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Phase I Environmental Site Assessments in New Jersey

The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is conducted to gain protection against possible environmental liability from a contaminated property transaction. The evaluation complies with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) requirements and is usually done before property acquisition. 

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (or Phase I ESA) is conducted as a part of a commercial real estate transaction. The assessment seeks to investigate a real estate property’s present and previous usage to identify whether its operations affected the soil or groundwater. It also helps evaluate if the activities on the property pose a possible hazard to the environment or people’s health.

A Phase I ESA can be conducted on different properties, such as manufacturing sites, commercial structures, industrial areas, agriculture-related properties, and vacant spaces. There are generally four parts to conducting a Phase I ESA. 

The first phase is the records review involves researching a property’s government environmental records and historical use. This phase requires a commercial building inspector NJ to gather and analyze data on historical city directories, fire insurance maps, aerial photos, city records, land titles, and environmental records of the property. 

The second phase is the site inspection, which aims to visually inspect and assess the site’s condition and operations. Commercial building inspection NJ typically includes a tour of the property’s location and documentation of the site’s current state.

The third phase is the interview, typically conducted together with the site inspection. The environmental professional can ask past and present building owners, personnel, operators, and building occupants regarding operations and use of the commercial property.

Lastly, after data gathering, the environmental professional will detail their observations in a Phase I ESA report. This report summarizes the environmental professional’s findings, data gaps, and conclusions. The report can also include recommendations for future research on any recognized environmental conditions (RECs) observed on the property.

For more information about Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, here is an infographic by Lockatong Engineering.