Frequently Asked Questions
I. Who can conduct Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment under the EPA regulation?
According to the All Appropriate Inquiries or AAI Rule (40 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 312), only individuals with the appropriate education and the required work experience in environmental assessments can conduct Phase I ESA reports.
II. What is a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment?
This report adheres to the latest ASTM Standard E-1527-13, 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 disposal, human health exposure, land-use limitations, and potential civil liability for devaluing nearby properties.
III. Can asbestos techs, mold techs and home inspectors conduct Phase 1 ESA reports under the EPA law?
No. According to EPA regulations, these individuals cannot conduct Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment reports. This and other problems are why the regulation 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. The Environmental Professionals who conduct Phase 1 reports should include their statements of qualifications in the report to verify their adherance to the regulation.
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 to three 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 an unknown environmental liability that may be associated with soil or groundwater contamination.