Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
InControl Technologies conducts over a hundred Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) per year. The purpose of a site assessment is to identify recognized environmental conditions (REC) through observation and research; we then provide valuable analysis and recommendations to our clients. InControl performs Phase I ESAs in accordance with ASTM standards. A typical Phase I ESA includes the following four basic tasks:
- Task 1: Records Review
- Task 2: Site Reconnaissance
- Task 3: Interviews with Local Government, Owners, and Prospective Buyers
- Task 4: Report Preparation
For example, the historical records review task includes a review of existing environmental and governmental databases and other data sites research. InControl Technologies obtains the most comprehensive data available to provide our client an accurate assessment of the property. The database search will include all the required databases listed in the ASTM standards for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments. We will also contact local governmental agencies such as the local fire, health departments and emergency management for evidence of potential environmental issues on or adjacent to the subject property.
Once we have reviewed the available records including any historical environmental reports, InControl Technologies conducts a site reconnaissance of the subject areas and neighborhoods as required under the current ASTM Standards. As requested and arranged with the client, we perform site visits to the properties or verify their existence through access from public areas and sidewalks. In addition, InControl Technologies has licensed personnel to operate drones to obtain aerial footage of large parcels of land.
The Phase I ESA Report summarizes the information gathered from historical research, review of area geology/hydrogeology, site visit, regulatory review, interviews, and site evaluation. InControl Technologies endeavors to meet the applicable standard of care for the services performed and, in doing so, is obliged to advise our client of the limitations to the ESA which are essential to help clients identify and thereby manage risks. These risks may be further evaluated—but not eliminated—through additional research or investigation. After completing the Phase I ESA report, InControl Technologies can, upon request, advise our clients of the additional research or investigation necessary to evaluate any significant recognized environmental conditions identified in our report.
InControl has established a Risk Management program to assist property developers in land transactions. We inform our clients about any transferrable environmental liabilities. Our Risk Management program is vital in the investigation process and allows our clients to make financially critical throughout the entire project.
We develop a customized Risk Assessment plan for each client which includes a phased approach to the ASTM Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) standard. The first step in the process is to define the areas and levels of risk the owner/developer is willing to accept. The ESA then focuses on addressing the concerns that the developer wants to control. For example, one property developer might not want dry cleaning establishments on the property because of the possibility of contamination. Therefore, prior to beginning the comprehensive Phase I ESA, InControl searches City Directory records and the RCRIS database to determine if a dry cleaning operator once occupied the property. Research will expose whether this would be a high-risk site under our client’s unique risk management profile.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessment
Depending on the results of the Phase I ESA, a Phase II ESA may be recommended. The purpose of the Phase II ESA is to determine the significance of the identified REC. Generally, data is collected to satisfy the regulatory requirements of the TCEQ, Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) and/or USEPA. Our project managers develop the final scope of work for the Phase II ESAs. Staff geologists and field technicians with InControl Technologies conduct the field work including, but not limited to, installation of soil borings and groundwater monitoring wells, and the collection of soil, groundwater, and/or surface water samples. Additional subcontractors are contracted as needed (e.g., investigation derived waste disposal) on a task-by-task basis to provide waste management. Samples collected during the Phase II investigation are analyzed at a third-party, off-site NELAC accredited laboratory.
The data from the assessment is summarized in a Limited Site Assessment report for our client. Analytical results are compared to the assessment levels set by the applicable TCEQ program (i.e. TRRP for the dry cleaner site or PST Action Levels for the Gas Station sites) or RRC standards if there are oil and gas issues. Typically, the Phase II assessments do not completely define the lateral and vertical extent of impacts in each of the affected media, but provide the information necessary to develop a more comprehensive scope of work. In addition, the information gained from initial site assessments is used to determine the correct path to regulatory closure through the appropriate regulatory program. In a comprehensive, detailed report, InControl Project Managers summarize the identified areas of concern, the assessment approach, results of the site assessment, and conclusions. Recommendations for further investigation and/or response actions are included in the report, as necessary.