All Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment which which are properly prepared will comply with ASTM E1527-13, while large primarily undeveloped land may be researched under the requirements in ASTM E2247-16.
These land uses have historically employed chemicals which could cause contamination.
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A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment could be considered a non-invasive study of the property, meaning excavation or sampling are usually not conducted. Rather, historical records, landowner interviews, in-person site visits, permit history, and government databases are typically utilized in order to understand potential contamination risks.
Upon completion of a Phase 1 ESA, the property will either be determined to be clean, or will demonstrate the presence of a “Recognized Environmental Condition” (REC). If contamination (REC) is discovered in the soil or groundwater, a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment may be required. A Phase 2 ESA would be considered more invasive than a Phase 1 and will include collecting physical samples of soil, groundwater, vapor, and/or building materials for analysis.
Completing a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment is a critical part of property due diligence. Prior to purchasing a property, the prospective owner will want to know the risk profile, or, alternatively, to be assured that there is no environmental risk present.
Typically, you’ll need a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment in order to obtain funding for a commercial land purchase unless waived by a lender. In most cases, Phase 1 ESA’s are not required for residential lot purchases (but homeowner within subdivisions should understand that a Phase 1 ESA was most likely prepared as part of the purchase of the original development land).
When completed as part of a financial real estate transaction, a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment can be used to satisfy the requirements of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA’s) innocent landowner defense under All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI).
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