If you’ve made the decision to purchase a piece of land to use as a commercial business, your banker may require you to get a Phase I ESA before signing off on your loan. Why is that, you ask? This …Read More
Frequently Asked Questions For Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
Are you considering a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment in Northern California? If so, there are a few things you should know about the process. If you are in need of an ESA, you probably have a number of different questions. Fortunately for you, this page has been specifically designed to answer all of the questions that you may have.
Our goal is always to provide our clients with a focus on providing them with the confidence they need to make a purchase and the peace of mind that is necessary for moving forward with their plans. By offering high quality services, competitive rates, and a turnaround time that will work for even the quickest of purchases, the team at Nelson Enviro is here to answer every question you have in order to set yourself up for a successful transaction. We don’t cut corners around here and there is nothing we love more than setting our clients up for success.
Of course if you have any specific questions, our goal is to help in the best way possible. No matter the situation, we’d love to speak with you directly if that’s what you would prefer. Learn more about who you will be working with at Nelson Enviro and then don’t hesitate to contact us today to get started or keep reading to learn a bit about the specifics of a Phase I ESA. We look forward to helping you make the right decision!
One: What Is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?
Also commonly referred to as a Phase I ESA, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment report is conducted for real estate transactions to identify potential and/or existing environmental contamination issues. What that means is that as a potential buyer, you are protected against anything that could cause problems in your future property before any issues ever arise.
In short, having a Phase I ESA means that you have all of the facts necessary before making such a big decision. After all, a piece of property is likely one of the biggest purchases you will make in your life. Therefore it makes sense to do everything you possibly can to learn all about this property before finalizing the sale.
You may also hear a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment referred to often as either a Phase I or simply as an ESA depending on who you are talking to. To put it simply, the report you will receive typically addresses issues on the underlying land, structures, and other improvements on the land.
In other words, it provides you with information about the land that you wouldn’t otherwise know. In many cases, the owner or owners selling this property may not have all of the information that you would find necessary before making a purchase. Having an ESA done means that if there are any secrets that the land is hiding, you will know exactly what they are, ensuring that you are able to make a wise decision and possibly saving you quite a bit of money in the long run.
Two: Why is a Phase I ESA Required?
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment may be required for a variety of reasons. The most common of these reasons being during the purchase of commercial real estate. In other words, what this allows is for the buyer of the property and the potential lender to understand their potential liability before making a huge decision. In short, having an ESA done means protecting all parties involved from entering into a deal that would not be in anyone’s best interest.
In many cases, by showing due diligence, a purchaser or lender may qualify for CERCLA Innocent Landowners Defense designed to allow the owner of the property to defend against environmental liability created by a third party. When all parties need to understand the level of risk they might incur, the purchase of property goes much more smoothly.
To put it simply, a Phase I isn’t always going to be required, per se, but it will always be in the best interest of a potential buyer to have every bit of information that he or she can about a piece of property before making a purchase. After all, don’t you believe that you deserve to know how the land you are considering purchasing has been used in the past? We believe that this is an absolute necessity.
Three: What is Involved in a Phase I ESA?
The goal of a Phase I as defined by ASTM Standard 1527-13 is to identify “recognized environmental conditions”. What are “recognized environmental conditions? More on that shortly, but what you can expect to be involved in a Phase I is that our team will gather information from as many sources as possible in order to come up with enough information to help the potential buyer make an informed decision.
Most cases will involve us doing research into State and Federal government databases. We will also perform a thorough on-site environmental analysis of the property in question to see what information we can find that will be relevant to a potential buyer. At Nelson Enviro, we also believe that it is incredibly important to conduct interviews with owners, operators, and occupants of the property in question in order to gain as much information as we possibly can. After all, you never really know exactly who is going to have new information that could prove helpful for a potential buyer who is considering things from all angles before committing to buy. We will also conduct interviews with local government officials to make sure all of your bases are covered.
By identifying any existing liabilities on your property, you will have all of the information you need in order to make an informed decision.
Four: What Are “Recognized Environmental Conditions”?
We mentioned recognized environmental conditions above, but what are they exactly? Recognized Environmental Conditions– or RECs as they are often called–are the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate an existing release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the property or into the ground, groundwater, or surface water of the property.
That means that if the property you are considering was used as a gas station in decades past, our goal is to find out about it. You deserve to know exactly how the land you’re considering purchasing has been used because it may affect how you are able to use the land moving forward. If you have specific plans–and sometimes even if you don’t–you still have a right to know everything there is to know about the land you are considering purchasing.
Recognized Environmental Conditions can include a number of different hazardous or potentially hazardous substances that might make your project hard or impossible to complete. In other words, we are looking for anything that could cause you problems down the road. By ensuring that you know what you are getting into, you can then make an informed decision about whether the piece of land in question will still work for you or whether you would rather back out and find the property that is more suited to your specific uses.
Five. Does a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Include Testing?
As we have mentioned above, a Phase I ESA consists of research of past and present uses of the property where we will really dig into all of the resources available to us to learn everything we can about the piece of property you are considering purchasing. Generally speaking, doing this type of research tells us everything there is to know about the piece of land in question and it provides potential buyers with all of the information they need to ensure that they are making a wise choice.
In general, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment does not include testing of any materials, soil, or water.
Six. What Happens If You Find Something While Performing a Phase I ESA?
An opinion by an Environmental Professional is a part of a Phase I report and is considered standard practice. This opinion indicates whether further investigation is warranted, allowing the potential buyer to move on to the next steps in order to determine the full extent of what type of work might be needed. What this means is that if you would rather not move ahead with further investigation because the land does not suit your needs, you have all of the information necessary to make that decision.
