When purchasing, refinancing, or leasing a commercial property, we understand that not all transactions require a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) to the full ASTM E1527-13 standard. Environmental due diligence takes on many forms and that is why at Path, we work with the selected lending agency and the prospective purchaser of a new commercial real estate mortgage / commercial tenant agreement from the beginning to identify and customize the appropriate level of due diligence to meet the requirements of the loan and/or to obtain protections under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) as an innocent landowner, a contiguous property owner, or a bona fide prospective purchaser.
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Process
Listed below are the common options from the most complete-levels of environmental transaction due diligence to the lowest.
Gathers sufficient information to develop an independent professional opinion concerning the environmental integrity of a property. Complies with USEPA S&P for All Appropriate Inquire (40 CFR Part 312) and allows for the “innocent landowner” exemption following acquisitions.
ASTM E1527-21 / ASTM E2247-16
Used to identify Potential Environmental Concerns (PECs) to provide a screening tool for limited environmental due diligence for low-risk properties. Includes site reconnaissance, environmental database review, completion of an environmental questionnaire, and review of limited historical sources.
Does not qualify for Landowner Liability Protections (LLPs) under CERCLA.
Search of local, State, and federal regulatory databases vapor encroachment assessment, historical sources review, interviews with past and present property owners and of adjoining properties and other reasonably ascertainable documentation as described in ASTM E1527-21 / E2247-16.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Process
Oftentimes, the environmental due diligence process ends at the conclusion of one of the four processes shown above; however, should the initial environmental assessment process reveal recognized environmental conditions (RECs), among other environmental conditions, which indicate the presence, likely presence, or the material threat of release of hazardous materials and/or petroleum products to the subsurface of the subject property or migration on to the subject property (not including conditions determined to be de minimis in nature), a Phase II ESA and its appropriate level of scope will be recommended. The Phase II ESA process is designed to meet the unique conditions of the subject property to properly characterize the risk conditions found during the Phase I ESA process. Phase II ESA typically consist one or more of the following tasks:
Subsurface Investigation / Site Characterization
Soil, groundwater, and/or soil gas/subslab vapor collection and analysis for contaminants of concern. ASTM E1903-11
Sampling and analysis of drinking water and/or existing monitor wells for contaminants of concern (CoCs) discovered during the Phase I process.
Should the likely presence of unregistered / undocumented underground storage tanks (USTs) be determined, a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey can accurately identify the location of buried tanks and lines, among other subsurface anomalies.
Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), requests for a file review are sent to local and State regulatory environmental agencies during the Phase I ESA process. Should a responce be received from the agency with pertinent environmental information, these files will be requested and reviewed.
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