The goal of performing an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is to identify potential environmental liabilities associated with a property’s current or past use. This could include such liabilities as illegal dumping, leaking underground storage tanks, and/or abandoned landfills. The cost to restore these properties when contami-nation is present generally rests on the current landowner. Therefore, the small and prudent costs to perform a thorough ESA can lessen the risk associated with a pro-spective purchaser unknowingly acquiring an environmental liability. Overall environ-mental liability reduction can be accomplished through the following types of ESAs
Transaction Screen Process ESA
An ESA Transaction Screen Process is a limited inquiry, and less expensive than a Phase I ESA, that may be used when both the buyer and seller agree that the potential of identifying a recognized environmental condition is unlikely. The Transaction Screen Process involves interviewing the owners/occupants of the property, visiting the site, and a brief inquiry into government records. The Transaction Screen Process will conclude that either (1) no further inquiry into recognized environmental condi-tions of the property is needed for purposes of appropriate inquiry, or (2) further in-quiry is needed to appropriately assess recognized environmental conditions to satisfy due diligence. If the second conclusion is determined, a Phase I ESA is recommended.
Phase I ESA
There are four major components are involved in a Phase I ESA: a comprehensive records review, a site reconnaissance, interviews with current and past owners/occupants of the site and local government officials, and a final detailed evaluation re-port. BAY will provide a statement, as required in ASTM Practice E1527, with the Phase I ESA report identifying that (1) no evidence of recognized environmental con-ditions in connection with the property were found or (2) a list and interpretation of recognized environmental conditions.
BAY’s ESA is designed to meet the requirements of ASTM E 1527-13, Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process, to provide due diligence for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensa-tion, and Liability Act (CERCLA) innocent landowner defense. This process also incor-porates and is consistent with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) All Ap-propriate Inquiry, as mandated by the passage of the Brownfield Act in 2002.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)
Phase II ESAs are performed if a potential environmental concern is known to exist or was identified while performing a Phase I ESA. A typical “Phase II” is somewhat com-mon phrase in the industry for performing a limited subsurface identification of prop-erty conditions and can be performed without the inquiry of a Phase I ESA . Phase II ESAs generally consist of collecting soil and groundwater data. Laboratory or field analysis is used to determine if there are environmental impacts.