A real estate asset’s environmental responsibility can be assessed using an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). ESA, or Environmental Site Assessment, is the process of doing “all appropriate investigation” into the historical or present usage of a site to establish if the land is affected by a “recognized environmental condition” (REC). Inspection of the property and investigation into public records are part of the ESA procedure. A site inspection is also included in the process. According to the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report, this information is analyzed in detail to assess whether or not the property is a release site for petroleum products and hazardous chemicals. For CERCLA’s Landowner Liability Protections, the ESA serves as the principal qualification instrument.
What is the Importance of an Environmental Site Assessment?
The courts have ruled that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) can be used to hold property owners, lenders, and lessors accountable for the cleanup of dangerous environmental situations, even if they did not cause the issue themselves.
However, the “Innocent Landowner Defense” is based on the same ruling and serves as a “safe harbor.” If the owner, lender, or lessor can prove that they did their due diligence before purchasing the property, this clause will protect them.
Protecting a “safe harbor” and alerting property owners, lenders, and landlords to possible issues is the primary goal of environmental site assessments (ESAs). Consequently, to purchase or refinance commercial property, most lenders need an ASTM Standard Practice Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (commonly known as a Phase I ESA or simply a Phase I). Additional Environmental Site Assessments, such as a Phase II and a Contamination Assessment, may be necessary based on the results of the Phase I ESA.
The first step in environmental evaluation is a visual and historical examination, known as Phase 1. An environmental consultant in Edmonton searches for visible indications of existing or prospective pollution, such as underground storage tanks.
The consultant in Edmonton will also gather papers and aerial images to assess the site’s historical activities and neighbouring properties, from which pollution may have travelled to the target area.
The first phase of the search should go as far back as is practically practicable to find out what the property and any neighbouring areas were used for and establish whether contamination is possible. Even though it’s clean now, it may have formerly been a gas station or dry cleaner.
● Identification of recognized environmental conditions associated with the property, to the degree possible
● Recognize and evaluate any significant environmental concerns linked with the site’s past and present use
● Identify any environmental liabilities related to the current or prior usage of the site, and provide an estimate of the associated costs when possible.
● The extent of culpability should be defined in additional investigations.
More excellent knowledge of the state of the land, groundwater, and structures on the site may be obtained through a Phase 2 assessment, including soil sampling or other studies. In most cases, further action is necessitated once Phase 1 reveals possible environmental problems.
The laws require some provinces to submit the findings of Phase 2 assessments or a record of site condition (RSC) to the relevant provincial authorities. This ensures that the information is made available to the general public.
● Phase I ESA or Transaction Screening Process discovered a recognized environmental condition.
● Provide environmental professionals with enough information to determine that the property does not contain any known hazardous compounds, given the current environmental circumstances.
● Determine if a recognized environmental condition exists at a specific location and gather enough data about it so that the user can make well-informed business choices or both.
Suppose a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment finds a property to contain actionable pollution levels. In that case, a Phase III Environmental Site Assessment will be required to identify the entire extent of the damages, both vertically and horizontally. These investigations may involve the examination of routes for the transport of pollution in soil and groundwater, the construction of groundwater monitoring wells and the routine sampling of groundwater from those wells, and contact with the necessary regulatory authorities. Before commencing the remediation process, such work must be done so that all parties involved may agree on the most effective strategies for maximizing results while reducing costs.
● Determining the degree and type of pollution at a given location in all of its complexity
● Technology applicability and economic considerations determine which cleanup methods are best suited for a given situation.
Some of the ESA’s primary goals are gathering information about the site’s history and potential contamination and conducting intrusive inspections to analyze possibly damaged media. There has to be a balance between the amount of time and effort put into an inquiry and the amount of data gathered to make informed, practical, and cost-effective judgments. Consultants in Edmonton can achieve this equilibrium because of their extensive experience and current technological understanding.