Able Inspection Services performs Phase 1 ESA (Environmental Site Assessment) Inspections throughout Florida. We perform Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments in Naples, Fort Myers, up to Tampa along the west coast. We will travel to the Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale areas and all areas in between, depending on the project.
Current environmental laws state that if you purchase land that is later found to be contaminated, YOU are likely liable for all cleanup costs. Even if it was contaminated decades ago and you bought it without knowledge of the contamination, you likely will have UNLIMITED LIABILITY FOR ALL CLEANUP COSTS. This liability fully extends to lenders.
Your best defense is to get a Phase 1 ESA which can limit your liability and allow you to use the “Innocent Landowner Defense”. You generally will not qualify for this defense unless you performed proper due diligence – including a Phase 1 ESA. It may also qualify you to use federal funding for the cleanup.
I remember doing my first Phase 2 sampling in the early 1980’s in view of an old refinery. After drilling down to about the 6-8 foot mark we hit some pea gravel and it came up literally dripping with oil, the fumes off of it were nauseating. Worst thing is there was a row of single family homes directly across the street. I was just glad they were on city water and not well. I still wonder how far in each direction that oil had flowed (we were only drilling one smaller parcel)
My point is that the property you’re looking at purchasing can be virgin ground, and still be contaminated. Or it could have been contaminated decades ago then covered up.
What is a Phase 1 ESA?
The Phase I ESA involves a review of records, a site inspection, and interviews with owners, occupants, neighbors and local government officials. While sampling and laboratory analysis are not usually included in this phase, the Phase 1 ESA should still be conducted by an environmental professional trained in the appropriate standards. Able Inspection Services has a great record of performing these services quickly, but the review of government records and interviews still take some time. To ensure a quality assessment, allow sufficient time for the process. Contamination can result from activities that took place on the site. Contamination could also come from activities at a nearby property. The records and interviews will be the best sources to provide this information. Public records are available regarding the locations of properties that have been classified as contaminated by federal or state regulations. Depending on their proximity to your site, contamination could have made its way to your site.
How are ESAs Performed?
Each Phase I or II ESA should be performed by a trained and experienced environmental professional. The environmental professional should follow the most up to date ASTM and AAI standards, at the time of this writing are E 1527‐13 / E 2247‐08 and AAI in 40 CFR 312; ISO 14015 respectively. Your Phase 1 ESA should include a careful site inspection to inspect for any obvious evidence of contamination, such as buried tanks, unexplained areas of dead foliage, an oily sheen on standing water, etc. These are obviously just a few examples, it takes years of experience to be able to discern subtle clues which is why experience matters! The Phase 1 ESA will also include interviews, research on the property’s history, title history, and much more.
The Bottom Line:
Able Inspection Services has decades of experience in commercial inspections as well as environmental work. Our pricing is very competitive and our work is second to none.
If you need a Phase One ESA in Florida, please give us a call at (239) 354-3540 and we’ll be glad to perform a quality ESA for you.