Environmental Site Assessment

An Environmental Site Assessment is a set of reports to assess the contamination of a property or land. It is normally divided into two phases that firstly evaluate the history of the land and property, and to visually inspect the site. The second phase of the report involves conducting specific laboratory tests to identify the contamination and develop a plan for remedial action.

Environmental Site Assessment Phase 1

An Environmental Site Assessment Phase 1, sometimes referred to as ESA, is a prepared report that identifies existing or potential contamination to sites which are a prevalent concern for organizations involved in Property Transfer Evaluations (PTE) and construction on undeveloped land. The Environmental Site Assessment Phase 1 typically addresses the underlying land, as well as physical improvements to the property.

While the actual sampling of soil, air, groundwater, and building materials is typically not undertaken during an Environmental Site Assessment Phase 1, the ESA Phase I is generally considered the initial first step in the process of environmental site assessment due diligence.

Once the Environmental Site Assessment Phase 1 is complete, an evaluation will be made as to the contamination levels. If the site is considered contaminated, then an Environmental Site Assessment Phase 2 would then be conducted.

Generally, the Environmental Site Assessment Phase 1 process can include gathering relevant information and a visual, non-destructive, non-sampling site inspection. This can include:

  • Performance of an on-site visit to view the present conditions
  • Evaluation of the risks of neighboring properties upon the subject property
  • Interview of persons with knowledge regarding the property history (including past owners, present owners, key site manager, present tenants, neighbors etc.)
  • Examine municipal or provincial planning files to check the prior land usage permits that were granted on the property
  • Visual inspection for:
    • Asbestos Containing Building Materials
    • Lead Based Paints
    • Lead in Drinking Water supplies
    • Mold
    • Radon
    • Mercury Poisoning etc.

Environmental Site Assessment Phase 2

Using the recommendations provided in the Environmental Site Assessment Phase 1 that a contamination exists on the subject site, an Environmental Site Assessment Phase 2 will be carried out.

The Environmental Site Assessment Phase 2 focuses on researching specific information required regarding the subject property and land, and can include the sampling of:

  • Sediment
  • Ground and surface water
  • Surface and subsurface soil
  • Soil vapour

In addition, the tasks of the Environmental Site Assessment Phase 2 can include above and underground storage tank content testing, asbestos containing material (ACM) sampling, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) identification and sampling, and geomagnetic or geophysical surveys.

While undertaking an Environmental Site Assessment Phase 2, our teams will directly measure conditions such as noise levels and radiation. Using environmental fate or transportation models, we can evaluate the potential migration of contamination across the site.

The results of the Environmental Site Assessment Phase 2 report will outline the information gathered by the inspection team. This will include laboratory results and it will present the determination of whether conditions or events at the site are causing, or are likely to cause, adverse effects in the future and will require notification to the appropriate regulatory authority.

Together, both the ESA Phase 1 and ESA Phase 2 can provide a subject site with a complete analysis of contamination and allow for a remedial plan of action.