What are Phase 2 Environmental Assessments?

phase ii environmental site assessment

Phase II Environmental reports

Phase 2 Environmental Assessments or Studies, also known as: Phase 2 Environmental Surveys or Audits, are usually done when they are recommended in a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment report.

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Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment reports are sometimes required when a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) is found during the Phase 1 Environmental Assessment process. Phase 2 Environmental Assessments consist of collecting soil samples to screen for chemical or metal contamination. This sampling is conducted by drill rig, hydraulic push, hand auger or backhoe, depending on site specific conditions. Phase 2 Environmental reports can also include sampling of groundwater and surface water. This testing is recommended when there is a significant potential for the existence of an environmental liability that can affect the value of a property. Environmental liabilities are costs associated with regulatory-mandated cleanup, disposal of regulated-waste and civil liability. Civil liability occurs when the contamination has migrated offsite or tenants sue over exposure to hazardous materials.

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Phase 2 Environmental reports

AAI conducts Phase Two reports at sites where there is known or significantly-potential soil and/or groundwater contamination. Phase Two reports are typically limited in nature and are usually the result of a Recognized Environmental Condition being found in a Phase I report during a real estate transaction, or prior to an owner listing a property for sale. The Phase 2 report is only an initial screen of soil and/or groundwater, in order to determine if there is contamination.

Once contamination is found to be significant and/or to exceed federal, state or local cleanup or human-health risk standards, a further site characterization is required, in order to help establish the vertical and lateral extent of a contamination plume. In these situations, agency consultation is required in order to pursue closure from an oversight agency. A "no further action" letter is pursued for a site, in order to make the property "sellable." In some cases, among sophisticated buyers, a liability transfer is negotiated and executed contractually. For regulatory-mandated cleanup and/or monitoring, the client can apply to available cleanup funds, when available, in order to recover moneys spent.

Vapor Intrusion Assessment

Our company conducts a Vapor Intrusion Assessment (VIA) according to ASTM Standard E2600-08 Standard Practice for Assessment of Vapor Intrusion into Structures on Property Involved in Real Estate Transactions. Due to potential vapor intrusion from soil and/or groundwater contamination, AAI screens the subsurface to determine if there is significant potential for vapor intrusion into a structure to identify alternatives for further investigation, to determine if the exposure pathway is complete, and if so, whether it poses or may pose an unacceptable risk to human health (that is, whether a Vapor Intrusion Condition or VIC exists). This practice directs the user and environmental professional to existing federal or state vapor intrusion policy, regulation and guidance. This indoor air quality issue can be a serious liability and may result from onsite or offsite volatile organic compound contamination and is now federally regulated and state regulations are also in place in many states. In addition, this may create a toxic tort liability and may affect your business operations, if left undiscovered and is not mitigated properly.

Phase 2 Environmental Assessment

Hydrogeologic Studies

Hydrogeologic studies are conducted at a site to determine the properties, parameters and characteristics of a groundwater-containing aquifer. These investigations are typically conducted to determine if there is significant contamination or potential contamination in a water-bearing zone. These studies are also associated with determining if an aquifer has the characteristics and properties to be useful as a water supply. The most common reasons for conducting hydrogeologic investigations are:

1. As part of a Phase Two Environmental Assessment for a real estate transaction
2. To determine if an aquifer can be used as a supply and for optimal well design
3. Monitoring of groundwater at contaminated sites
4. Feasibility studies for remediation design
5. To determine if off-site sources are impacting groundwater in civil liability cases
6. Due to regulatory-mandated cleanup or monitoring

Typical methods for determining groundwater characteristics:

