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Environmental Site Assessments: Questions and Answers

February 26, 2014

What are Environmental Site Assessments?

Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) are evaluations of any environmental issues on a particular property.  

Why are they necessary?

Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) are prepared to assure potential buyers that their property isn’t contaminated by hazardous materials or waste.  They can be prepared on behalf of landowners, private companies, public institutions, real estate agencies, insurance and finance companies.  Before committing to any property, buyers will want to know if environmental remediation is likely.  

Who sets the standards?

Standards for the Phase I and Phase II ESAs have been established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) to address the “All-Appropriate-Inquiry” (AAI) aspect to the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Learn more about CERCLA here: What is CERCLA – and why is it important? 

 How does it work?

Initially, a Phase I ESA is conducted.  This process involves things like a general summary of environmental concerns, site inspection, historical research, adjacent property description, and interviews with owners and occupants – among others.  If contamination is discovered in Phase I, a Phase II ESA may be conducted.  A Phase II ESA involves things like laboratory analysis and sampling.  

Who performs ESAs?

Environmental Site Assessments should be performed by experienced environmental professionals.  Hazardous Waste Experts can assist you with all of your environmental remediation challenges, as well as advise you on your specific situation.  

What happens if the property is contaminated, or turns out to be?

If contamination is a known factor, the buyer often will want to know that the cost to remediate will be factored into the selling price.  In other cases, the buyer will opt out of buying that property.  

It’s important to also be aware of state, local, and federal regulations outside of CERCLA that have other site assessment requirements and liability protections. If you need help with environmental remediation, need more information on environmental site assessments, or hazardous waste removal in the event of a problem, contact Hazardous Waste Experts today at 800-936-2311 to speak with an expert.

Disposal of hazardous waste doesn’t have to be painful.