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Environmental Site Assessment

No one wants to discover after purchasing a building that it sits on a polluted site.  An Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) will reduce the risk of encountering this nightmare, along with the all too real legal and financial liabilities it would create. The need for an ESA depends on two factors:  The likelihood that pollution may be discovered and the risk tolerance of the investor.  If a gas station or a dry-cleaning facility sits on the site, an ESA will be essential.  Even if the buyer is willing to forego the assessment, a lender financing the transaction will almost certainly insist on it.  Where environmental risks appear minimal, an ESA can still provide peace of mind, which some investors will prize more highly than others.

Our Phase 1 (initial) Environmental Site Assessment studies follow the format of ASTM Standard 1527. The assessment includes both a visual inspection of the site and research into past or current uses that might have created environmental hazards.  The physical inspection will examine or look for evidence of:

  • Storage or handling of hazardous materials
  • Emission, storage or disposal of hazardous waste
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Above-ground or underground storage tanks
  • Storage drums or unidentified containers
  • Stained soil
  • Wells, septic systems, drains, sumps, pits, ponds or lagoons

The research component of our Environmental Site Assessment will include a review of relevant public records (local, state and federal) and interviews with occupants, owners, neighbors and selected local officials.  This research helps to identify current and prior uses of the property itself and surrounding properties that might affect the property’s environmental risk profile.  If a Phase 1 ESA analysis does not definitively confirm or eliminate suspected pollution concerns, we will recommend a more invasive Phase II inspection. While Criterium-Williams Engineers does not perform these inspections, we can coordinate them for clients.

At Criterium-Williams Engineers, we are exceedingly budget-conscious on behalf of our clients.  We won’t recommend services we don’t think they need.  But we take seriously our obligation to alert clients to existing or potential environmental risks, so they can make informed investment decisions and implement necessary or prudent risk mitigation measures.