Phase-1 Environmental Assessments are conducted to protect a property buyers/owners from assuming an unknown environmental risk. The assessment gathers available information regarding past or present site activities which have the potential to cause environmental contamination.

Standard components for an Environmental Pgase-1 report include:
Identification of past and present site ownership and uses. 

Inspection of the entire site and any 
structures for the presence of potentially hazardous building materials (such as asbestos, lead paint or PCBs). 

Description of site environmental 
characteristics; such as the size, layout, extent of development, natural features, etc. 

An assessment of hazardous material or 
waste storage, handling,
or disposal practices. 


An assessment of nearby properties whose 
activities may have an environmental impact on the subject property. 

Conclusions regarding potential problems and 
 recommendations for further action. 

We use a review of available records, historical research, inspection of the site and interviews with tenants, owners or public agency officials to evaluate the potential environmental liabilities associated with a property. 

Records Review

Review of public agency records can provide significant background information on the site, including ownership history; past uses; permits or inventories for hazardous materials or wastes; reported spills, releases or known contamination; or other regulatory actions. Agencies which may be contacted include local assessor's office, planning department, utility district, fire department, health department, agricultural commissioner or air quality management district. State environmental protection agencies maintain databases of sites which have been investigated and may also be contacted. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also maintains databases of hazardous waste generators or sites with hazardous waste contamination.

Historical Research

In order to review past use of the property, documents such as title history, maps, building permits or aerial photographs may be reviewed. Maps, such as parcel maps, topographic maps or fire insurance maps, sometimes have detailed information about past use of a property. This information may be available from local agencies such as planning departments or county assessors. Aerial photographs can often be obtained though university or college libraries, or through private aerial survey companies.

Site Inspection

During a site inspection, we look for site activities or uses which pose a high potential for environmental contamination. These "red flag" items include:

storage tanks (underground and above ground) 

water wells (domestic, agricultural or industrial) 

waste water systems 

drums or chemical storage areas 

ponds or surface impoundments 

maintenance or shop areas 

sumps or storm drains 

stained soil or pavement 

transformers 

piles of waste or trash 

dead or dying vegetation 

unusual odors 

If any of these "red flags" are observed, further evaluation may be needed to determine if a problem exists. 
Interviews 

In order to determine current and past site practices, interviews with persons familiar with the site can be extremely valuable. Property owners, site managers, former employees, neighbors or local agency officials can often provide useful information. 

Report

Following the review of records, historical research, site inspection and interviews, a report is prepared to document the findings. we use a checklist format for its reports. The report presents the findings of the assessment and presents recommendations for further action, if necessary. Generally, no samples of soil, air or water are collected as part of a Phase-1 Assessment, but sampling may be recommended to evaluate potential concerns. 

At EAC, Environmental Phase-1 studies may be performed for the following types of projects: 

new building projects on campus 

property acquisitions (purchase or lease) 

space leases off-campus 

gifts or inheritance of properties 

sales of campus property