Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)
The Phase II ESA is the next step after a Phase I ESA has revealed Recognized Environmental Concerns (RECs).
RECs are issues that can't be explained away based on the information uncovered in the Phase I ESA. If we found an underground tank either during a site visit or in the databases, aerials or fire insurance maps that does not have a corresponding record with the regulatory agencies as being properly removed, we will call it a REC and it will require further investigation.
A Phase II ESA requires developing a scope of work to try to find if the soil or water has been impacted by chemicals that were used onsite or nearby. The scientists map out a drill pattern to delineate the extent of the contamination or to try to find the tank itself. Sometimes we use Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to try to 'see' the tank underground.
The scope of the project is very important and is dependent on what our clients ultimately want to accomplish. For example, if you know you'll need closure from the State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) we'll tailor the investigation to that goal. If you plan to walk away from the deal if there is anything in the soil, we can save you money with a much narrower scope. It's important to communicate with our scientists so we can develop a scope that meets your needs before we start drilling.
Phase II ESA: Drill Rigs
A3 Environmental Consultants will hire a drill rig which will drill until we find ground water.
We'll take samples of the soil and water. The goal of the drilling is typically to find the extent of the plume of pollution that is underground. It's important to know if the contamination is there at all, and if it is, how far it's traveled, especially if it's traveled offsite.
Our samples are taken at different depths and 'sniffed' with an electronic nose called a Photoionisation Detector (PID) which senses volatile solvents in the soil. It doesn't find everything we might be looking for such as heavy metals, but it can find fuel that may have leaked into the soil.
Phase II ESA: Laboratory Work
A3E will submit the samples we take of the soil and groundwater to a certified laboratory. They run tests and create the data we need to answer the question, "What's in the Soil?" Hopefully your property is clean and this was an exercise in caution. Unfortunately, we sometimes find chemicals such as petroleum products or dry cleaning fluid. If you were a potential buyer, this information may help you from making a costly mistake.
Nothing escapes the chemistry that happens with the lab samples. If it's there, we'll find it.
Phase II ESA: Report
The process usually takes 30 to 45 days and is dependent on the availability of the drill rig crews. When the laboratory results come back to us we can call you with a preliminary read on what we found. A few days later we'll have your report in your hands that outlines our findings and makes suggestions regarding next steps. Our clients use the findings of our Phase II ESAs to know when to walk away from a property purchase or to negotiate a lower price during the sale.
Prices for a typical Phase II ESA are hard to pin down because each project is different and entirely dependent on the scope of the project the client wants to complete. Typical finished costs are between $5,000 and $10,000 which can be a substantial portion of the transaction costs. We try to avoid Phase II ESAs if at all possible but we'll always tell you what kind of risks you are taking.