Environmental Site Assessment Service
Hands & Associates, Inc. is committed to providing our customers with quality work to reduce risk of potential liability of contaminated property. By performing a thorough and careful review early during the Phase I ESA process, we are able to identify and evaluate any past environmental activities which may reduce cost on any further investigations. Our main goal is to intelligently inform customers of any potential recognized environmental conditions on the property that they may make an informed decision of the next step.
We provide this short introduction to our real estate transfer service at Hands & Associates, Inc. to give you a brief overview of the environmental due-diligence procedures in Michigan and to introduce you to our Company.
The typical flow of environmental due-diligence for purchasers of commercial property in Michigan is the following:
Step 1: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
Prospective purchasers of property usually perform a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) to determine the likelihood of contamination being present from past operations at a property. It is a non-invasive assessment based on a historical review and site inspection.
The Phase I is usually conducted in accordance with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards (ASTM Standard E 1527-97). The Phase I ESA does not involve the collection or analysis of samples, rather we review the history of the site and perform a visual inspection following our well-structured and recognized process for historical inquiries. The result of the Phase I ESA is a determination of the likelihood of contaminated soil and/or groundwater at the property. If contamination is suspected, we would recommend areas for further investigation.
Step 2: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (if necessary based on Phase I)
If we identify areas suspected of contamination from past practices at the site (i.e. liquid chemicals usage, storage tanks, etc), through the Phase I process, a Phase II ESA is performed to collect samples to determine if impacts are present. We design the sampling program with the information from the Phase I such as the type of contaminants suspected and the location of contaminants suspected. The sampling usually involves drilling soil borings and collecting soil and groundwater samples for laboratory analysis.
Step 3: Baseline Environmental Assessment (if necessary based on Phase II)
We compare the results of the laboratory analyses of the samples collected in the Phase II investigation to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) Tables of Cleanup Criteria for soil or groundwater. Basically, if the sample result 'numbers' are above the residential cleanup criteria values, the MDEQ terms the site a 'Facility'. If the property is known to be a 'Facility', the new owner can gain protection from future liability (approved by the DEQ) of the existing known contamination if they perform a Baseline Environmental Assessment (BEA) within 45 days of purchase of the property.