A brief overview of the advantages of conducting an environmental site assessment according to the ASTM standards

What is an ASTM Phase I ESA?

An ASTM Phase I ESA, or environmental site assessment, is a process of evaluating the environmental condition of a commercial property and identifying any potential or existing contamination risks. The purpose of an ASTM Phase I ESA is to perform all appropriate inquiry (AAI) into the previous ownership and uses of the property, as well as the surrounding area, to determine if there are any recognized environmental conditions (RECs) that could affect the value or liability of the property.

What are the benefits of an ASTM Phase I ESA?

An ASTM Phase I ESA can provide several benefits for commercial property owners, buyers, sellers, lenders, and investors, such as:

  • Protecting from liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund law, which holds property owners responsible for cleaning up hazardous substances on their land, regardless of who caused the contamination.
  • Qualifying for the innocent landowner, contiguous property owner, or bona fide prospective purchaser defenses, which can limit or eliminate liability for CERCLA cleanup costs, if the ASTM Phase I ESA meets the AAI criteria and no RECs are found.
  • Enhancing the value and marketability of the property by demonstrating due diligence and environmental stewardship.
  • Identifying and addressing any potential environmental issues before they become costly or complicated problems.
  • Facilitating the financing and closing of the property transaction by satisfying the requirements of lenders, insurers, and regulators.

How to get an ASTM Phase I ESA?

If you are interested in getting an ASTM Phase I ESA for your commercial property, you should hire a qualified environmental professional (QEP) who has the experience and expertise to conduct the assessment according to the ASTM standards. The QEP will perform a site visit, review historical and regulatory records, interview relevant parties, and prepare a written report that summarizes the findings and conclusions of the ASTM Phase I ESA. The report will also include recommendations for further action, if needed, such as conducting a Phase II ESA, which involves sampling and testing of soil, groundwater, and other media to confirm the presence or absence of contamination.

An ASTM Phase I ESA is a valuable tool for evaluating the environmental risks and opportunities of a commercial property. By conducting an ASTM Phase I ESA with AAI, you can protect yourself from liability, enhance your property value, and facilitate your property transaction. To learn more about ASTM Phase I ESA and how it can benefit you, contact us today.