Hyde Environmental specializes in Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. We conduct efficient, comprehensive ESAs to help you save time and money.
What is a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment?
A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (or ESA) is an investigative process and a written report prepared on a specifically defined real estate holding to identify potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities that may impact property value.
The ESA report is used in real estate transactions, leasing agreements, property development projects, and bank financing and foreclosures. When properly conducted, a Phase I ESA can help provide an Innocent Landowner defense, potentially exempting the buyer from environmental liability, including liability for off-site contamination.
In general, a Phase 1 ESA consists of the following:
Evaluation and Report
What Triggers a Phase 1 ESA Assessment?
Phase 1 ESAs can be completed for a wide variety of reasons, but are often triggered when the following events occur:
A new lender intends to provide a loan for a real estate property
Purchase of property by a person or entity not previously on the title
Partnership buyout or principal redistribution of ownership
Application to a public agency for a change of use
An investigation by a regulation agency who suspects toxic chemicals or compounds on the site
Divestiture of properties
American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) Phase 1 Standards
Hyde's Phase 1 ESAs comply with the most recent Phase 1 Inquiry, described in the following standard:
E1527-13 ASTM Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Process
Depending on need and desired scope, other standards that may apply to an environmental site assessment include the following:
E2247-08 ASTM Standard Practice for Environmental Assessments: Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Process for Forestland or Rural Property
40 CFR Part 312 or "AAI 40" Brownfields All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI). Every Phase 1 ESA conducted with EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant funds must be conducted in compliance with AAI Final Rule at 40 CFR Part 312 (CERCLA). The AAI Final Rule provides that ASTM International Standard E1527-13 and E2247-16 are consistent with the requirements of the final rule and can be used to satisfy the statutory requirements for conducting AAI.
ISO14015:2001 Environmental Management - Environmental Assessment of Sites and Organizations (EASO)
Additional Investigations/Inquiries That Can Be Included in a Phase 1 ESA:
Occasionally, depending on client or real estate transaction needs; current, past, or planned use of the property; and the age of the real estate asset, a client may request that any one or more of the following investigations or inquiries be undertaken as part of a Phase 1 ESA:
Currently, there are no federal or state regulations (e.g. Wisconsin environmental regulations) requiring purchasers of real estate, purchasers of commercial leases, acquirers of easements, or parties to loan transactions to retain environmental consulting firms like Hyde Environmental to complete a Phase 1 ESA. Responsibility for an identified environmental liability could rest with the current or previous owner. For example, an owner selling a property with environmental damage may be held liable for future site remediation/cleanup services undertaken on or off the property. It may not even matter if the owner was or was not previously aware of any environmental damage if the conditions can be traced back to a time when a Phase 1 ESA might have identified the environmental conditions of concern.
What is Environmental Liability?
“Environmental liability is the legal obligation for a property or business owner to take responsibility for the ongoing association with a substance or activities which are the source of detrimental damage to the environment.”
Phase 1 ESA Reports Can Help Reduce Liability
One of the purposes of a Phase 1 ESA is to help minimize or eliminate potential environmental liabilities and costs associated with a property, by identifying areas in need of remediation. While not required in every state, a previous owner may be subject to potentially expensive legal costs if a subsequent property owner retains remediation services to resolve contamination that existed prior to their taking ownership of the property.
Historical RECs: Past harmful substances addressed through remediation
De Minimis conditions: Non-threatening conditions
We help clients identify and, if necessary, cost-effectively remediate environmental damage of water, groundwater or soil before it becomes a legal issue and/or a significantly more expensive project to undertake. No matter where you live or do business in the Midwest, a Phase 1 ESA can save an owner from a lawsuit or help reduce the costs of an environmental cleanup.
Specifically, our Wisconsin-based environmental consulting firm has helped commercial property owners minimize or avoid legal issues related to:
Why Should I Choose Hyde Environmental to Conduct My Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment?
The team of environmental professionals at Hyde Environmental has many years of experience performing Phase 1 ESAs throughout the Midwest. We have extensive knowledge of federal and state regulations, and we keep senior members of the staff involved every step of the way, to ensure your needs are met by an expert. We perform Phase 1 ESAs on properties in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas, Nebraska and more. Each of our environmental site assessments is completed in accordance with industry regulations and standards, including:
United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI)
40 CFR Part 312 aspect to the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) in the Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Process / Designation E1527-05/13 (ASTM Standard Practice E1527-05/13).
By conducting Phase 1 ESAs under the ASTM Standard Practice E1527-13, we are confident that your environmental site assessments will be comprehensive and will help limit your liability. The ASTM Standard Practice E1527-13 outlines a number of practices describing how Hyde personnel must conduct ESAs, including:
ASTM Standard Practice E1527-13: Basic Guidelines for The Phase 1 ESA Process
These services must be performed by an environmental professional.
Parties voluntarily choose Phase 1 ESAs when seeking a commercially prudent inquiry regarding the environmental condition of real estate.
Services are site-specific, including an on-site inspection.
Many other services outside of the Phase 1 ESA can be negotiated between the environmental professional and user including, but not limited to, investigations into asbestos, biological agents, ecological resources, endangered species, mold, and indoor air quality.
Those who conduct Phase 1 ESAs must keep information, data, etc. obtained during the Phase 1 process confidential.
Phase 1 ESAs cannot completely eliminate the potential for recognized environmental conditions related to a property to not be identified. A user of a Phase 1 ESA may also be further be limited, in that the extent of inquiry cannot be exhausted beyond the cost and time-efficient use of the resources utilized for the assessment.
A Phase 1 ESA may also be limited by the property itself. Not every property will mandate the same level of environmental assessment. Only the current conditions of the property, during the time of the assessment, can be judged; not the previous or developing state.
Should a Recognized Environmental Condition need further investigation or even remediation, Hyde Environmental will represent your interests to the fullest - finding the best path to closure while minimizing your short- and long-term liabilities and costs. Whether you’re facing a purchase, sale/divestiture, new lease, lease renewal, or lease termination transaction, you will want to identify and help limit/eliminate your environmental liability. Choose Hyde Environmental to conduct your next Phase 1 ESA. We’ll help you diagnose the condition of your property, and help you remove any potential environmental conditions.