The latter half of the 20th century saw a tremendous increase in the number of environmental hazards that can impinge on the value of a property, and cause delay in obtaining financing commitments or necessary development approvals. The objective of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is to evaluate and identify environmental impairments and liabilities associated with the property and existing structures. To accomplish these objectives, a two-phased approach is used. The Phase I ESA will assess the presence or absence of environmental issues based on existing information and, if applicable, a limited sampling program. The Phase II ESA will involve further characterization of the nature and extent of contamination, if deemed necessary as a result of the Phase I ESA.
Environmental hazards can include:
- the residue of former land uses and waste disposal practices at a project site,
- soil contamination from certain agricultural uses, such as orchards,
- potentially hazardous conditions adjacent to or in the vicinity of a site,
- regulated and unregulated activities such as hazardous material and petroleum bulk storage,
- poor design and management of existing facilities,
- unforeseen circumstances such as spills of hazardous substances in areas adjacent to or within the watershed of a site.
Associates of Hudson Highlands Environmental Consulting have the capability to perform Environmental Site Assessments in accordance with the protocol promulgated by the American Society for Testing and Materials (Standard practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Process; E1527).
Environmental Site Assessments generally have three sequential phases of effort: Phase 1 is a review of available historic records and a visual inspection of the site. Phase 2, if necessary, is a selective sampling of areas that are suspected of having potential environmental liabilities. Phase 3, if necessary, is a strategy for site utilization and/or potential environmental remediation (cleanup).
Phase 1 Site Assessments
Phase 1 Site Assessments generally include agency record searches, interviews with knowledgeable individuals, and a visual inspection of the subject property by a qualified professional. Typical sources of this information may include, but not necessarily be limited to, historic insurance company surveys, city tax records, historic aerial photographs and historic mapping, property title searches, and review of regulatory agency records including New York State DEC hazardous records and US EPA’s data base. Evaluation of this information will provide an overall chronology of activities on the property over time. Following the record search, a visual site inspection will be conducted to supplement historical records and make observations regarding the most recent activities on the property.
The Phase 1 assessment will presumably give a clear indication of the likelihood of certain hazards being present on the subject property such as soil contaminants, or underground storage tanks, registered spill sites, etc., from historic activities. At the conclusion of Phase 1, a draft report will be prepared documenting the data and information gathered and the conclusions regarding the environmental status of the site.
Phase 2 Site Assessments
Phase 2 services will only be provided if Phase 1 findings indicate potential environmental problems, or if Phase 1 results are inconclusive and conditions warrant further investigation. A site-specific Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP) will be developed if deemed necessary by data collected during the literature search and/or site walk-through inspection. The SAP will provide details on the number and type of samples to be collected, sampling methodologies, quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC), sample custody and handling, sample analyses, and scheduling.
Phase 2 sampling activities may include the following:
- Underground Storage Tank Resting or Removal;
- Asbestos Survey and/or Removal/Encapsulation;
- Electromagnetic (EMF) Survey;
- Lead Paint Sampling;
- PCB Sampling;
- Radon Sampling; and
- Soil, Groundwater, and water Sampling.
Beyond Phase 2
If site conditions pose an unacceptable risk or violate regulatory requirements, we will recommend remedial alternatives to mitigate adverse impacts. Additionally, if required, associates of Hudson Highlands Environmental Consulting have the capability to design and implement innovative remedial strategies to satisfy regulatory requirements and minimize potential future liabilities.
If site conditions pose an unacceptable risk or violate regulatory requirements, remedial actions may be appropriate. Alternatives will be recommended based on scientifically defensible risk assessments and experience in negotiating with regulatory agencies. Associates of Hudson Highlands Environmental Consulting have the necessary expertise to:
- Develop alternative remedial strategies to mitigate adverse impacts;
- Remove hazardous materials from the property or design appropriate engineering controls onsite to minimize potential future risk; and
- Prepare complete documentation of remedial actions to assure regulatory compliance and minimize potential future liabilities.