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Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is a report developed for commercial or industrial properties that may have environmental contamination liabilities. This investigation, sometimes called ESA, usually addresses both the land as well as physical improvements to the property.  Analysis of land includes testing for soil contamination, groundwater quality, surface water quality and even issues related to hazardous materials.  If you are buying or refinancing a property most often a bank will require you to preform a Phase I Site Assessment.  The reason for the requirement is to ensure safeguards and controls to limit potential environmental liabilities associated with real property.

Environmental Contamination can have significant adverse effect on the value of real estate and in certain situations cause a lender or owner to be directly liable for the environmental cleanup of the property.  This costly cleanup may exceed the entire amount of the loan many times over.

What is actually done during a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?

The Phase I is a property assessment that includes a walk through of the property and associated structures; a review of historic property information including maps, aerial photos, and deeds.  Most often, a review of other contaminated properties in the vicinity of the property being inspected.  Also needed is a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) to review prior reports and the review of local, State and Federal files pertaining to the property address.

Phase I Environmental Site AssessmentOne method for finding out if there is contamination is to preform a Test Boring. Test Borings or Borings determine if contamination is present underground.  It is a simple procedure of drilling holes in the ground with the intent of testing the soil and water underground. Borings are just one part of a Geotechnical Investigation that also can include surface exploration like geologic mapping and photogrammetry.  Soil Sampling and Laboratory Tests are then preformed to see if the soil and or water is contaminated.

In the State of Illinois, the Illinois EPA and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency are the two major agencies that monitor reported contamination on properties.

Items evaluated in the Phase I report include: underground storage tanks, aboveground storage tanks, drains, pits, spills, in-ground and aboveground equipment, petroleum and chemical use, and environmental liens.

Should I have a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment preformed if I intend to purchase a property?

Yes… A site assessment will protect you form purchasing a property with major headaches and save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you do not preform a Phase I and contamination is found the remediation costs can be quite substantial. Millions of dollars to do a complete remediation can put a person or company out of business.

Bottom line is: if you have a Phase I Investigation done by a qualified Environmental Consultant  before you buy that property, and no evidence of past releases or contamination is found from past or present uses at the property, then you won’t be held liable for that past contamination after the property is yours.

If you’re looking for an environmental consulting company with experience and expertise and are in the market for a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment in Illinois, please call 630-346-5551 or email brian.morin@eagleecllc.com.  Eagle Environmental Consulting is one the most experienced and competent Environmental Consultants in Illinois.

For additional information please check out www.eagleecllc.com.