The Phase I report should also have recommendations regarding the need for further work. In other words, the team at Nelson Enviro will provide you with a full list of companies that you could contact in order to move forward with more testing if you’re still on board with potentially purchasing the piece of property in question.
You deserve to know as much as possible before making such a big decision and when you choose to work with Nelson Enviro, we’ll make sure that you are well equipped to make an informed choice. Our goal is always to ensure that our customers have the knowledge they need to make the choices that work best for them. No matter what your profession is or what you plan to do with the space you are considering purchasing, you deserve to have the facts in front of you so that your business can thrive. When you work with Nelson Enviro, you can expect nothing less.
Seven. Who Regulates the Process and is the Phase I Environmental Report Written to a Certain Standard?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (commonly known as or referred to as the EPA) has written standards of what must be included in a Phase I ESA. ASTM International has developed a Standard Practice (E1527-13) in order to define good commercial and customary practices for conducting an ESA on a parcel of commercial real estate with respect to the range of contaminants within the scope of the “Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act” (CERCLA) and petroleum products.
In other words, you can expect that when you work with Nelson Enviro, you will be receiving a report that has been written with the highest possible standards of quality in mind. What that means is that we understand that you have a big decision to make in front of you. We believe that you should arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can possibly have in order to be certain that you are making the right choice for yourself and for your business. You deserve to thrive in your new location and we will make sure that you have all of the information that is necessary to help you as you begin the process of making a decision.
If Recognized Environmental Conditions exist (see part three above for more info on this subject), you should know about them before you move forward. Our report to you will be as thorough as it can possibly be in order to move forward equipped with the knowledge necessary to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are making the right choice. Our mission of identifying existing and potential environmental liabilities of both land and facilities on any commercial or residential property is incomplete unless we provide our clients with a thorough report on the topic at hand.
With a focus that has always been specifically targeted at providing buying confidence and peace of mind for our clients, we strive to ensure that the Phase I ESAs that we provide our customers with are both in-depth and thorough. Quality, knowledgeable service, competitive rates, and quick turnaround times for our reports are all daily expectations at Nelson Enviro, LLC. We also take a lot of pride in not cutting corners or taking shortcuts to save time or money, but instead we devote all of our resources, knowledge, and efforts to our most important client – you. It’s as simple as that.
Eight. What Is Not Included in a Phase I ESA?
Certain issues are outside of the ASTM E1527-13 Scope of Work of a Phase I ESA. Environmental issues include environmental concerns identified during the course of the Phase I Site Assessment that warrant discussion but do not qualify as Recognized Environmental Conditions, as defined by the ASTM International Standard E1527-13. The Standard includes Section 13, Non-scope Considerations such as Asbestos-Containing Building Materials, Lead-Based Paint, Mold, Radon, Wetlands, and Threatened Species that are not part of the required ASTM International Scope of Work.
In other words, we will provide you with as much information as we are able to, but you should know that there are some pieces of information that we won’t have. Having a Phase 1 Environmental Study done is a means for controlling environmental liability for lenders, buyers, insurers, and investors. By showing due diligence, a purchaser or lender may qualify for CERCLA Innocent Landowners Defense designed to allow the owner of the property to defend against environmental liability created by a third party. Environmental assessments help to protect lenders, buyers, and sellers. It has become common practice to have property evaluated by an environmental professional because doing so allows all parties to understand the level of risk they might incur.
This means that we will do a search of State and Federal government databases, conduct an on-site environmental assessment of the property in question, speak with owners, operators, and occupants of the property, and speak with government officials as well. Generally speaking, we can get all of this information together and compile it into a report for our clients in around 14 business days depending on the amount of work that needs to be done. Sometimes we can get this information much quicker and sometimes it may take a bit longer in order to ensure that we get you all of the information you need. Of course we will be in contact with you and we are always happy to provide estimates and keep you updated and informed as we do our work. If you are working with a specific timeline, please let us know, because we will do our best to accommodate you. Learn more about this process below in step number ten.
Nine. How Much Does a Phase I ESA Cost?
One of the most commonly asked questions that we are asked about Phase I Environmental Site Assessments is how much they cost. Unfortunately there are a number of factors that should be considered and it can vary significantly from one situation to the next. A number of factors are taken into consideration including the location of the property in question, how big that property is, and how easy it will be to gather information from the relevant regulatory agencies.
Of course we would be glad to provide you with some more information or a quote. All it takes is a quick trip to our contact us page to fill out our form. Just give us your name, email address, and phone number along with a bit of information that you think would be relevant and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Prefer to speak on the phone right now? Not a problem at all. Give the team at Nelson Enviro a call at 209-222-3324.
Ten. How Long Does It Take To Get a Phase I ESA Report?
There is no hard and fast rule about how long it takes to get your ESA Report back, but generally speaking, turnaround times range from two to three weeks. A number of factors can cause this timelines to change, but once again, we would be happy to provide you with a more accurate estimate if you’d like to get in touch with us.
We regularly conduct various levels of environmental inquiries in order for you to know exactly how the piece of land you’re considering was used in the past. We’ve been in business for nearly three decades and we always work hard to meet the needs of each and every one of our customers. You deserve to work with a company who has built a reputation around integrity and honesty and that’s exactly what you get when you choose Nelson Enviro. We are a family owned business who takes pride in hard work and we’d love nothing more than to help you out with your next project. When you need the help of a Certified Environmental Hazardous Materials Technician for your next Phase I ESA, look no further than our team.
Have a question or comment about one of the topics mentioned above? We’re always here to help ensure that your next project is a massive success. Give us a call today at 209-222-3324. We look forward to working with you!