A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment or Phase I ESA is usually done before property acquisition to gain protection against possible environmental liability, specifically from contaminated property transactions.
A Phase I ESA is a component of a commercial real estate transaction. It aims to evaluate a property’s present and previous usage to determine whether such past operations affected the soil or groundwater underlying the property. This assessment helps determine whether these activities pose a hazard to the environment or people’s health.
There are generally four parts to the Phase I ESA. The first part of a Phase I ESA is the records review, which involves researching a property’s government environmental records and historical use. The professional will gather and analyze these documents, including historical city directories, historic fire insurance maps, aerial photos, land use maps, city records, environmental records, and land titles of the property.
The next part is the site inspection which aims to assess the site’s present condition and operations. A commercial building inspection NJ typically involves a tour of the property’s location and the documentation of observed site conditions. A commercial building inspector NJ will visually inspect the subject property and its structure to identify possible contamination sources.
After the site inspection, the professional will interview the past and present owners, personnel, operators, occupants, and government officials. The goal is to better understand the historical and current operations and use of the commercial property.
The environmental professional will summarize the observations and findings after the data-gathering process. If appropriate, the report can also recommend future research on any recognized environmental conditions or RECs of a property. RECs refer to known pollution or the possibility of contamination from the subject property being inspected.
To learn more about the Phase I Environmental Site Assessments in New Jersey, here is an infographic from Lockatong Engineering.