Government officials and members of the public are more concerned with reducing pollution than ever before. Pollutants have a way of scarring the land, often in ways that you cannot see. So every property that changes hands or is suspected of containing potential contaminants must undergo a thorough environmental assessment.
This assessment allows an environmental professional to gather essential data so that any suspected toxicity can be confirmed and property owners can take the necessary precautions to clean up contaminants or prevent pollution in the future.
All environmental site assessments begin with a Phase I evaluation. Phase I is the exploratory phase where environmental professionals take a number of steps to determine the current and past uses of the property. You should know what to expect during a Phase I environmental site assessment so you can better appreciate the value these evaluations can provide.
Many properties show no indication of current use that might lead to contamination. But this doesn't mean that a given property hasn't been exposed to pollutants in the past. Contamination that occurred several years ago could still have a negative effect on groundwater supplies, soil quality, and air cleanliness.
Environmental professionals will begin a Phase I site assessment with a historical review to learn more about a property's past uses. The historical review requires that the environmental professionals gather historical records, aerial photographs, and fire insurance maps. These documents will contain valuable information that lets an assessor know how a piece of property was utilized before the title was awarded to the current owner.
An environmental professional also completes face-to-face interviews during a Phase I assessment. These interviews help to fill in gaps left by historical documents.
Previous owners, neighbors, and past property occupants can each shed light on the ways in which a property was used. Valuable evidence of fuel spills or chemical releases can be obtained by questioning individuals with a connection to the property being assessed.
Government entities closely regulate the use and storage of any materials that could pose a threat to the health of the public and the environment. So a thorough government search will be conducted during the course of a Phase I environmental site assessment.
The assessor will look for fuel tank registrations and manifests identifying the movement of hazardous materials to and from the property being evaluated. Evidence of chemical or contaminant storage on the property is cause for further investigation into the condition of the air, water, and soil near the property.
Once the environmental professional knows how a piece of property has been used in the past, he or she can conduct an on-site inspection to determine if hazardous materials are still present on the property.
All aspects of the property will be checked for contamination. This means that an environmental professional will need access to all building interiors, all building exteriors, and the grounds on which buildings sit.
The on-site inspection is visual only during Phase I. An assessor will be looking for evidence of stained soils, active fuel or chemical storage tanks, and signs that activities which might result in contamination are taking place on the property.
If no evidence of contamination is discovered through a Phase I environmental site assessment, you can rest assured knowing that your property is not contributing to the toxicity of the environment. If contamination is discovered, it will need to be tested and cleaned up through a Phase 2 and Phase 3 site assessment in the future.
Invest in an environmental site assessment if you are planning to sell your property soon. The information gathered during a Phase I inspection can help you assure clients that your property is clean and contaminantfree. Contact Hygenix Inc. to schedule your environmental site assessment today.