Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)
Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) are an essential part of most real estate transactions, although primarily in the commercial and industrial sectors, an ESA report can be conducted on any type of land including open land tracts and multi-family units. An ESA report identifies, as much as possible, recognized environmental conditions associated with a subject property. This is achieved by performing a thorough on-site investigation, carefully studying available agency records, conducting historical databases search, recording the inventory or use of hazardous materials/wastes, evaluating the indoor air quality by identifying the potential for mold, mildew, asbestos and lead-based paints, and by careful examination of a sites environmental impact due to visual impacts, housekeeping practices, public safety and hazardous substance issues, soil/water/air pollution, compliance with key regulatory programs, particularly those related to underground storage tanks, asbestos, PCBs, hazardous chemicals use/storage/disposal practices and others.
EMA West, Inc. (EMA) has conducted over five thousand (5,000) Phase I Environmental Site Assessments over the past twenty years. Our reports are in strict compliance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E 1527-05 standard and the US EPA "All Appropriate Inquiries," 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 312 necessary to qualify for the Innocent Landowner defense.
CERCLA or Superfund
Following the Love Canal disaster in New York, where it was discovered that Hooker Chemical had disposed of over 21,000 tons of toxic chemicals under the neighborhood, congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) in 1980 (referred to in the industry as Superfund). Due to lack of funds and resources, significant amendments to CERCLA were added in the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act of 1986 which allocated an additional $9 billion in funding and access to new technologies. CERCLA provides ample resources and funds for the remediation (clean up) of contaminated sites that endanger public health and/or the environment. This act authorized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify the parties responsible for contaminated sites and insist they decontaminate the site, and in the event the responsible parties are not located the EPA has the authority and funds to perform the remediation themselves. These funds originally came from tax money collected from the petroleum and chemical industries, which were designed as an incentive to use less toxic chemicals. However, at the end of 1995 they stopped collecting the tax and since then the costs have been paid for by general revenues appropriated by Congress.