Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (Phase II ESA) reports are sometimes required when a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) is found during the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment process. They may initiate Investigations to collect additional information or fill data gaps and are needed to identify the potential for the existence of an environmental liability that can affect the value of a property. Potential environmental concerns can and often do arise during the Phase I ESA. When a potential environmental concern is identified, the next step is to conduct a Phase II ESA. A Phase II ESA subsurface investigation typically includes the collection of soil and/or groundwater samples for laboratory analysis. Identifying soil and/or groundwater contamination is an important step in determining not only the risk tolerance of a potential purchaser or lender, but can also determine the outcome, and possibly the negotiation proceedings of a property transaction.

Phase II Environmental Assessments can consist of collecting soil and groundwater samples to screen for chemical or metal contamination and confirm the presence or absence of hazardous materials. Some of the tests that may be performed include:

  • Surficial soil and water samples
  • Subsurface soil borings
  • Groundwater monitoring well installations, sampling and analysis
  • Drum sampling
  • Sampling of dry wells, floor drains and catch basins
  • Transformer/capacitor sampling for PCBs
  • Indoor air samples
  • Soil Vapor samples
  • Geophysical testing for buried tanks, drums, drainage structures and utility lines/conduits.
  • Testing of underground storage tanks

The Phase II ESA results are used to acquire and measure contaminant levels at the site and to help define the cost and extent of possible future clean-up. This testing is usually recommended when there is a regulatory-mandated cleanup, disposal of regulated-waste and civil liability. Civil liability occurs when the contamination has migrated offsite or tenants sue over exposure to hazardous materials. Assessments may also be used as baseline studies to confirm contaminant background levels prior to construction or purchase of a facility.