An Environmental Site Assessment or Environmental Impact Assessment is often preformed to ensure that decision makers consider the environmental impacts when deciding whether or not to proceed with a project. There are two types: Phase I Environmental Site Assessments and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments.
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is a fundamental part of the real estate due diligence process and provides important information about environmental liabilities associated with a property being purchased. The Phase I ESA is generally considered the first step in the process of environmental due diligence. In Illinois, standards for performing a Phase I site assessment have been set forth by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Purpose of the Phase I
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA) is an investigation of a property’s current and historical use. The process views and investigates a property in regards to former use in order to determine if there is a potential for hazardous conditions that might be present. Usually a Phase I environmental study involves an on-site inspection by an environmental firm with completed and detailed photos to document conditions.
If a Phase I ESA identifies Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) of the site by contaminants, a Phase II ESA may be conducted. The Phase II ESA includes sampling and laboratory analysis to confirm the presence of hazardous materials. Depending on the results of the samples, the Phase II ESA should outline additional site investigation needs, and potential remedial actions that may be required to clean up the property.
The biggest cause for concern for the regulatory agencies is contamination. Contamination can come from soil or ground water, most often times caused by a leaking underground storage tank or other industrial process. In Illinois and especially in the Chicago Metropolitan Market, Environmental Site Assessments play a very important role in real estate property transactions. The Illinois EPA is the agency responsible for enforcing contamination clean-ups and working with an Environmental Consultant who has the knowledge and experience with this state agency is very important.
Eagle Environmental Consultants can preform an Phase I Environmental Site Assessment in Chicago or surrounding areas to help you determine if a property is contaminated.
Process of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
- The first step of a Phase I ESA is a regulatory agency database report
- Inspection of Historical Aerial Images
- Assessment of Historical Fire Insurance Maps
- Examining City Directories for Past Land uses
For more information on Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, call the professionals at Eagle Environmental Consultants at (630) 346-5551.