What is the Difference Between a Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment?

If you are a New Jersey business owner, you already know the intricacies of financing any property. One of the state requirements for financing a property is you must perform an environmental assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to make sure there’s no contamination on the property.

You may be asking what is involved in a Phase 1 environmental assessment. You might also be wondering what the difference is between a Phase I and Phase II environmental assessment.

Why Do I Need A Phase II or Phase II Environmental Site Assessment?

In the United States, before any business can sell a property for commercial development, it must perform a site assessment. Site assessments guarantee there is no environmental contamination on the property. If the assessment finds any contamination, the business can identify it and remove it as part of the sale.

What is the purpose of a Phase 1 environmental site assessment? The federal government mandated property owners conduct Phase 1 and Phase 2 assessments in response to several 1980 court cases. The cases determined that Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment The courts determined that it didn’t matter when the contamination occurred, the current property owner is liable for the cleanup.

You can understand, for a lot of property owners and potential land buyers, this is terrifying. What if someone just bought a property last year, and there is contamination? The new owner must pay, even if he or she had nothing to do with it. In response, the courts said, in some cases, that new owners would not be liable for cleanup. If they received an assessment showing no contamination at the time of purchase, they wouldn’t be liable for cleanup costs. Not only did owners decide to get their properties tested, but banks began to require it for financing.

What Is the Difference Between a Phase II and Phase II Environmental Assessment?

There are differences between a Phase 1 and a Phase 2 environmental site assessment. In general, a Phase 1 environmental site assessment is a basic overview of the property. In Phase 1, a team evaluates whether it is likely a property is contaminated. The team looks at the ground for contamination. The team members also review the property and regulatory records to see who else owned the property. They determine what kind of businesses were on the land in the past. Team members might interview former owners to see what kind of businesses they had. In addition to going through records, the team members will look at adjacent properties for signs of contamination. They will also take preliminary soil samples.

In Phase 2, there is more intensive testing done. There are tests performed on the soil and water to see if they’re contaminated. A lab will compare the results with local, state, and federal regulations to see if they meet the guidelines. Every jurisdiction has guidelines for safe and unsafe contamination levels. A team might also inspect the interior of buildings for contamination. This could include lead paint, radon or other contaminants. Team members would also examine the surrounding land to determine if it’s near a wetland or ecologically important property. They would make a list of any animal and plant species they find to see if any are endangered.

The Phase 2 environmental site assessment takes more time to do. However, it’s very important because it determines how much environmental damage might be on the property. A team might also discover how much it would cost to remediate the property.

If you need an environmental site assessment done, contact All American Environmental in New Jersey. We have experienced professionals who can help you determine whether your property is contaminated. We can also help with remediation. Give us a call today.