What is a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment?
Environmental site assessments (ESA) are reports that identify potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities and any environmental problems. The analysis, often called an ESA, typically addresses both the underlying land as well as physical improvements to the property. A proportion of sites that have contamination are “brownfield sites.”
The Phase I ESA is generally the first step in the process of environmental due diligence. Standards for performing a Phase I site assessment have been set forth by the US EPA and are based in part on the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) in Standard E1527-13.
Steps of an ESA
A Phase I consists of five basic components: (1) a review of local, state, and federal government environmental records; (2) a review of historical sources pertaining to past site uses and environmental issues; (3) interviews with owners, occupants, and other individuals in regard to property history, property use, and environmental issues; (4) a site reconnaissance to identify present and past uses and recognize environmental conditions, if present; and (5) prepare a written report describing the Phase I procedures, findings, and conclusions.
Following the completion of a Phase 1, if a site has contamination, a biologist may conduct a Phase II environmental assessment following the scope of ASTM test E1903, which investigates chemical analysis for hazardous substances and/or petroleum hydrocarbons.
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