What is a Phase 2 ESA, and when do you need one?

At Essel, we’re often asked the question, “how is a Phase 2 ESA different from a Phase 1 ESA?” We get it, it’s complicated. Hopefully this article will start to provide answers to some of your Phase 1 & 2 ESA questions.

What is a Phase 2 ESA?

Development projects often require a Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation to identify any potential contamination present in soil, soil vapor, and/or groundwater. When residential properties are being converted from commercial uses, for example, planning commissions will require investigations to be performed before project approvals are provided.

Subsurface investigations consist of:

  • Drilling of soil borings around the area of suspected impacted soil
  • Collection of soil, soil vapor, and groundwater samples
  • Soil lithologic classification
  • In-field screening for undifferentiated volatile organic compounds
  • Laboratory chemical analysis of samples
  • Evaluation of data and report preparation.

Okay, but how is a Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation different from a Phase 1 ESA?

To put it simply, a Phase 1 ESA assesses the likelihood of contaminants being present, while a Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation assesses whether or not the contaminant is present in the area. Phase 1 ESAs review records, involve visual inspections of the property, and interview current and past property owners to determine the likelihood of contamination. A Phase 1 ESA often leads to the need for a Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation, if it looks like contaminants might be
present in the area.

Got more Phase 1 & Phase 2 questions? Reach out to us at 1-800-595-7616 to speak with one of our experts!