEA) can be conducted.
To conduct a BEA for a property, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) must be performed within the last six months. The Phase I ESA includes the review of the historical investigations at the property and evaluation of the analytical data obtained. Should a Phase I ESA identify a new Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) at the property which indicates that a new release of hazardous materials has taken place, a Phase II ESA will be recommended prior to the preparation of a BEA. The Phase II ESA will be performed to evaluate the REC and identify any new contamination at the property.
Once the Phase I ESA and Phase II ESA (if applicable) have been conducted at the property, the preparation of a BEA can commence. It is important to note that the BEA must be conducted within 45 days of purchase. The BEA will summarize all environmental conditions, contamination, and analytical data pertinent to the property. All analytical data will be compared to the applicable MDEQ Part 201 RCC. The BEA will include a scaled site plan which depicts the historical sampling locations, exceedance locations, and any additional environmental data which may be pertinent, such as existing engineered barriers. The BEA will then be disclosed to the Michigan Department of EGLE.
Due Care Obligations
While the Michigan Department of EGLE will be in receipt of the submitted BEA, the prospective or recent purchaser is still responsible for Due Care Obligations at the property. Due Care Obligations include the implementation of health and safety practices to mitigate exposure of any occupants to the contamination identified at the property. These actions may include the maintenance or installation of engineered barriers, restriction of construction activities which may exacerbate the existing contamination, or property use restrictions. Due Care Obligations may include additional subsurface investigations should a new environmental condition arise at the property.
The owner/operator of the property must maintain a copy of the Due Care Plan at the property at all times. The Due Care Plan must also be readily available to any prospective purchaser or Michigan Department of EGLE representative upon request.
A3 Environmental Consultants Can Support Your Baseline Environmental Assessment Needs
A3E performs over 800 Phase I ESAs in any given year. While not all of these require BEAs, the ones that do are in capable hands with the A3E team. From industrial facilities to gas stations, dry cleaners to warehouses, if you have environmental due diligence needs, we can support your projects. Call us at (888) 405-1742 or email Info@A3E.com.