Why Are Environmental Site Assessments Important?

Every goal has its obstacles. From the inception of the idea of your business to the challenges you may have faced in implementing those concepts, you are no stranger to the hard work, determination, and patience required along the way. When it comes to finding a home for your business, actual bricks and mortar also mean the beginning of a legacy that is undeniable.

But you might not know about the land you are about to buy and build your empire upon; it may be nothing more than a wasteland that is about to swallow your dreams. What you don’t know about this property could lead to financial ruin which is why environmental site assessments are so important. Whether there is potential liability due to environmental hazards affecting the health and safety of your employees, or simply through the sheer cost of remediating any potential threats hiding just below the surface having your land properly assessed by experts is highly recommended.

The best way to avoid this and any future headaches is through an Environmental Site Assessment, also referred to as an ESA, performed by a one of our team members at Essel Environmental Engineering and Consulting.

Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments

The Phase I ESA is where much of the heavy lifting is done. If little is known about the property, this is the perfect way to begin researching what is known about the area, so that you may proceed through the buying process.

  1. Site visitation.An initial inspection will involve an ESA inspector visiting the property. They will look for any signs of potential environmental hazards, whether it is natural or man-made, and complete a visual inspection of the site. Some of the indicators of a potential problem include:
  • Is there presence of mining/industrial activity on the property? Tailings, chemicals, and waste materials are very dangerous and can lead to costly cleanup.
  • Was the site used as a fueling station, service shop, machine shop, or other industry that dealt with petrochemicals? Petroleum is difficult to remove from groundwater as well as soil, and aside from being carcinogenic, it also affects living creatures in other ways which are dangerous, as well as being expensive to remediate.
  • Was the land used as a garbage dump, illegally or legally? Just below the surface might be years of untreated waste, which you don’t want to be your problem.
  • Are existing structures on the property safe or are they ghost towns of asbestos and heavy metals? Any of these situations are pricey to contend with.
  1. Checking the records. The next step involves checking local records in order to see how the land was used. You can learn a lot from digging deeper into permits. There is a good reason these sorts of records are kept public. Buyer beware!
  1. Word of mouth. A good inspector will actually interview past owners, employees, or residents of the area just to make sure nothing was missed when it comes to learning everything there is to know about this property. People can often paint a better picture of how a place was used a lot better than the records at City Hall.

The Bottom Line

Passing a Phase I inspection precludes the need for a Phase II ESA in many cases, enabling you to continue with your sale and move ahead with your plans. Educating yourself more about what you are getting into before buying a commercial property will save you the hassle of liability and potential threats to the health and safety of your employees in the future.

Essel Environmental Engineering and Consulting works with real estate developers, investors and managers to comply with environmental requirements set by the law. By performing environmental site assessments and advising our clients based on the results of the investigation, our goal is to do more than complete investigations and reports. We are committed to helping you reach your business goals with your properties while expressing the importance of site assessments.

Contact us if you would like to learn more, and get that much closer to achieving your goals today!