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Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)

What does an ESA (Phase I and Phase II) achieve?
Essentially these evaluations can assist you in identifying potential environmental liabilities associated with property acquisition and ownership. Obtained through environmental site assessments, this pertinent information impacts the economics of a property transaction.

What would be an example list of typical ESA users?
  • Property owners
  • Real estate firms
  • Developers
  • Banks
  • Lenders
  • Title companies
  • Corporate, industrial and institutional facility real estate managers

Are these assessments required by law?
Yes. These laws are in place in order to protect current and prior property owners. Federal, state and local laws create liabilities to the owner when a site is tested positive for contamination. With new laws in effect facilities and real estate managers are instituting guidelines to assess the status of a property with regard to environmental laws before the transaction. New Jersey municipalities require an environmental assessment before the issuance of a construction permit, saving the site assessment costly delays associated with agency-mandated cleanup operations.

What do you do in an ESA?
An ESA is categorized by either Phase I or Phase II. The Phase I ESA intends to satisfy the due diligence requirements of a property transaction using legal standards or client-specific guidelines. These are identified by observing possible environmental impairments on a particular property.

What does a Phase I achieve?
Including a physical survey of the property and surrounding properties, it assesses general land use and occupants of the area. An on-site visual inspection of the site recognizes environmental concerns. After reviewing data regarding the local geology and hydrology, an assessment of current and past uses and practices of the property can be made. With particular attention given to assessing hazardous material, harmful waste practices are easily detected at having occurred on the site. Assessments of the historic land use and development of the property are made through an interpretation with all possible modes of historical research. Owner and operator records help to depict a review of local, state, and federal regulatory agency records, which are kept on file and maintained for the site. In summation, a concise yet comprehensive report is written based on all of our findings including recommendations and conclusions.

What does a Phase II achieve?
Phase II Site Assessments are only recommended by Phase I Site Assessments, if necessary. Their main function is to further direct the focus of the previous report. This easily provides a more detailed review of a site. Oftentimes, it is used to further evaluate suspected environmental impairments and the extent of surface or subsurface contamination. This sequel assessment qualitatively confirms environmental impairments and liabilities. These impairments and liabilities can usually predict a yield based on basic projections of remediation costs. Foremost, this information may be used in negotiating the terms and conditions in a particular property transaction.


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