Get The Most Out of Your Phase I ESA

Thursday, April 28, 2016

By: Mike O’Connell, P.G.

It is no secret that the Phase I environmental site assessment has for years been viewed by users and provided by environmental firms as a standard, low-cost commodity that fulfills the requirements of the ASTM standard. However, there is additional value to be gained by shopping the service around and identifying firms with professionals that may be able to provide greater insight beyond potential recognized environmental conditions (RECs).

When a Phase I is being conducted, a user can take advantage of the fact that an environmental professional (EP)—with possibly a very diverse range of experience—is going to be visiting the site. Many items that may be of interest from an overall business risk or operational perspective can be identified by an EP (for little or no additional cost) even though such items may not be within the scope of the ASTM Phase I standard. Site characteristics such as storm water and waste water management, potential for asbestos-containing material or lead-based paint, possible wetlands, potential permitting requirements, and regulatory compliance are all things that experienced EPs commonly note but do not discuss or research any further as they are outside the minimum scope of the Phase I.

To maximize the amount and usefulness of information you obtain from your Phase I, it can be very helpful to discuss areas of particular interest and/or communicate any plans for development or intended property use with your consultant beforehand. If time permits, researching the qualifications of an environmental firm or the EP to ensure the knowledge and expertise of the project team is compatible with the types of concerns/conditions that may be encountered at a site can be time well spent.

With proper planning and regular client communication, PSARA Technologies commonly provides additional “out-of-scope” information gathering and consulting to many of our clients. Common out-of-scope considerations include SPCC requirements, mold/asbestos, wetlands identification, drinking water testing, wastewater system evaluation, and underground storage tank (UST) system compliance. Contact Mike O’Connell of PSARA at (513) 791-4418 or for more information about PSARA’s due diligence services.