phase i environmental site assessment training seminar

Download Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Training Seminar

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An introduction to the basic components of a Phase I Site Assessment


  • 1. BARRY ISETT & ASSOCIATES, INC. Consulting Engineers & Surveyors Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Webinar Presented by: Brandon Trate & Chris Kotch, P.G. Environmental Team Barry Isett & Associates, Inc.


  • The process by which a person or entity seeks to determine if a particular parcel of real property (including improvements) is subject to recognized environmental conditions (RECs).

What is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)? 3. A Key Term to Know:

  • Recognized Environmental Condition (REC):
    • The presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate an existing release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the property or into the ground, ground water, or surface water of the property.

4. WhoPerforms a Phase I ESA?

  • Possesses sufficient specific education, training and experience necessary to exercise professional judgment to develop opinions and conclusions indicative of a release or threatened release on, at, in or to a property.
  • Or possesses the following:
    • A Professional Engineers (P.E.) or Geologists (P.G.) license
    • A license or certification from the federal government to perform such assessments
    • Works under the direct supervision of the above accredited personnel
    • B.S. degree with 5 years experience or non B.S. degree with10 years experience performing ESAs.

A Phase Imustbe performed by anEnvironmental Professionalwho: 5. Whenis a Phase I ESA Performed?

  • Prior to a real estate transaction (commercial)
  • When a lender provides a loan for the property
  • When a property owner wants to know the environmental history of the property
  • When a property use is changed or re-zoned
  • When applying for grant money or other government funding

6. Whyare Phase I ESAs Performed?

  • To evaluate the property for potential environmental contamination.
  • To assess potential liability for contamination which may be present.
  • To establish an innocent landowners defense should environmental contamination be discovered after the property is acquired.

7. Whereare Phase I ESAs Performed?

  • Phase I ESAs are performed on any piece ofreal property , which can include:

Undeveloped or agricultural land Gas Stations Shopping Centers Industrial or Commercial Buildings Apartments or Multi-dwelling units 8. Are There Phase I ESAStandards ?

  • Phase I ESAs must be performed to theAmerican Society of Testing Materials (ASTM)Standard E1527-05.
  • The USEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA)has recognized the ASTM E1527-05 complies with the Federal Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) (40 CFR Part 312).
    • ASTM and US EPA merged requirements to create a universal standard.


  • The following items are considerednon-scopeitems and arenot typicallyconsidered by Phase Is under standard E1527-05
    • Wetlands
    • Floodplains
    • Radon
    • However, most lending institutions will require, at minimum, a preliminary pre-screen for lead and asbestos.
    • Asbestos
    • Lead-based paints
    • Sinkholes

Asbestos Pipe Wrap Wetlands Lead-based paint 10.

  • Thescopeof a Phase I ESA is composed of several sections:

These scope items accomplishthree key goalsof a Phase I: Scopeof a Phase I ESA

  • Documentation of the propertys history.
  • Evaluate the current use and operations of the property to determine if RECs exist.
  • Determine if there are any environmental impacts from adjoining properties.
      • Government Database
      • Review of Prior Reports
      • Site Observation Summary
      • Findings
      • Recommendations
      • Property Description
      • Building/Structure Description
      • Historical Land Use
      • Interviews
      • Mapping Review

11. Examples : Phase I with RECs Dumping of paint, solvent, and thinner cans on vacant property Petroleum products leaking into floor drain Transformer with PCB contaminated oils Dumping of potentially hazardous materials in a wetland 12. Examples : Phase I with RECs Underground Storage Tank (UST) with visible holes, product can leak into ground Presence of vent and fill pipes indicating a UST LeakingAbove Ground Storage Tank (AST) in basement of an old building 13. Examples : Phase I with Historical RECs

  • Historical RECs:
    • An environmental condition which in the past would have been considered an REC but may or may not be currently considered an REC.

An orchard with historical use of Lead-Arsenate pesticides A rail yard in a historic industrial facility, potential for PCB oils on track 14. Examples : Phase I with De Minimis Conditions Better storage practices can be used. Minor petroleum staining on the floor

  • De Minimis Conditions:
    • A condition that generally does 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 governmental agencies.

15. Examples : Phase I with Non-ASTM Conditions Potential asbestos pipe wrap and spray-on insulation Sinkhole in drainage swale, direct conduit to groundwater

  • Non-ASTM (non-scope) Conditions
    • conditions that are beyond the scope of ASTM E1527-05, but have been included within the scope of this assessment as an option.

16. Example : Phase I with Non-RECs

    • Non RECs are typically associated with off-site properties with environmental impacts. If it is determined that the property has a minimal chance to impact the subject site or the impacted property has been cleaned up and approved by the DEP, the site is then considered a Non-REC .

LEAKING UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK SITE SEARCH ID :19 DIST/DIR: 0.45 m NW NAME: Joes Gas Station ADDRESS: Anywhere, PA 12345 LUST INFORMATION DATE OF RELEASE :3/26/1990 TYPE: USTPT-UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK SYSTEM CONTAINING PETROLEUM STATUS: 4.Cleanup Completed- Removal of contaminants to applicable cleanup standards has been demonstrated to DEP. STATUS DATE :10/11/1990 SOURCE CAUSE DESCRIPTION: Status Date Info: Date entries for cleanup status 4 and 5 are required. For cleanup status 4 (cleanup completed), this entry represents the date that DEP issued the No Further Action or Liability Protection letter to the responsible party. 17. What are EnvironmentalRisks ? And what do they mean to you?

  • Ariskis an actual or potential threat of adverse effects on living organisms and the environment by effluents, emissions, wastes, hazardous substances arising out site activities.
  • $100,000 vs. $500,000 Loan = Environmental Risks are still the same!Environmental Risks can exist onall kinds of properties , regardless of its size, worth, or current or historical activities.
  • If you loan on a property with Environmental risks (regardless of the amount of the loan)YOU OWN THE PROBLEM ! These problems can range from a $10,000 soil remediation to a $200,000 groundwater characterization lasting several years . Is this a bill you are willing to pay?

18. What are EnvironmentalRisks ? And what do they mean to you?

  • Evaluating Environmental Risks and their financial consequences through a Phase I ESA prior to issuing the loan reduces the liability for the new owner and the financial institution providing financing for the project.
  • Most risks are identified as Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) and may require additional actions. Phase II activates may be initiated to resolve the identified REC.

19. RECSand thePHASE IISite Assessment Additional investigation, remediation or recommendations may be necessary based upon the nature of the environmental issues identified in the Phase I. These next steps are part of a Phase II Investigation which is performed to address these issues in an attempt to provide a Clean Report whereby resolving potential environmental concerns. Installation of monitoring wells Removal of Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) 20. Use of Environmental RiskQuestionnaires

  • PROS
  • Can be used as an initial screen to determine if a Phase I is necessary.
  • Typically applicable to low-risk sites
  • Quicker
  • Less Expensive than a Phase I


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