A Phase I assessment includes an investigative visit to the site, a detailed search of past property use, and a review of environmental records, which list site violations and off-site occurrences that may have the potential to affect the subject property. Investigations are conducted according to ASTM standards. One purpose of this investigation is to satisfy the innocent purchaser’s defense to the Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Often financial institutions use these studies as important risk assessment tools prior to financing a commercial loan.
Interviews are conducted with the owners or operators to clarify site activities and operational procedures. A review of the chain of title is identified in order to verify past usage and ownership. Reports include recommendations or corrective actions that can be taken in cases where recognized environmental conditions are observed or suspected.
A Phase II Assessment includes all of the Phase I activities described above in a similar report format; however, soil, water, and another sampling may be performed utilizing a drill rig. Asbestos or lead sampling may also be conducted depending upon the nature of the site. This study is for very broad-based issues that may involve state environmental agencies or specific regulatory compliance issues. More defined cost issues are a function of actual site conditions and any enforcement requirements.