EPN Phase – 1 Site Assessment And The Report Process

Posted by on Oct 18, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

EPN Phase – 1 Site Assessment And The Report Process

EPN – A brief introduction

Environmental Professionals Network (EPN) was founded in the northern Colorado in 2013 by a team of environmental professionals, who sensed a shift in the paradigm of the environmental industry. They also felt that it was right time to form a new environmental professional group to meet the requirements of the growing industry, which was rapidly evolving with the global changes and the latest growth in technology.

The team began with a noticeably diverse group of environmental professionals, who shared the same passion about the industry, including expert and highly experienced environmentalists as well as relatively younger and aspiring professionals. However, they all had the same goal in mind, and that was to build a platform for the environmental professionals who would build a successful and sustainable business.

One of the founder members of the team, Dr. Wayne Dorband, has been an environmentalist for over 35 years. He, as a young Ph. D professor sknox-waybur-update-2437159-htarted the environmental studies program at Augustana College, when this course of study was very rare among other institutions. Today, hundreds and thousands of students around the world graduate with environmental protection degree.

 

About the “EPN Phase 1 Interview”

In this video interview, Dr. Wayne Dorband  about various aspects of the phase -1 assessment process by answering several questions of Justin Lichter, one of  the principals of the Environmental Professionals Network (EPN). Through these questions, many important issues related to the phase 1 assessment become clear. Questions related to the ASTM standards and guidelines, how are they changed and many more. Many of these questions are very common among most property owners or even young environmentalists who are new to the industry. Through these questions, Dr. Dorband explains in clear terms, why would someone need a phase -1 assessment, what guidelines to follow, what to looking for before and during an inspection, and what goes on in the report after visiting a property and  making an assessment.

What is a phase 1 site assessment process?

The Phase -1 Environmental Site Assessment, which is also referred to as Phase -1 ESA, is a report given by an environmental assessors, which summarizes the condition in which the property and the surrounding area is in, based on his visit and inspection. It describes if the condition of the property, if there are any potential environmental hazards or risks associated with the identified property, and if it requires any further investigation or assessments to fully understand the potential risks.

 

Why is a phase 1 site assessment needed?

Phase 1 site assessment was traditionally contracted by banks or lending agencies when a lending or financing was involved. The purpose of the assessment was to protect the banks from being involved in any financial agreements with a piece of contaminated property, and they wanted to make sure that property in question was safe from environmental risks.

 

The purpose of phase 1 assessments

Today, phase 1 assessment is an essential part of any property transaction associated with industrial or commercial property. The purpose of the phase 1 assessment is to carry out a systematic consistent method which may identify any environmental conditions that the piece of property may be in or may affect any property under scrutiny.

 

The components of a phase 1 ESA

Record and review before the inspection:  By doing a researchon the property before the inspections, an environmentalist is actually be able to prepare himself to better manage his time and be more efficient during the inspection. An interview with the property owners or anyone involved with the property is also vital before the phase 1 inspection. Any kind of information including advertisement materials, a website, a brochure or catalog being used for the advertisement for the property might help to make the assessment.

EPN Phase 1Most of the records and documents are available from the property owners and clients and that is the first place an environmentalist should start gathering information from. Some governmental agencies and commercial entities who sell this information may also provide you with what you need. By reviewing the records of the past titles, an environmentalist will try to figure out what the property was being used for in the past. It also helps the environmentalist to figure out if the surrounding area was safe from contamination, if it was used by any agencies like fire department and so forth in the past. The timeline in which the property was built also plays an important role.

Site inspection:  When visiting a site, an assessor is looking for potential risks for the client. It is very important to use personal judgments while inspecting a site visually. There are several aspects of the building that the assessor may look. They are as follows:

 

REC –Recognized Environmental Condition

These are the elements that an environmentalist can see visually by visiting a site. Most of the elements are associated with the building materials that affect the site including the soils, ground water and surface water on the property and the surrounding or from the adjacent property.

 

Some of the major concerns are given below.

1. Asbestos: should it be a concern?EPN Inspection

If the property was built prior to the 1980s, it is more than likely to contain asbestos of some sort. It could be on any kinds of coating or surface such as walls, ceilings, siding or flooring. Asbestos could also be on thermal insulation such as pipes, boilers; and so on, anything that has to do with heat absorbing or insulating the house. Any masking materials such as caulking or any adhesive materials could also be potentially dangerous. Mostly, stuff that are exposed or could be exposed if there were any renovations done on the building, including roofing materials such as flashing or roofing materials themselves.  However, containing asbestos does not always make the property hazardous. The asbestos would only be dangerous if it was friable or brittle or breaking apart.

2. Lead: is lead a major hazard to environment?

Lead is not a major concern if the materials containing lead are not deteriorating. Most of the older buildings, built before the 1980s, used lead as a soldering material on pipes. So if the building has a lot of pipes especially pipes of drinking water or waiter fountains containing lead joints that would be a concern.  However, the major concern would be if there were any signs of peeling paints or broken pipes with lead. Any structure that is intact or concealed does not concern the assessor.

3.  Mold: is mold a concern for phase 1?

If a building has obvious signs of mildew buildup, it is possible signs of water damage, and should be investigated further.

 4. Should Electrical equipments major issue?

Overhauling 50-year-old generators

Old electrical equipments or any motor like equipments could be a concern if there are indications of oil leakage. PCBs were widely used in the dielectric and coolant fluids prior to 1980s, so if motor containing equipment such as a power generator, transformer or elevator has leakage, there could be potential risk of BCBs.

5. Can Redon be a problem?

Radon and any other radioactive material would be a great concern for environmentalists if the area where the property is located is in the radon alert zone. The government documents can help you to determine whether the property is in the danger area. The EPA database characterizes the potential danger areas of every county in the United States, so it is important to follow the EPA guidelines. Radon is only a problem if it is coming into the building from the soil below, therefore if a building is located in the radon risk area that has a basement; it is something to be mentioned in the phase 1 reports.

It requires knowledge and experience to become an expert assessor, to know which specific areas to look for and to find suspicious materials. The EPN is going to provide a checklist for environmentalists to go through, making sure that everything is covered.

 

ASTM Standards assessment

EPN Inspection

ASTM or the American Standard Testing Methods is an organization formed to create standards for different kinds of testing. In 1990, ASTM looked at the assessment process and they decided that there has to be a standardized process on a nationwide basis. Dr. Wayne Dorban, the founder of EPN was asked to be on the committee which put together the standards. The ASTM standards have changed the way the phase 1 assessments were done. They are a lot more precise and accurate and systematic process.

ASTM sets the guidelines which environmental professionals can use

The standards of the phase 1 testing were guidelines or recommended protocol for conducting a phase 1 testing by any environmental professional nationwide. These guidelines are very important for any environmentalists to follow because all the major entities and businesses, including the US Justice Departments agree that if a phase 1 was not done in compliance with these standard guidelines, it would not be acceptable. So being in compliance with the ASTM would meet both the requirements of lenders, government agencies and they would also meet the legal standards.

 

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