July 30, 2020

Phase II Environmental Site Assessment – Still Managing Your Risk!

Blog ESA Phase II Blog ESA Phase II

Remember that popular vacant corner lot that we previously discussed in our Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) topic? Now that a Recognized Environmental Concern (REC) was noted within the initial Phase I ESA, a Phase II subsurface testing process can properly evaluate the noted impacts or any other concerns related to development or purchase of the property.

The purpose of a Phase II ESA is to determine the presence - or absence - of petroleum products or hazardous chemicals in the subsurface of a site. Phase II ESAs are generally completed in accordance with ASTM E1903-19 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process standard.

The Sampling Process

A Phase II ESA consists of collecting soil, soil gas, and groundwater samples and sending those samples to a certified laboratory to determine if the REC or other concerns may have caused any subsurface contamination. Predetermined sampling analysis parameters are based on existing and historical chemicals or petroleum products stored and/or used at the site. Typical Phase II ESAs include collection of some level of subsurface media but not necessarily all (soil, soil gas, and groundwater).

We base sampling locations on REC areas or where development activities may proceed. Samples are typically collected by hand-auger methods or various types of drill rigs. The type of drilling equipment used depends on the types of soil, location of sample, and overall depth of groundwater at the site. If contaminants are present in the samples above regulatory limits or through environmental field screening, we may need to collect additional samples at additional locations until the concern has been delineated both horizontally and vertically.

Once the extent of contamination has been documented by Phase II ESA activities, we can then either commence remediation activities or send the information in to the local regulatory agency for review. It’s best to conduct Phase II ESAs during the due diligence period of a property transaction, but they can also be conducted during construction or any other time to find out the environmental condition of a certain property.

Westwood has helped clients review environmental impacts at all levels of development and redevelopment, with the goal of understanding and managing project risks before too much time and effort has been spent. If you or your client are in need of further information or would like to schedule a Phase I/Phase II, please contact our experts.

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