Omega Environmental Services, Inc. (Omega) is a full-service environmental management and hazardous materials consulting firm. Omega’s staff has decades of experience assisting clients in performing crucial environmental due diligence when conducting a real estate or business transaction. A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is the first step in this process which usually takes place when purchasing or leasing land, buildings, or businesses, taking out bank loans, or when planning to develop vacant land.
A Phase I ESA can be used to satisfy the requirements of CERCLA’s (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) innocent landowner defense under the All Appropriate Inquiries Act (AAI). Omega conducts Phase 1 ESAs in strict compliance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E 1527 standards.
The purpose of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is to determine whether a recognized environmental condition (REC) exists on the site, which is defined by ASTM as “the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on, or at a property”. A REC poses a threat if it has been released into the environment or has the potential to do so in the future.
Components of a Phase I ESA
Omega’s environmental professionals will consider the following when conducting a Phase I to ensure compliance with ASTM and CERCLA AAI standards.
- A thorough site visit to determine current and past conditions and uses of the site and adjacent properties
- Review of databases from federal, state, local, and tribal authorities to determine potential sources of contamination, including aboveground and underground storage tanks, known or suspected chemical releases on the site, and the use, storage, or disposal of hazardous substances on the site
- Review of state and local agency records, including government environmental agencies, health departments, and fire departments
- Review of historical records, including aerial photographs, site plans, hazardous material manifests, and other environmental records
- Interviews with current and past property owners, occupants, or neighbors
- While not required under ASTM, Omega may conduct evaluations for asbestos containing materials (ACM), lead based paint (LBP), and mold growth
When conducting a Phase I, Omega staff investigate for evidence of contaminants of potential concern including petroleum products, PCBs, radiological hazards, metals, volatile compounds, solvents, pesticides, asbestos, lead, mold, and any other hazardous materials.
Once the assessment is complete, Omega will provide a report detailing the findings of the assessment, and whether further action is necessary, such as a Phase II or Phase III ESA.
Contact us before your next property transaction to take the first step in environmental due diligence and to avoid costly environmental liability in the future.