An Introduction To The Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment

National Due Diligence Services is comprised of a team of experts in identifying environmental conditions. We are your one-stop shop for conducting efficient and thorough Phase 1 and Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments.

Phase 2 Environmental Site AssessmentTo make informed decisions during a real estate transaction, lenders will generally require a buyer to request a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment of the property. This assessment is a surface-level site visit that looks for any indications of environmental containments while also gaining a better understanding of the property’s history. If contaminants are found, and upon recommendation of a Phase 1, the next step is usually a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment to investigate the property further and provide a more in-depth understanding of any potential environmental hazards or issues. 

In this blog, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of what a Phase 2 ESA looks for during the assessment process, what components you can expect to see in the report, and, if necessary, what your next steps are to ensure you have an environmentally healthy property. 

At NDDS, we conduct our Phase 2 ESAs according to the most recent standards developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). It’s important to us to conduct these assessments according to ASTM’s standards for a few reasons:

  • Consistent and comprehensive methodology: following this standard provides for a uniform approach to Environmental Site Assessments, producing better, more accurate results.
  • Legal protections: in order to meet the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) Rule, the most recent ASTM standards must be followed. These standards are sufficient to protect property buyers from liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) in the event of environmental contamination.
  • Lender requirements: as mentioned above, most lenders require Phase 1 ESAs as a prerequisite for financing.
  • Risk management: large, costly commercial real estate transactions pose a level of risk to those involved, and these assessments ensure that property buyers, sellers, and investors have accurate and relevant information about potential environmental risks.

What Does A Phase 2 ESA Look For?

Most clients will request a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment if a Phase 1 ESA finds recognized environmental conditions (RECs) or indicates the property’s subsurface is compromised. The presence of RECs on an environmentally impacted property can lessen the property’s value or lead to an expensive cleanup process in the future, so it’s in the interest of a property’s stakeholders to order this assessment and ensure a healthy property. A Phase 2 ESA is an investigation that our experienced staff will Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessmentconduct to look for any contamination of the subsurface level of your property using the following tests:

  • Surface water sampling
  • Groundwater sampling
  • Soil sampling
  • Any potential hazardous materials in the surrounding area
  • Vapor testing

The tests used during our Phase 2 ESA depend on site-specific conditions, meaning not all assessments will use every test mentioned above. Our staff considers any site-specific areas and chemicals of concern, local site access issues, and all local, state, and federal regulations. Because we service different property types, we will ensure the correct samples are taken for your specific site to best test for the potential contaminants below the surface. Once the assessment is complete, we’ll be able to inform you of your property’s condition and give recommendations on what steps you can take to ensure your property is up to ASTM standards.  

What Is Included In Our Phase 2 ESA Report?

Once our team completes the assessment, the samples will be sent to test for different environmental contaminants that could be hazardous to the surrounding area. Once these results are in, our team will create a report that we’ll discuss with you, including the following components:

  • Field observations, screening results, and any other important field information
  • Depth to local groundwater
  • Laboratory analytical results for collected samples
  • Comparisons to applicable state or federal screening or action levels
  • Discussion of contaminant concentrations when applicable
  • Suggestions for additional tests we believe are necessary to characterize environmental impacts if the contaminant concentrations of specific compounds exceed the site-specific levels

What Happens After A Phase 2 ESA?

If the above report identifies high contaminant concentrations or any environmentally hazardous materials at a high enough level, the next step will likely be remediation and a cleanup action. The goal of remediation is to return the subsurface of your site to its natural state, free of contaminants, and ensure the property is not harmful to any wildlife or humans in the area. The method to do this depends on the location of the risk areas, which we can discuss further with you if this is the case. 

National Due Diligence Services is Here for You 

If you are ready to start the Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment process or have any questions, our team is on your side. We provide a professional and efficient service, from Phase 1 ESAs to Surveying, Property Condition Assessments as well as Zoning Reports. Speak with our team to discover how NDDS can help your business today.