Phase I and II ESAs

Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments

Duncklee & Dunham conducts Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) in accordance with the current version of the ASTM International Standard Practice E1527 and the Federal All Appropriate Inquiries Rule in 40 CFR 312 to satisfy the requirements of Section 107 (a) (1) of CERCLA.  Potential environmental liability associated with real estate is minimized by conducting environmental “due diligence” to identify recognized environmental conditions.

The senior staff at Duncklee & Dunham has conducted thousands of Phase I ESAs in over 25 states and two foreign countries. The types of facilities we have assessed include manufacturing/industrial facilities, agrichemical businesses, petroleum bulk plants, gasoline stations, shopping centers, office buildings, single- and multi-family residential properties, agricultural properties, and undeveloped land.  Our clients have included municipal and county governments, law firms, a major southeastern U.S. agricultural cooperative, and a wide variety of commercial and industrial companies.

Many environmental consultants have their more junior staff conduct the most critical task, the site visit, for Phase I ESAs.  EDR, Inc. conducted a survey in 2004 that showed 50% of Phase I tasks were conducted by personnel with less than 5 years of experience.  However, at Duncklee & Dunham, over 90% of the project tasks for Phase I ESAs, including all site visits, are conducted by Environmental Professionals (as defined in 40 CFR 312) with over 20 years of experience.  When All Appropriate Inquiries was being promulgated, the U.S. EPA strongly argued, but was overruled, for a requirement that an Environmental Professional conduct the site visit.

The typical scope of work for a Phase I ESA includes a review of available public records; establishment of site history through review of Sanborn maps, aerial photographs, topographic maps, and city directories, and interviews with the site owner; and a site visit by an Environmental Professional.  During the site visit, the grounds of the site and surrounding properties are observed for evidence of USTs, the storage or disposal of hazardous substances and petroleum products, stressed vegetation, land subsidence, and other evidence of environmental concerns.

Duncklee & Dunham contracts with reputable providers of public record data.  In addition, we check with local authorities and review historical sources to establish site history.  After we complete the site visit and review the public record, we provide a verbal summary of our findings.  Our written report is in the format shown in E1527 and contains a description of site observations, figures, information from the public record, color copies of site photographs, and our findings and opinions.

Multi-parcel Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments

The use of multi-parcel Phase I ESAs allow us to conduct a greater number of assessments simultaneously with assessment-grant funds.  Teaming GIS environmental information with historical aerial photographs and Sanborn maps provides valuable data on past site usage, and storage or disposal of petroleum products or hazardous substances.  Data gaps commonly encountered by the multi-parcel Phase I process include lack of access and interviews with non-participatory property owners.  However, the cost savings and ability to cover a large area quickly could outweigh the importance of this data gap.

A .pdf deliverable allows the reader to choose a parcel of interest.  The link will take the reader to a summary sheet for that particular parcel, where additional links can be used to navigate to the information of interest or to return to the map for review of additional parcels.  All the information available in a regular Phase I ESA report, which can run hundreds of pages in length, is much more accessible and user-friendly.  The file can be copied to CD-ROM or portable media for easy distribution.