What is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and When do I Need One?

Posted in Blog

If you are a banker, real estate agent, community developer, or in a related profession, you may have heard the term Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). You’ve probably scratched your head and thought, what the heck is this and why would I need one?

A Phase I ESA is a document that outlines the historical use of a site and the potential environmental concerns. The writer of a Phase I ESA uses historical photographs, city directories, interviews, a site visit, and more, to make their assessment. This document can easily be between 20-30 pages (not including appendices) and sometimes concludes with a recommendation for soil and groundwater sampling, if the preparer’s investigation points to possible environmental conditions of concern.

Often a Phase I ESA is part of a real estate transaction including a property refinancing. If you are thinking of purchasing a property, or if you are securing a loan from a bank to purchase or refinance a property, it is usually recommended that you hire an environmental professional to conduct the investigation and write the Phase I ESA. If you do not perform a level of due diligence consistent with the most recent American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard for Phase I ESAs, you could potentially be held liable for a site that has contamination. If you are involved in the property transaction, having a Phase I ESA written will provide a much clearer picture about the Property and what environmental risks are associated with your prospective purchase.

Do you need a Phase I ESA completed or have additional questions? Contact Impact7G at 515-473-6256 to talk to an employee about your project.  Impact7G is a firm dedicated to informed environmental decision-making and we look forward to assisting you.

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