1. Installation of pilot borings
2. Installation of monitoring wells
3. Installation of extraction wells
4. Pump tests
5. Groundwater modeling
6. Geophysical, logging and sieve-analysis for engineered sandpacks and screening

phase two environmental groundwater monitoring well

Soils Studies

Soils investigations that are part of an environmental study, typically a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, are conducted to establish the chemical makeup of the soil in order to determine if there are significant amounts of contaminants that will require remediation or monitoring, or create land use limitations. These contaminants are sometimes present due to current or previous storage and use of hazardous chemicals at a property. These investigations are usually associated with Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments associated with real estate transactions, where a significant potential for significant contamination was determined in a Phase 1 report. Geotechnical soil studies are conducted to determine physical characteristics and properties of soil for construction projects. These soils studies are conducted by licensed professional geologists with extensive experience. Here are some of the typical methods that we incorporate for collecting soil samples for environmental and geotechnical investigations:

1. Hand auger
2. Test pits by shovel for shallow sampling
3. Hydraulic push that minimizes waste-soil cuttings and is good for shallow sampling
4. Backhoe for trenching
5. Truck-mounted open-flight hollow-stem auger
6. Mud-rotary drilling
7. Air-rotary drilling
6. Directional and horizontal drilling

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Water Well Design and Analysis

AAI designs and installs private, municipal and industrial supply wells. We conduct pilot studies, obtain permits, design wells, and oversee all aspects of the well installation process. By providing a hydrogeologist-designed sandpack and perforated casing, we are able to provide groundwater wells for large volume use in various geologic environments. Our hydrogeologic investigations will also determine if a supply well is even feasible at a specific location at the volume and/or quality that makes it suitable to the clients' needs.

Additionally, we can design and install groundwater monitoring wells, usually associated with a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment, at locations where known or potential environmental impact can occur. These wells can be provided for phase two environmental studies, agency-oversight projects and for legal cases.

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How much does a Phase 2 Environmental Study cost? price quote

When is Phase 2 Environmental needed?

This is a common question and there is not a simple answer. The ASTM standard describes a recognized environmental condition as the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate an existing release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the property or into the ground, ground water, or surface water of the property. The term includes hazardous substances or petroleum products even under conditions in compliance with laws.

In general, previous uses that can typically create the need for a Phase 2 Environmental Study include: gas stations, dry cleaners, machine shops, manufacturing, hazardous waste storage, etc. Further analysis into the specific site details during the Phase 1 Environmental process will determine, if any of these previous uses have created a significant potential for a release or if a known release has occurred. Expertise in soil and groundwater contamination is required in order to make good judgments in regards to these matters. This work should be conducted by a Professional Geologist or Professional Engineer with specific experience in this field.

Many lenders will automatically require a Phase 2 Environmental investigation for a property that has had any of these environmentally-sensitive uses. These studies can range from Limited Phase II Environmental Assessments to full Phase II Environmental Studies, that include installation of groundwater monitoring wells with extensive testing. As part of the due diligence process for real estate transactions, a more limited study should be conducted as a screen initially to determine if there is a severe problem. If this is the case, further site characterization may be required or this can help the buyer decide if he wants to go forward with the transaction.

How much does Phase 2 Environmental cost?

The cost for a Phase 2 Environmental Assessment ranges greatly, depending on the site specific details. The site specifics include: type of lab analyses required, drilling method needed, access to the subsurface, overhead constraints, groundwater testing required, etc. The cost of our Phase 2 Environmental investigations have ranged from as low as $2,500 to $250,000. Typical due diligence type phase two studies are in the $6,000 to $25,000 range. In order for us to provide an accurate price quote, we will look at the specific site and develop a strategy to minimize costs and maximize information in order to make accurate conclusions regarding the presence of a significant problem.

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Please feel free to contact us for any questions regarding your needs for a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment report at our toll free phone number. One of our professional geologists will be happy to assist you with your project.

When does Phase 2 Environmental go to Phase 3?

If the lab results from the soil, water or groundwater samples indicate a significant problem, need further delineation or if cleanup is required by an agency or by the responsible party, a site characterization, risk assessment or remediation may be required. The remediation or cleanup typically has to occur until verification samples are less than federal, state or local cleanup standards. In some cases the owner or occupant wants to completely remove all contaminants to non-detectable, if it is feasible.

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Proposal for Phase 2 Environmental report

Phase 2 ESA price quote