A Cold Winter’s Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

The sun shining down on an rural Pennsylvania street during a Phase I ESA.

It’s a cold winter’s day on this Field Day Friday, but that doesn’t keep us from conducting environmental site assessments. Most of the time our projects take us to places most people never imagine visiting, but sometimes they allow us to appreciate the normal, day-to-day setting you might expect to find in rural Pennsylvania. At Element, some of us enjoy the winter months more than others, but when the warm winter sun shines down on a project in just the right way, we can’t help but capture and savor the moment, no matter how cold or ordinary it may seem.

The streets may not be as busy as they would be on a downtown main street or in an industrial park, but work still has to be done. Deliveries must be made and Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (Phase I ESA) must be conducted when a commercial real estate transaction is underway. Proper environmental due diligence is a crucial aspect of any real estate transaction. Whether it’s farmland that is being redeveloped into a residential development or urban infill projects on a former gas station. It’s important that the buyer conduct an ASTM compliant Phase I ESA to meet the requirements of CERCLA’s innocent land owner defense prior to closing. That way you’re not held liable for contamination you were not responsible for in the first place. It’s our job to determine if there are any environmental risk associated with your project and help you manage or mitigate those risks should you decide to move forward with the transaction.

With over 20 years combined experience conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, we have learned that you cannot judge a book by its cover. The most inconspicuous site could have a story to tell, while an industrial site may have nothing to say at all. Having a professional conduct a thorough examination of the site’s historical records and regulatory records, combined with an investigative site visit, is the only way to tell.

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