What is a Phase I Investigation?

In the United States, an environmental site assessment is a report prepared for a real estate holding that identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. The analysis, often called an ESA, typically addresses both the underlying land as well as physical improvements to the property.

The Phase I ESA involves a review of records, a site inspection, and interviews with owners, occupants, neighbors and local government officials. While sampling and laboratory analysis are not always included in this phase, they should be conducted by an environmental professional trained in the appropriate standards. The review of government records and interviews may take a lot of time. To ensure a quality assessment, allow sufficient time for the process. Contamination can result from activities that took place on the site. Contamination could also come from activities at a nearby property. The records and interviews will be the best sources to provide this information. Public records are available regarding the locations of properties that have been classified as contaminated by federal or state regulations. Depending on their proximity to your site, contamination could have made its way to your site.

If a site is considered contaminated, a Phase II environmental site assessment may be conducted, ASTM test E1903, a more detailed investigation involving chemical analysis for hazardous substances and/or petroleum hydrocarbons.


What is a Phase II Subsurface Investigation?

A Phase II subsurface investigation would generally be recommended if historical documents or a site inspection suggests that soil or groundwater contamination might exist at the subject property following a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA).

The purpose of the Phase II Subsurface Investigation is to determine if contamination exist. Investigations determine the impact of the contamination on the soil and/or groundwater conditions beneath a property.

Potentially contaminated sites that are recommended for Phase II subsurface investigations commonly involve:

  • Dry cleaning operations
  • Printing Facilities
  • Manufacturing Facilities
  • Gas stations
  • Underground StorageTanks (USTs)
  • Leaking tanks
  • Hazardous materials surrounding the subject property

The Phase II ESA includes sampling and laboratory analysis to confirm the presence of hazardous materials. Some of the tests that may be performed include: surficial soil and water samples,subsurface soil borings, groundwater monitoring well installation, sampling, and analysis (may be appropriate on neighboring properties as well to determine the presence of contamination),drum sampling (if any were left on the property), sampling of dry wells, floor drains and catch basins, transformer/capacitor sampling for Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), geophysical testing for buried tanks and drums , tesing of underground storage tanks.


Does HVN remove Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)?

Yes. UST inspections, certification monitoring, repair, removal and replacement were added to the full services complement shortly after the requirement for tank testing was established in the State of California in 1984. HVN has tested and certified over 10,000 USTs for over 2,000 different clients and has been involved in the removal and repair of over 1,000 tanks and the installation of over 500 new tanks and 300 monitoring systems. For tank removal and repair, we perform in accordance with the requirements of local fire departments and those set forth for Closure Requirements in State's Regulations (Article 7).