The objective of the site assessment is to evaluate the environmental status of a commercial or industrial property prior to transfer. Most lending institutions require an environmental assessment of commercial and industrial properties prior to granting loan commitments for transfers or improvements.
Environmental assessments are generally performed in several phases. The first phase (Phase I) comprises a review of historic environmental records for the property and surrounding area to identify and locate recognized environmental concerns that could affect the subject property, which is part of the “due diligence” effort required to establish the innocent property owner defense for the buyer and/or lender. AG adheres to current ASTM standards in conducting the historical research for Phase I projects unless modified at the request of the client. The Phase I research typically includes review of records at regulatory agencies, other readily available historical documents and aerial photographs related to the property, and conducting personal interviews with persons knowledgeable of past and current usage of the property. The Phase I is completed with a site reconnaissance, which is usually conducted towards the end of the investigation.
A written report summarizing the findings and including recommendations regarding further investigation, if deemed necessary, is provided. The report represents a “due diligence” effort to ascertain the environmental condition of the property.
The Phase II Environmental Assessment is initiated at the client’s discretion to determine whether any gross contamination exists in the soil and/or ground water at the site related to potential concerns identified in the Phase I report. This phase involves sampling and analysis of vapor, soil and/or ground water samples. If encountered, the delineation of the impacted media is performed as specified below.
If soil and/or ground water has been contaminated, an accurate assessment and characterization of the impacted area/zone is imperative. Typically, assessment services range from soil-vapor analysis to drilling of exploratory borings and installation of monitoring wells to meet the following objectives:
- Delineate the vertical and lateral extent of the contamination plume.
- Determine the distribution and concentrations of the contaminants and calculate the volume of the impacted soil/ground water.
- Determine the approximate volume or mass of the released contaminants in both soil and ground water.
- Devise a remediation method that best addresses the issues of soil and/or aquifer characteristics and the physical properties and concentrations of the contaminant(s), and is cost-effective and minimizes disruption of normal site usage.