April 1, 2019

How Much Does a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Cost?


The cost of a phase 1 esa usually starts at around $1400 and goes up from there. Sometimes upwards of $4500 or above, depending on the complexity of the site assessment. Depending on how many reports you need, multiple reports can also be discounted, thus lowering the total cost of the Phase 1 ESA process. When you are in the process of buying or selling property, you will need to have an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) completed. There are a number of reasons this is necessary, including environmental protection requirements, but more so for your protection as a property owner and your lender as a property investor.

What Factors Determine the Cost of a Phase 1 ESA?

A Phase 1 ESA is an investigation of many aspects of a property. The Phase 1 is essentially a visual inspection of the property as well as checking public records, performing interviews with previous owners, neighbors, or employees in order to determine if the land was used for potentially hazardous purposes. This would include properties that were previously service stations, garbage dumps, machine repair/production facilities, or many other uses similar in type. Unlike a Phase 2 ESA, there is no lab work, soil or water sampling, or lithographic profiling of the property performed.

Some factors of a Phase 1 ESA include:

  • Property size: The larger the property, the more ground there is to cover during an assessment, literally. The time that it takes to walk around the property, any structures currently on the premises, and the number of locations within a site that need to be inspected should all be considered for the cost. Essentially, the larger the property, the larger the cost to inspect it, but that isn’t always the case. Undeveloped sites that are located in rural locations could be significantly larger than one that is located in the middle of a metropolitan area, and still have a lower cost than a site which is much smaller.
  • Location: Since drive time is calculated into the cost of the environmental assessment, properties that require significant time on the road in order to get to the site also factor into the overall cost. As mentioned with property size, complexity of an assessment can affect the total cost of the ESA. A long-distance drive to an undeveloped property may be less expensive than a property that is closer to the inspector’s operations headquarters.
  • History: Again, with more development there tends to be more records to go through for an inspection. For lower cost environmental site assessments, there are usually fewer records, so the cheaper it will be. Better records will also determine cost, since partial, missing, or damaged records will require more work to analyze. A site that has a long history of public records, multiple uses, and more neighbors to interview will generally be more expensive as well.

An Investment in a Phase 1 ESA is an Investment in Your Property

Though this may seem like a lot of money, and often property buyers are hit with the sticker shock of the cost, there is a lot to be gained. Considering a Phase 1 environmental site assessment might determine early on if a property was the site of activity that poses a threat to the health and safety of workers, neighbors, or the environment itself. The results of the assessment could help you avoid or reassure your decision in buying a piece of property considered as an investment.

A Phase 1 ESA might have an impact on the likelihood of a Phase 2 ESA as well. If a Phase 2 environmental site assessment is needed, the buyer can stop the process and look for a more suitable property. The results of the Phase 1 assessment could also indicate that the property is not at risk and therefore, no Phase 2 ESA is necessary. In the long run, a Phase 1 ESA will save you money on potential litigation, remediation, and reclamation for land that is found to be an environmental concern. It may save you much more money in the future by finding out early on whether or not the property is a risk to you or your investors.

Essel Environmental Has the Experience You Can Count On

A vast amount of experience is a factor of providing a fast and effective Phase 1 ESA. Contact Essel Environmental to get your Phase 1 environmental site assessment started and see why we are a leader in the field of environmental site assessments for the San Francisco Bay area and nationwide. Not only will hiring a competent and capable ESA professional reduce your time, and as a result save you money, but it will also improve the accuracy of the report and get you on the right path to completing your project.