Frequently Asked Questions
I. Who can conduct Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment under the EPA law?
According to the All Appropriate Inquiries or AAI Rule (40 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 312), only individuals with the appropriate college degree and the required work experience in environmental assessments can conduct Phase I ESA reports. If the assessor does not meet the qualifications of an Environmental Professional, then the report will be invalid and will not qualify the owner for the Landowner Liability Protection (LLP). LLP is the main reason for conducting the Phase 1 report. Also this report is conducted to indentify potential significant environmental liabilities that may exist in the subsurface at the subject property.
II. What is a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment?
This report adheres to ASTM Standard E-1527-13, which adheres to the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule that went into effect on December 31, 2013. It includes a site inspection; interviews with owners, occupants, environmental agencies and neighboring properties; review of environmental databases; analysis of local geologic conditions; and review of historical records for the subject property. The purpose of the report is to determine if there are any known or potential significant environmental liabilities at the property. These liabilities can occur as regulatory-mandated cleanup, toxic-tort liability (civil), regulated waste, human health exposure, land-use limitations, and potential civil liability for devaluing nearby properties. The report should adhere to the ASTM standard in order to provide for Landowner Liability Protection and FDIC-member banks require this report.
III. Can asbestos techs, mold techs and home inspectors conduct Phase 1 ESA reports under the EPA law?
No. According to the AAI legislation, these individuals cannot conduct Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment reports. This and other problems are why the law was written into code on November 1, 2005. These individuals who do not understand soil and groundwater contamination and liabilities should not be issuing opinions on these issues based on their qualifications in other fields. Because so many inaccurate reports were placed into the market by these unqualified people, numerous lawsuits and environmental problems have occurred causing financial disasters and the lowering of industry standards. If your report is not conducted by an Environmental Professional, you may not qualify for Landowner Liability Protection in the future.
IV. What is a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment report?
When a Phase 1 ESA report finds a "Recognized Environmental Condition," a Phase Two Environmental Site Assessment report is typically recommended, in order to screen the soil and/or groundwater for potential significant environmental liabilities, whether they may be regulatory-mandated cleanups or toxic tort liabilities. These reports usually consist of using a drill rig or hand auger to collect shallow soil samples to determine if previous storage and use of chemicals at a property has released regulated substances into the ground that may be affecting the value of the property.
V. How long does it take to complete a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment?
Our turnaround time for completing a Phase One ESA report anywhere in the United States is typically two weeks. However, if our search for files at the local environmental agencies indicates a file for the subject property, it may take a little longer (usually an extra week) because of scheduling an appointment to view the file is dependent on government agency appointment availability.
VI. What is the difference between Phase 1 and Phase Two Environmental?
A Phase 1 Environmental report includes an inspection of the property, historical use research, analysis of local groundwater conditions and review of nearby known environmental liabilities that may be impacting the value of the property throughout land used limitation, potential cleanup costs or civil or tort liability, due to offsite migration of contamination. A Phase 2 Environmental report consists of collecting soil and/or groundwater samples to determine if significant amounts and concentrations of contaminants exist at the property.
VII. Why do I need a Phase 1 Environmental Assessment?
The main reason for ordering the Phase I report is to protect yourself from some unknown liability that may be associated with soil or groundwater contamination. This is why lenders require this environmental assessment report. They want to know the "true value" of the property before underwriting the loan. They also want to make sure there is not a liability that could occur from offsite migration of contamination.