Phase I Environmental Site Assessments in New Jersey

Commercial property owners, potential buyers, lenders, and asset managers must complete the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) as part of their environmental due diligence in property acquisition. This assessment complies with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) requirements. It is usually conducted before a property is acquired to gain protection against possible environmental liability, specifically those arising from transactions on properties with environmental contamination.

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, often known as a Phase I ESA, investigates a property’s previous and current usage to identify whether the operations have affected the soil or groundwater. This evaluation helps evaluate if such activities can pose a possible hazard to health or the environment.

A Phase I ESA can be conducted on different properties, including manufacturing sites, commercial structures, industrial sites, vacant spaces, and agriculture-related lots. This assessment can help safeguard the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction. Findings from the commercial building inspection NJ can affect the property’s value.

There are four parts to a Phase I ESA. The first phase is the records review, wherein an environmental professional gathers and analyzes the site’s historical city directories, aerial photos, land use maps, city records, land titles, and environmental records.

The second phase involves a site visit to assess the property’s present condition and operations. A commercial building engineer NJ determines potential environmental concerns by inspecting and documenting the observed site conditions.

Interviews are also conducted along with the site inspection. The environmental professional will interview past and present owners, personnel, occupants, operators, or local government officials to gain site knowledge and better understand the property’s current and historic operations.

After data gathering, the environmental professional summarizes their observations in a Phase I ESA report. The report can also include recommendations for future research on recognized environmental conditions (RECs) that denote the presence of known pollution or the possibility of contamination. 

For more details regarding Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, here is an infographic from Lockatong Engineering.