Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

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If you have watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S. you’ll know how everyone weighed in on how the new house Monica and Chandler wanted to buy in Season 10. Joey didn’t want them to move in and offered all kinds of excuses for them to not move in. When you are buying a piece of land for your company, commercial or industrial, Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) help avoid paying for contamination later. This is formally known as Environmental Due Diligence, where several audits reveal the state of the concerned land, how contaminated it is, the kinds of contaminants are present and in what quantities. In the US, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) offers legal protection for such situations.

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has a standard procedure to assess and remove the existing contamination from the property. They are performed by trained environmental professionals. The Phase I ESA is a non-invasive process that involves a review of records, a site inspection, and interviews with owners, occupants, neighbors and local government officials. If a Phase I ESA identifies potential contamination of the site by hazardous materials, a Phase II ESA may be conducted, which includes invasive processes such as digging up samples, chemical analysis for hazardous substances and/or petroleum hydrocarbons. The following video explains Phase I summarily.

These things are done in India too. Several environmental assessments such as the following are done in the country and includes the above mentioned ESA process.

  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – effects of the proposed project on the environment
  • Environmental Management Plan (EMP) – a plan that is developed after assessments are done
  • Environmental Modeling – predicts what might happen in the future in an event of exposure and how the natural systems would react to it
  • Socio Economic Assessment – puts sustainability of communities back into picture and helps in decision making
  • Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) as per ASTM

Further reading and References:

Phase

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