A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (Phase 1 ESA) is a report prepared for a real estate property that identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. The Phase 1 Environmental report is required by lenders and is highly recommended prior to purchasing commercial or industrial real estate, prior to starting new residential developments or when purchasing undeveloped, vacant land. 


The main purpose of the Phase 1 ESA is to ensure there is no soil or groundwater contamination from previous use or neighboring sites that may impact the property's value or limit its use due to regulatory-mandated cleanup or civil liability.


The Phase 1 ESA reports prepared by Frank Springer & Associates, Inc. comply with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard E-1527-13. This ASTM standard adheres to the Environmental Protection Agency All Appropriate Inquiries Rule, codified into the federal regulations by the EPA (40 CFR Part 312). Our reports are prepared and conducted by licensed Registered Environmental Site Assessors.

Why Is a Phase I ESA Necessary?

A Phase I ESA is needed when acquiring  commercial and industrial sites, in order to evaluate the historical use of the property and to determine if there is a potential for hazardous materials use and/or release from the site. 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) in 1980. According to CERCLA, a property owner, property manager, lessor, or lender can be liable, by virtue of property ownership or control, for remediation of hazardous substances in the soil and/or groundwater underlying a site, even if the prior property owner did not cause and/or contribute to the contamination. 


The purpose of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is to gather sufficient information to develop an independent professional opinion about the environmental condition of the property and to identify actual or potential environmental contamination, which may impact the property value.  A Phase I ESA  is intended to permit a user to satisfy one of the requirements to qualify for the innocent landowner, contiguous property owner, or bona fide prospective purchaser limitations under the CERCLA liability statute.

Lenders conduct Phase I ESAs as part of their risk management practices - to determine whether there may be environmental issues present that could cause a borrower financial hardship, and result in a reduced value of the property due to contamination. 

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment conducted by Frank Springer & Associates, Inc.  will help allow you to legally meet your due diligence obligations.

What Kinds of Issues Might Be Found During A Phase I ESA?
  • Illegal dumping

  • Stained and/or contaminated surface soil

  • Waste from former automotive repair facilities

  • Storage drums containing unidentified chemical waste or oil

  • Petroleum hydrocarbons

  • Radiological hazards

  • Lead

  • Old electrical transformers containing PCBs

  • Improperly stored or leaking storage containers

What Does a Phase I ESA Include?

* A Site Visit
     - Inspection of the Site 
     - Catalog the Presence of Hazardous Materials

* Historical Research
     - Historical Aerial Photographs
     - Reverse Street Directories
     - Building Permits
     - Planning Records
     - Topographical Maps
     - Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
     - Department of Oil and Gas Maps
     - Title Information

* Geology and Hydrogeology
     - Soil Type
     - Geological Setting
     - Groundwater Depth

* Regulator Research
     - Fire Departments
     - State Environmental Agencies
     - Federal Environmental Agencies

* Interviews and Document Review
     - Interview Tenants and Owners
     - Review Provided Reports