If an environmental risk is noted in the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, a Phase II ESA is recommended. The Phase II ESA typically includes more intrusive testing into the soil, groundwater, building finishes, etc. The purpose is to test the noted concern to determine if the suspected contamination actually exists. The level of effort taken in the Phase II ESA is dependent upon the conclusions and recommendations of the Phase I ESA. Typical concerns are from adjacent properties such as gasoline services stations that have or have had leaking underground storage tanks, dry cleaners that use TCE, or septic tanks and drain fields in commercial and industrial properties.
The Phase II ESA in these instances would include the following:
- Testing of the soil and groundwater near the suspected source of contamination.Depending on the depth to groundwater, this could turn out to be expensive. However, it’s less expensive than having to clean it up after the fact because of not knowing.
- Asbestos-Containing Building Materials Surveys—This is to test building finishes such as popcorn ceiling, flooring, drywall, etc. to determine the presence of asbestos-containing materials. This is very important prior to demolition. This requirement is generally recommended for buildings constructed prior to 1981.
- Lead-Based Paints Surveys—This is a test of the paints and some finishes to determine if they contain lead. Some of the typical finishes may include wall paints and ceramic tiles. This is especially important in buildings constructed prior to 1978 and buildings with children.
- Indoor air quality has become a more prevalent issue because of the heavy use of air conditioning systems in large buildings. Air circulation within the building has a marked effect on the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). If not properly controlled it could lead to health related effects. Additionally, there are noxious chemicals that get into the air and circulate within a building. Indoor air quality assessments are required in some governmental establishments and when there are complaints by the building tenants.
- Operation and Maintenance Plans – O & M Plans are generally required for the management of environmental conditions. These include asbestos and lead-based paints. It is not always necessary to remove asbestos or lead-based paints. However, there needs to be a procedure for documenting its existence and location and best management practices.