Phase 1 Environmental Assessments

31 Jul

Often those completing a real estate transaction on a potentially environmentally contaminated property seek to limit liability under federal Superfund statute (CERCLA). A Phase I environmental site assessment is an initial step in determining whether an environmental risk exists. When reviewing a completed Phase I assessment be sure to ascertain whether the document contains the following 10 elements.
1. Result of environmental professional’s inquiry
2. Interviews with past and present owners, operators, and occupants
3. Reviews of historical sources of information
4. Searches for recorded environmental cleanup liens
5. Federal, State, Tribal, and local government record review
6. Visual inspections of the facility and of adjoining properties
7. Prospective landowner’s specialized knowledge or experience
8. Relationship of purchase price to uncontaminated property value
9. Commonly known or reasonably ascertainable information
10. Degree of obviousness and ability to detect property contamination

Each of these ten steps should be completed within one year, according to 40 C.F.R.  §312.21, which sets the standard for Phase I assessments. Upon completion of the Phase I assessment the environmental professional will offer recommendations as to whether further assessments, such as a Phase II environmental assessment, is necessary. A Phase II assessment involves taking samples of the soil, and if applicable, water that exists on the property in order to identify contamination.

If you have any questions regarding phase 1 environmental assessments please contact Thorn & Associates at 773-609-5320, [email protected], or through our web contact form.

Disclaimer: This article cannot, and does not, create any attorney/client or consultant/client relationship.

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