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Why do I need one?

In recent years there has been an explosion in requirement and use of environmental studies, ranging from simple, inexpensive Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) to complicated, costly Phase 3 clean-ups. Use of environmental studies will grow in future, following the trend to greater awareness of exposure to risk through investment in contaminated sites. Analysis of legal precedents reveals that virtually anyone involved with a contaminated site can be held responsible for remediation costs unless due diligence can be demonstrated. This means owners, tenants, lenders, insurance companies etc. In some cases remediation costs can force companies out of business. The following sections will answer the most common questions about ESA's.

What Is a Phase 1 ESA?

An ESA is a systematic investigation and site characterization to determine whether a particular property is or may be subject to actual or potential contamination (Canadian Standards Association). This involves record reviews, site visits and interviews. A Phase 1 ESA does not include sampling of soil or water, lab analysis or measuring unless prescribed by a landowner. ESAs may range in cost from $900 to $1,500, depending on requirements of a landowner and individual consultant charges.

Why Do I Need a Phase 1 ESA

Property owners, purchasers, lenders, and tenants may face potential liabilities (i.e. extra costs) when dealing with remediation or management of contaminated sites. Liability costs may arise from government initiated orders, loss of land value, or litigation. ESAs can be used to estimate the likelihood, types, and locations of contamination that may be present on a site. This information can then be used to make informed decisions concerning property management, facility operations and investments.

When Do I Need a Phase 1 ESA

ESAs are required by lenders or government regulations when:

• planning to redevelop or change land use of property

• applying for refinancing

• potential change in site ownership

• requested by interested site owner

• result of environmental site screening by financial institution.

What Does it Do for Me?

• essential for investment risk analysis

• demonstrates due diligence for environmental liability

• pollution prevention

• required by all financing institutions

• enhances property resale value

• may affect land use and facilities

• required by CMHC

What Happens Next?

A Phase 1 ESA will determine the inherent environmental risks associated with a site. The property may be determined to have little or no risk and be suitable for financing and development. If environmental risks are present a Phase 2 investigation(sampling and analysis) may be required, which, in turn, may be followed by a Phase 3 clean-up. Costs for each follow-up step increase exponentially.

Obviously there are no sure answers when dealing with environmental risk, each site and problem is different and requires an individual approach. Environmental problems are "grandsonned", meaning the present owner of a site is responsible for past activities. An ESA will determine the effect of past activities on a site and prevent environmental liability or government orders. For a relatively low cost an Esa may greatly affect investment decisions and land use. Environmental risk studies are a fundamental tool for doing business in today's environmentally aware climate.

The information contained in this web site is intended for marketing purposes only. It is not all-inclusive, and does not fully describe the many and varied services that the company provides, nor does it completely describe the education, training, skills, or expertise of our staff.


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