Phase 1 ESA

What is a Phase 1 ESA?

An Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is a report that identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. ESA’s usually address the underlying land as well as physical improvements to the property.

Why are Phase 1 ESA Assessments Important?

Phase 1 Environmental reports are typically conducted during commercial or industrial real estate transactions, or for any type of development, or for any site nearby to environmentally sensitive activities, such as: gas stations, dry cleaners, industrial facilities and former agricultural properties.

This process helps protect the health of you, co-workers & the surrounding community from harmful environmental factors

How We Can Help

Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments

Phase 1 Environmental reports are prepared for real estate and business transactions such as: land purchases, building purchases, leases, business purchases, new developments and bank loans.

Our Phase 1 ESA reports adhere to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard E-1527.  A Phase 1 Environmental report is the one required by lenders and is highly recommended prior to purchasing commercial or industrial real estate, or prior to starting new developments.

A Phase 1 is a site visit and document review of the surrounding area to determine if further investigation is advised from an environmental stand point. A Phase 1 inspection is a review of local governmental documents regarding the site to determine what the past usage of the site was along with extensive document review of the surrounding area. It also entails a very involved and detailed site visit by a qualified professional.

These potential risks can be anything from a past gas station on or near the site that might have contaminated the ground water to there having been a dry cleaner on the site that might have spilled chemicals into the ground.

The focus of a Phase 1 inspection is environmental not the structure or any of the systems of the building. The systems are the focus of the general visual inspection. They are two separate areas of responsibility. Both are important. Many lending institutions require a Phase 1 clearance before they will lend money.

There are two other aspects to a Phase 1 that may come into play depending on what is found during the Phase 1 inspection and research. These are Phase 2 and Phase 3. Phase 2 and Phase 3 are the more involved aspects of the environmental field. Phase 2 involves testing of the site such as coring into the earth and taking samples of the soil along with testing it to determine what is in the soil. The information during a Phase 2 will determine if the site warrants further investigation and/or to be remediated. If remediation is needed this is Phase 3.

We offer our clients a perspective on every property type.

Every phase 1 site assessment that we perform is signed off by a professional engineer or a professional geologist to ensure accuracy.

Phase 1 ESA Scope of Work

Site Visit

  • Inspection of the Site by an Experienced Inspector
  • Catalog the Presence of Hazardous Materials or Petroleum Products

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
  • Interview State and Local Regulators
  • Review Provided Reports

Get More Information

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Basic Elements of a Phase 1 ESA