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ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

The staff at Service Environmental Engineering has many years experience performing ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs). These assesments are an integral first step in exercising due diligence. The obligation of property ownership creates liability , if there is a threat of environmental impact and the associated clean-up. Buyers, financiers, developers, operators, tenants, and owners have become increasingly concerned about the environmental status of their real estate. An ASTM Phase I ESA provides research to determine the potential for environmental risks associated with a property.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) has been interpreted to require lenders, lessors, and buyers to be responsible for hazardous substance remediation. Performing an ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment(ESA) may create an 'Innocent Landowner Defense', and protect buyers and lenders from hidden contamination, while allowing for a more accurate valuation of the property.

The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1998 requires ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) be completed by purchasers of certain commercial properties. Purchasers of residential properties may be exempt from this specific standard, but it is strongly recommended to have an ASTM Phase I Assessment(ESA) completed prior to beginning new residential developments, or before purchasing housing adjacent to a commercial property or environmentally questionable land or business.

Risk Determination

Service Environmental Engineering, Inc. provides an ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) to determine the risks associated with a property. Our Phase I ESA includes the following:

Service Environmental Engineering, Inc.'s ASTM Phase I Assessments meet or exceed the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) E 1527-13, Standard Practice for ASTM Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs): Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process (which was implemented in 2013) and E 1528-14 Standard Practice for Limited Environmental Due Diligence: Transaction Screen Process.

Recognized Environmental Conditions

To reiterate, the term Recognized Environmental Conditions means the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on or at a property due to release to the environment, under conditions indicative of a release to the environment, or under conditions that pose a material threat of a future release to the environment. The term is not intended to include conditions that generally do not present a threat to human health or the environment and that generally would not be the subject of an enforcement action if brought to the attention of appropriate government agencies. Conditions determined to be de minimis are not Recognized Environmental Conditions. The following scope of work has been conducted to satisfy the following objectives:

A Records Review is conducted to obtain and review records that will help identify Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) in connection with the subject property.

A Site Reconnaissance was conducted to obtain information indicating the likelihood identifying Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) in connection with the subject property.

Interviews, when possible, with the current occupant and/or other knowledgeable parties were conducted and a written questionnaire was submitted to obtain information about uses and conditions of the subject property.

A Report is completed that includes a description off all evidence of Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs), Historical Recognized Environmental Conditions (HRECs), Controlled Recognized Environmental Conditions (CRECs) and the environmental professional’s opinion and conclusion of the impact of any RECs in connection with the subject property. HRECs are a past release of hazardous substances or petroleum products addressed to the satisfaction of regulatory authority and meets unrestricted use criteria. HRECs have no required controls (AULs, etc...). CRECs are RECs resulting from a past release addressed to the satisfaction of the applicable regulatory authority and have hazardous substances or petroleum products left in place subject to the implementation of required controls.

The ASTM Transactional Screen Process is inexpensive and fast to complete and can be performed by an individual that is not an environmental professional. Yet, loan officers for lending institutions and real estate professionals generally require a full Phase I Environmental Assessment (ESA) prior to obtaining a loan for a real estate property transaction. Service Environmental Engineering can usually perform them, in most cases, within three weeks from start to finish.

Even though there may not be any Recognized Environmental Conditions associated with a subject site, it is possible there may be threats from surrounding properties. Your Phase I for a property may not reveal any RECs that might affect the buyer and lending institution and at the same time the environmental professional may recommend an ASTM Phase II to determine if the nearby property conditions could negatively affect the subject site in the present or in the future. Steps would be recommended to avoid and/or reduce the risks to the subject property.

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