Environmental site assessments are normally prepared prior to transfer or financing of real estate and are conducted primarily to determine if a site has been used for hazardous waste disposal activities or contains hazardous materials which may be regulated under federal or state environmental statutes. Site assessments are designed to evaluate potential contamination, regulatory compliance, and potential liabilities.
The environmental statutory and regulatory framework has become more encompassing and complex over the past ten years. Virtually every business activity is confronted with environmental laws and reporting requirements, many of whom are not considered heavy polluting or smokestack industries. The courts and regulatory agencies with large fines, penalties, and judgments becoming commonplace have typically rejected pleas of ignorance by those who have violated environmental laws or rules. Even passive ownership of real property can make an innocent individual or company liable for enormous clean up costs.
Under the Superfund law, the present owner of real property can be held liable for improper chemical contamination that took place decades before the current owner came to own the property, even if the prior chemical disposition was legal at the time. Sophisticated lenders, real estate developers, and business leaders now undertake environmental assessments in conjunction with purchasing or lending on real property to avoid incurring substantial liability.
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)
The initial stage of an Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I Assessment) comprises a historical and visual review of the site. Typical tasks associated with a Phase I Assessment include:
Phase II and III Assessments
Phase II and Phase III Assessments generally occur due to the results of a Phase I Assessment. A Phase II Assessment can take a variety of forms. This can include subsurface investigations to determine the extent of contamination, air monitoring to determine if hazardous conditions exist, or testing of suspect materials for hazardous or toxic content. A Phase III action includes the design, regulatory filings, and actual removal or remediation of hazardous waste including underground storage tanks, asbestos, waste drums, and contaminated soils.
CAMBRIDGE SERVICES GROUP (CSG) will tailor environmental consulting services to meet the customer's requirements.