phase 1

EPN Phase – 1 Site Assessment And The Report Process

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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Salmon is a unique kind anadromous fish that are born in the fresh waters of rivers and streams. They swim to the ocean as they grow older and return to their home stream to lay eggs when the time comes for spawning. Every year, millions of salmon return to their home stream and produce their next generation of fish. Some species of salmon make several trips in their lifetime, while others make just one round trip before they die. For the last few decades, the number of salmon making it back to their fresh water mating grounds has been declining. The population of salmon species in the Northwest, from Alaska to Washington State, in the waters of the Pacific and in the North Atlantic Oceans is constantly declining.

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In previous years, rapid industrialization contributed to most of the pollution causing elements in the atmosphere. Most of our energy sources depended on the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum, which emit many harmful gases in the environment. We are now aware of serious environmental issues such as global warming and depletion of the Ozone Layer.

air pollution

Even a decade ago, people did not take issues like ice cap melting, sea level rise, extinction of wildlife and other similar issues as serious as they do today. Recently air pollution and issues related to pollution have made people think differently.

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Network Of Environmental Professionals For Businesses

Network Of Environmental Professionals For Businesses

We often hear about global issues such as global warming, carbon emissions, sea level rise, sudden climatic changes, and so on, being talked about today. These issues are as relevant today as they were a decade ago. But the businesses are taking global issues more seriously now than ever before and there is a good reason for that. The world population today is about 7.13 billion and according to the UNO, it is going to rise up to 8 billion by 2030. The good news is that about 3 billion people will come out of poverty and join the middle class by 2030, making the number of middle class to 5 billion. This would also mean that we will be facing new challenges to tackle the resource scarcity issues.

With industrialization and urbanization there are other issues such as carbon emission and energy shortages associated. More and more people will live their lives based on the cities, and there will be a large number of cities around the world having over a million or more people living in them. It is estimated that the global temperature will rise up to 3 degrees in the next decade, and all the problems that we are having today globally are only due to a one or one and half degree rise in the global temperature.

Considering the global situations and world trend today, sustainability has become a “must do” for all business, and it is no longer an option which was “nice to do” before, for some businesses. What businesses do today is going to have an impact on the sustainability of environment in the future, and it is now a concern for government as well as environmentalists around the world.

sustainable business

Why Sustainable businesses

If you ask the common customers, they will all agree that they care about sustainability, and so, they are already doing their part by shifting towards environmentally safe products and eco-friendly products. The people around the world are more conscious about environmental issues today than ever before, and so, the shift towards sustainable products is not only an option, but has become necessary.

We know that all customers care about sustainability in their everyday activities. They also want sustainability to be easy, attractive, affordable, and beneficial for them. This is where businesses can help. Once the business adapt to sustainable strategies, the demand for sustainable goods and services will only increase.

Companies like IBM and Microsoft, already worked towards sustainability when they produced machines that could save paper. Emailing over the internet and saving data on central databases reduced the need for huge paper based files, and filing cabinets.

Corporate employeeIf you think about the early sustainable products, the most common products that come into your mind would be the eco-friendly detergents, the light bulbs or the recycled toilet papers, and none of them worked very well in their early stages. The recycled toilet paper used to be rough, the light bulb took five minutes to warm up and gave a sickly color, and the detergent made your whites greyer. Sustainable products have come a long way since then, and today, the eco-friendly products work just as great as the products made by conventional method. Businesses can now produce products that are sustainable, attractive, functional, and beautiful all at the same time.

Why Environmental Professionals Network for business?

Businesses today have already recognized the need for sustainability. The Environmental Professionals Network can help businesses have a positive impact on the environment. Some of the companies are already working through the sustainability strategies with the help of EPN.

What will the Environmental Professionals Network do for businesses?

environmental professionals networkThe Environmental Professionals Network are a group of environmentalists with a vast knowledge in the industry to address any environmental issues that any business is faced with today, whether it involves a business facility, that requires a Phase – 1 assessment, an industry that needs government approval to start business, or a farmer with low budget who is looking for ways to minimize cost and maximize profits. The EPN has set new standers for other environmentalists, and worked with ASTM to make these standards global recommendations for assessments and testing.

EPN can also identify and work on the areas where a company needs improvement to reduce global impact. There are many regulations by government agencies as well as legal issues associated with businesses that businesses need to know and comply with. The EPN professionals can help all business to stay in compliance with the legal issues as well as government agencies.

The environmental industry is rapidly evolving and changing the business the way they operate. It is wise for any business to consult the Environmental Professionals Network instead of hiring and training their own employees to tackle the task of the environmentalists on their own.


Ways we can help our environment

When it comes to saving the environment, both the consumers and producers have an active role towards sustainability. It is not only how the product impacts the environment, but also the raw materials, the production of the products that needs to be taken under consideration.

1. Use energy efficient appliances

Using appliances and products that save energy can reduce the energy consumption, carbon emission, and reduce the energy costs. Shifting towards energy star products, energy saving light bulbs, and so on can significantly save the fossils and address the energy crisis of the world.

2. Use practices that save energy

Using energy saving practices in our daily lives, such as using the public transportation whenever possible, driving smaller cars, checking the emission of the automobiles regularly, turning off lights, heat and air-conditioning whenever we leave the house,  can all add up to sustainability.

3. Minimize energy wastage

Wasting energy is one of the worst crimes that we are guilty of. By minimizing waste, we can all save a lot of energy together in the long run. We can minimize waste by insulating our houses better, replacing our old windows and doors with energy star doors and windows that save energy, replacing appliances that use too much energy or that are faulty or that has leakage with new energy efficient appliances, changing your old thermostat with digital programmable thermostat can all add up and save you energy.

4. Recycle

Using recycled products and using recycled materials to produce new goods and services can also contribute to saving energy and resources. Not only the producers, but we, as the consumers need to look into using more products with recycled materials. The same goes for products of our everyday use, products such as glass, metal goods, plastic, paper, all can be recycled and can add up the savings. Instead of throwing away in the garbage, we can save and recycle them to minimize mining and cutting down trees.

There are many people who still need to be convinced about the benefits of sustainability. We see people using illegal practices, like negative forestry, or using environmentally hazardous practices to profit from their business. We would like to inform all of them that the practices that impact the globe negatively are the ones that tend to destroy our own existence and sustainability for the future, in a way; we are destroying ourselves, if we do not become aware now and act towards sustainability together by making a simple choice.


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