Updated on February 12, 2020
Environmental Impact Assessment Explained
If you’re planning to buy or refinance a property you already own, you’ll want to know that your money is well invested. One of the steps you must take to ensure that this is the case is an assessment of the property you plan to purchase or refinance. An environmental assessment is a thorough examination of the property to ensure that it is safe and that there are not any hazards associated with it, such as mold, asbestos, or contaminated soil.
Environmental site assessment is generally made up of two different phases: Phase I assessment and Phase II assessment. Not all properties are going to have to undergo both phases. If you choose a Phase I assessment for your property and nothing is found to indicate environmental hazards, then you will not have to move on to the second phase. If, however, there is any indication that certain hazards exist, a more detailed examination of the property will be necessary.
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Phase I Assessment
A Phase I assessment of your commercial or residential property is the first step you will take in order to ensure that the property is safe and worth investing in. When you choose to go through with this, an
environmental consultant will take long look at the property in order to identify any hazards that might devalue the property and make it unsafe. This usually begins with testing for mold and asbestos. A Phase I assessment also often includes:
- A review of property records to determine prior property usage
- An examination of surrounding properties to identify environmental risks
- A review of local, state, federal, and tribal records pertaining to the property
- An examination of aerial photos to determine water drainage and runoff
If the Phase I assessment showed any indication of hazards on your property, then you will be advised to go through further environmental assessments. A Phase II assessment is the next step, and it’s a more rigorous examination of the property. This type of environmental site assessment is going to require testing of the property’s building materials, soil, and groundwater. In addition, Phase II assessment often includes:
- Installing groundwater monitoring equipment
- A chemical analysis of samples taken from the site
- A remediation plan designed to remove the environmental hazards at the site
As you can see, environmental assessments are important in helping buyers and sellers understand just how safe a property is. If you’re considering purchasing a residential or commercial property, and you want the peace of mind of such an assessment, you should contact environmental consultants in your area as soon as possible