Phase I Environmental Site Assessments for All Your Business Needs

Phase I ESAs are the first step in a comprehensive environmental site assessment (ESA). The real-world component of ESAs allows your technicians to understand which contaminants are truly present, and how they got there. Utilizing a Phase I Environmental Site Assessments will help you make decisions on future cleanup actions, as well as what activities should be done during the remainder of the ESA process.


The due diligence process is an important part of any real estate transaction. It involves a thorough investigation of the property and its surrounding area, including the condition of the property and any potential environmental issues. The goal is to make sure that you are aware of everything that could impact your ability to sell or rent your property in the future.

The due diligence Phase is typically broken down into two parts: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) and Phase II ESA. The purpose of these assessments is to determine whether there are any environmental concerns associated with your property. The results can help you determine whether or not it’s worth purchasing a property or what type of remediation may be necessary before you buy or lease a commercial or industrial property.

Why you may need a Phase I ESA 

Phase I ESA’s are typically performed as part of the property due diligence process related to a commercial real estate transaction and are designed to minimize legal liability by establishing a baseline understanding of the property’s current and historical uses. The assessment covers both “recognized environmental conditions” (RECs), or potential contamination on or emanating from the property, as well as “controlled recognized environmental conditions” (CRECs), or potential contamination that has been addressed through the use of land use controls.

By identifying RECs and CRECs, Phase I ESA’s provide buyers with a better understanding of existing environmental liabilities and reduce their exposure to future contamination liabilities. In some cases, the findings may lead to further investigation by way of a Phase II ESA. However, in many cases, Phase I ESA’s uncover no risk and help facilitate a smooth transfer of ownership without further investigation.

Phase I ESAs: what to expect 

A Phase I environmental site assessment (ESA) is the first step in any project that may involve the presence of hazardous materials at the property. This type of assessment is usually conducted prior to purchasing or leasing a property, but it can also be done during construction or after occupancy. The purpose of this initial assessment is to identify potential areas of concern that may warrant further investigation and/or remediation.

A Phase 1 ESA typically includes:

  • A walk-through inspection of the property by an experienced professional who will note areas where further investigation may be warranted
  • Initial sampling for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and other contaminants
  • Testing soil samples for heavy metals and other pollutants
  • Testing groundwater wells for contamination

Further steps after a Phase I ESA 

After a Phase I ESA has been completed, you will likely be presented with a list of recommended steps to take to further investigate the situation. 

These steps can include:

  • Phase II ESAs. These are more comprehensive than Phase I ESAs and can be conducted if it is determined that there is an elevated risk of adverse health effects from exposure to the contaminant(s) found in the initial assessment.
  • Site characterization reports. These reports are used when site-specific conditions require more detailed investigation than those performed during a Phase I ESA.
  • Remediation plans. Remediation plans outline which potential contaminants will be addressed and how these contaminants will be treated based on their relative risk level.

Wrapping up

It should be noted that the EPA (U.S Environmental Protection Agency) has made it very clear that Phase I ESAs are a very important part of evaluating the environmental impact of a new site. There are many benefits from completing such an evaluation when designing a new site, and perhaps you may want to consider using one in your next project. Phase I ESAs are an excellent way to ensure that your project goes as planned.

Michael Caine

Michael Caine is the Owner of Amir Articles and also the founder of ANO Digital (Most Powerful Online Content Creator Company), from the USA, studied MBA in 2012, love to play games and write content in different categories.