Contaminated land can have potential dangers to both human health and the environment. Environmental Site Assessments act as a way to keep track of actual and potential contamination hotspots.

Education

Environmental Site Assessment Phase 1

As a preliminary study undertaken as due diligence associated with a property’s purchase, financing or development, most stakeholders involved in real estate transactions are aware of it and what it requires.

According to the Canadian Standard Association (CSA), the purpose of an Environmental Site Assessment Phase 1 is to pinpoint any actual or potential contamination. Though it may vary from one site to another, the process of an Environmental Site Assessment Phase 1 usually consists of the following tasks:

– Reviewing current and historical land uses, usually through archived municipal and business directories, fire insurance plans, aerial photographs, historical mapping, environmental databases, company records, etc.

– Visiting the site for a visual inspection of the premises in order to identify actual and potential sources of environmental contamination, as well as any other concerns that may interfere with the development or purchase of the site.

– Reporting findings and recommendations: A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment doesn’t include any sampling or testing of the soil, groundwater or materials.

Environmental Site Assessment Phase 2

An Environmental Site Assessment Phase 2 is a more intrusive form of investigation used to confirm the presence of contamination reported during the Environmental Site Assessment
 Phase 1 and if needed, identify the substances of concern at the site in question.

The process of an Environmental Site Assessment Phase 2 usually consists of the following tasks:

– Taking the investigation a little deeper by conducting a subsurface soil and groundwater investigation. This Environmental Site Assessment investigation is conducted by advancing boreholes and installing monitoring wells, conducting a chemical analysis of the soil and groundwater, amongst other tasks which may be needed depending on Phase I of the Environmental Site Assessment report. The scope of the work may vary from a couple of holes to several holes as a result of an extensive investigation.

– Preparing another report with findings and recommendations moving forward.

Investment in an Environmental Site Assessment Phase 2 is well worth the cost if it reveals important information about the environmental health of a site, as it may influence the market price. If the Environmental Site Assessment concludes that the site is an environmental liability, then it could turn out to be an expensive clean-up operation.

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