Environmental site assessments are typically conducted as part of the “due diligence” process designed to assist clients understand the
environmental risks associated with properties. In recent times, the risks of environmental site contamination has become as issue to anyone buying, selling or financing property. Due to past and present land use practices some sites have been or are becoming contaminated. Contamination on a site presents major concerns and possible liabilities for the buyer, seller and/or lender.
To reduce this risk it has become necessary to undertake Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) to determine the actual or potential environmental site contamination.
A Phase I ESA is a preliminary assessment by which the assessor determines if a specific property is, or may be, subject to contamination from past or present site uses and from adjacent land use. The assessment combines both on site and desktop studies to understand potential liabilities associated with a property.
The scope of the Phase I ESA consists of a very detailed review of historical property use, land title records, occupancy records, aerial photographs, city directories, and fire insurance maps, as well are mandatory regulatory searches. Geology, Hydrology and Topography are analyzed to determine the potential of any environmental hazards that may be associated with the property or adjacent sites. A visual inspection of the site and surrounding properties including identification of any liquid or chemical storage, PCB’s, ACM’s, lead or other designated substances, spills or soil and building contamination. Interview are conducted with persons having knowledge of the past and present site activities. A report is then prepared by the assessor based on the findings of the investigation. WA Environmental Services Ltd. conducts Phase I ESA’s in accordance with Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard Z768-01.
A Phase I ESA does not include sample gathering, laboratory testing, or intrusive investigation of a property. Where the potential for contamination has been identified, a Phase II ESA would be recommended for the site.