Services

What Is A Site Assessment

 

 

We live in a time of ever increasing attention and respect for the natural environment around us.  Associated with this increased awareness has been the evolution of strict environmental laws and enforcement.  An environmental site assessment serves to evaluate a given property for any potential release, or threat of release, of oil and/or hazardous materials at the site.  When performed by a qualified firm, a proper environmental site assessment can provide a property owner with the knowledge to act in accordance with the applicable laws and thereby reduce what are often complex situations to more manageable ones.

 

 

Individuals involved with real estate have to be aware of possible litigation involving property with damage to surficial and subsurface soils as well as ground water.  These conditions may have been caused by an underground tank leak or other sources.  These sources commonly include poorly stored barrels, untreated wastewater, or improperly stored or disposed of wastes, all of which can produce a health threat.  Clean up cost, if necessary, may add up to amounts exceeding the property’s worth.  A site assessment performed by those who have had experience with state and municipal agencies, as well as experience with a myriad of environmental problems at various properties, can help cope with or discover these liabilities.

 

 

Each of the following parties have a special interest in how a property is handled: the sellers, buyers, lenders, investors, and consultants.  Environmental risks can be greatly reduced with the proper approach from a professional consulting firm.  The desired approach is to knowledgeably identify risks and potential harm to the subject site.  Proper assessments should include a history of the site and past businesses operating on the site.  This history should include identification of past and present owners, maps, plans, deeds, and review of products or materials which were manufactured or disposed of in the past, and a permit history to ascertain what activities were actually licensed.  This permit review must cover violation notices and enforcement orders issued by environmental agencies, including the local health department, as well as the State Authorities and the EPA.

 

 

Property with underground storage tanks and surface stored pollutants pose a very real problem.  These sources have the potential to contaminate the site on which they are stored as well as other properties nearby the site.  This situation can incur serious litigation which may involve parties other than just the present owners.

 

 

Since the site report may be used to assess any likely financial exposure, the text of an investigation should explore the impacts of hazardous materials which could travel off-site.  To avoid any misunderstanding regarding development potential for a property, local laws and zoning controls should be covered in the report.  Reviews at state and local agencies are a useful tool for discovering what surrounding usages may be a threat to the site in question and what action, if any, has been taken in light of a problem on a property nearby to the site in question.  If a problem does arise on a given site, and state agencies are notified and become involved, then further assessment will be required.

 

 

The proper assessment is not a “walkover survey.”  It should be an in-depth discovery process involving professionals with backgrounds in civil engineering, geology, hydrogeology, and geotechnology  who together provide a highly qualified body to plan and execute the proper steps necessary to identify any release or threat of release of hazardous substances.

 

 

Environmental risks are encountered and taken; however, controls can be implemented.  In light of insurance companies decreasing, against costly problems, a proper site assessment provides an avenue to reduce the risks taken.  This service should include informing the parties concerned as to the condition of the site, whether favorable or unfavorable, and what may be involved in order to correct an adverse situation.

 

The site assessment stands as the most important prerequisite to many commercial land transactions, a valuable source of information, and a helpful tool  to lessen and control legal, financial, and environmental risks.  Until environmental law provides for uniform skills and certification, it remains up to the client to choose a firm with a reputation for equitable and competent assessments of properties and their potential for release of oil or hazardous materials.

 

Basic Types of Assessments

 

  1. 1.       Data Report

 

 

IES has developed the DataReport, for the cost of $525.00, which is a combination of a comprehensive database search and a summary report, designed to give you a “thumbnail” sketch of the environmental conditions of a site. You may want to consider using our DataReport  for some of the following, should they fit your needs:

 

 

  1. To satisfy the “ due diligence” requirements of the FDIC for some select properties in your portfolios.

 

  1. As a “screening” device to identify some of the potential environmental risks of properties in a specific “loan value” range, such as when the mortgage is small, and/or the “loan-to-value” ratio is “good”.

 

  1. A preliminary “look-see” on an intended foreclosure.

 

  1. To supplement an “older” environmental report that you have in your files on an intended loan renewal.

 

And Yes, our policy of a 100% credit still applies, should the DataReport lead you to the conclusion that an ASTM Transaction Screen (ASTM) and/or a Preliminary Site Assessment (PSA) is warranted, IES will give you 100% credit, of the amount you paid for the DataReport, towards the cost of an ASTM and/or a PSA, if either is done within six (6) months.

 

 

  1. 2.      ASTM Transaction Screen

 

 

“Due Diligence…With A 100% Credit!”

 

 

IES  thought that you might be interested in the new version of the ASTM Transaction Screen (Link) that we have integrated with our Limited Site Assessment.

 

 

IES had developed this type of report for the use of some major New England based financial institutions, and their response to its quality and effectiveness has been very effective to Date.

 

Have you ever read the ASTM Transaction Screens given to you and asked yourself:

 

  • What Did They Say?

 

  • What Does It Mean?

 

  • Why Don’t They Just Put These Things In Plain English?

 

Well, No More!

 

IES has added to our ASTM Transaction Screen a “Risk Rating” which gives you our opinion of the environmental status of your site, in Plain English.

 

It seems that more lending institutions are using this integrated ASTM as a “screening” and “due diligence” procedure, for Identifying potential environmental risks for properties whose values are in a selected range “, when the lending institution feels a “full blown” Preliminary Site Assessment (PSA) is not necessary.

 

The cost of this report is in the $995.00 to $1,055.00 range, depending on location, etc.

 

Coupled with the above, should the ASTM lead you to the conclusion that a PSA is warranted, IES will give you 100% Credit,  of the amount you paid for the ASTM, towards the cost of the PSA, if the PSA is done within (6) months.

 

  1. 3.      Phase I Environmental Site Assessments 

 

 

The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is prepared utilizing the ASTM 1527-05 standard.  A Phase I ESA is a report that determines the environmental risk associated with lending, purchasing, leasing, or selling a property.  A Phase I ESA consists of five basic components, which include: a review of local, state, and federal records; a review of historical sources pertaining to past site uses; interviews with owners, occupants, and other individuals in regard to the property; a site reconnaissance to identify present and past uses and Recognized Environmental Concerns (RECs), if present; and preparation of a written report, which includes findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

 

 

  1. 4.      Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (Limited Subsurface Investigations)

 

A Phase II further evaluates properties where Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) have been identified.  The primary objective of conducting a Phase II is to evaluate RECs identified in the Phase I ESA or Transaction Screen, for the purpose of providing sufficient information regarding the nature and extent of possible contamination.  The Phase II assessment typically includes the collection and laboratory analysis of soil and groundwater samples.  Analytical results are compared to state standards.  This information is provided to the client and often utilized to make decisions regarding real estate transactions.

 

Total Services Offered

 

Below Is A “Thumb-Nail” Sketch of the Services Provided By Our Environmental Specialists:

 

 

LSP Services

 

Peer Report Reviews

 

ASTM Transaction Screen

 

Subsurface Investigations

 

Contamination Remediation

 

DataReport With Risk Rating

 

ASTM Phase I Site Assessment

 

Soil and Groundwater testing Analysis

 

 

  • 100% Credit Will Be Given If Next Level Of Assessment Is Required