Due Diligence Studies (ASTM Phase I and Phase II), Storage Tanks and Remedial Action Services
Facilities sometimes want to refinance or sell their property. In such cases, they may turn to ESC to complete a due diligence investigation for evidence of a possible or likely release of contaminants to the environment. An ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, or the simpler and less detailed Transaction Screen Analysis, is often carried out. The steps involved are prescriptive and include review of readily available records, interviews of potentially knowledgeable people, site walkthrough by a professional, an electronic database search of public files of nearby sites or past released from the subject property, findings and conclusions. If there is evidence of a recognized environmental condition, a Phase II investigation may be carried out to characterize the nature and extent of investigation. ESC has done numerous due diligence investigations for clients. We are known for our thoroughness and ensuring that the report is fair, accurate, and timely. We involve our clients in the process so that there are no surprises.
If further investigation establishes that an environmental release has taken place on site, other options should be considered. Depending on the circumstances of the release, nature of the substance released, and whether the substance was properly stored on site, the facility may fall under one or more of various regulatory programs and may be subject to different reporting and corrective or remedial action requirements.
ESC helps clients by first identifying the regulatory programs and reporting requirements to which they may need to comply. ESC identifies cleanup goals, plans an investigation into the nature and extent of contamination that is associated with the release, and sets forth a scope of work to meet the cleanup goals. For cases of sale of the property, one option may be to define the extent and nature of the contamination and the estimated cost of cleanup. It may be better for the Buyer to undertake the cleanup so as to expedite the sale and allow the change in ownership. Monies set aside from the transaction would be used for the cleanup and closure.
Often our clients face an environmental release from an underground storage tank. Depending on the size and contents of the tank, for example, the regulatory framework may be Pennsylvania Act 32 Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act, which applies to regulated (registered) tanks, or the Pennsylvania Act 2 Land Recycling and Remediation Standards, which is a voluntary program for unregulated tanks. We prepare a closure report and negotiate with regulatory agencies to obtain a release of liability or other benchmark for completion of the cleanup. Our clients rely on our expertise to direct the effort and achieve site closure using a cost-effective solution. Our clients have come to depend on our oversight of cleanup efforts, notifications to regulatory agencies, and submittal of quality and timely reports.
Sometimes our clients face even more demanding challenges if CERCLA hazardous substances are involved or if their site is proposed for a listing on the National Priorities List, i.e., Superfund sites. In such cases, careful analysis and evaluation of hydrogeology is needed to establish contaminant migration pathways as to whether the contamination originated on site or may have migrated on site. ESC maintains the expertise and experienced professionals to address these situations including professional geologists to establish migration pathways and professional engineers to review treatment options.