Environmental site assessments (known as ESA's) are generally performed for compliance with the concept of due diligence. ESA's or environmental transaction screens are generally a required aspect of a commercial real estate transaction. During ESA's potential and recognized environmental issues are identified and evaluated during the financing, acquiring, or managing of commercial real estate.

Phase I ESA provides an independent, professional opinion of any environmental conditions and potential environmental liabilities discovered that are associated with the real estate transaction. Based on the results of the assessment environmental recommendations are provided where needed or applicable.

In general, due diligence Phase I environmental site assessments include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Inspecting the site to assess potential environmental liabilities, such as storage tanks, polychlorinated biphenyls, asbestos, hazardous chemicals, petroleum products, and wastes
  • Interviewing property managers or other parties familiar with the current and historical use of the real estate
  • Reviewing regulatory environmental files and databases
  • Researching site history
  • Reviewing adjacent properties to evaluate potential sources off-site contamination
  • Reviewing property environmental files and reports, as available

Phase II ESA's generally involves testing to determine the existence and extent of subsurface environmental contaminations.

Phase III ESA's generally involve the removal or abatement of subsurface environmental contaminations usually soil and groundwater related.