2018 Update – from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA provides loans to small businesses that may hold real estate as collateral.  They generally require an ASTM-standard Phase I ESA as part of all-appropriate inquiry, and have specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) that direct such investigations.  Their SOP 50 10 5(J) was updated effective January 1, 2018, to specify specific requirements to follow whenever conducing a Phase I.  This SOP specifically states:

On-site dry cleaning facilities, which may have utilized chlorinated solvents such as tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) and/or petroleum-based solvents in the course of their business operations, may present significant clean-up costs if these contaminants have entered the soil, soil vapor and/or groundwater. Prudent lending practices dictate and SBA requires that any Property with on-site dry cleaners, whether currently in operation or operated historically at the site, that did, do or likely used chlorinated and/or petroleum-based solvents undergo a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment in addition to a Phase I which would be required due to the NAICS code match. Any soil and groundwater contamination and soil vapor intrusion must be addressed. A Phase II performed in connection with an on-site dry cleaning facility must be conducted by an independent Environmental Professional who holds a current Professional Engineer’s or Professional Geologist’s license and has the equivalent of three (3) years of full time relevant experience. Gasoline stations also present significant clean-up costs if contaminated (for specific requirements pertaining to gasoline stations, please refer to Appendix 5).

What this means to your Phase I ESA:

This SOP creates a specific need for requiring the Environmental Professional to recommend a Phase II investigation to assess the risk of soil vapor migration into the structure as well as soil and groundwater contamination present on the subject property.  It is no longer possible to audit purchase and disposal records of the facility to determine if a significant release to soil is possible, the Environmental Professional must assume that there is a significant risk of such a release.

The SOP also specifies the need for lead testing on certain structures that will be used for day care, nursery schools, residential care facilities, or primary child care.  These structures must have certain lead testing performed on building materials and tap water.

Choose Avant Environmental Services, Inc.

It is important that you choose a company that knows the standards for performing Phase I Environmental Site Assessments for these and many other reasons.  You need a company that knows when to recommend a Phase II site assessmen, and when it is appropriate to NOT recommend a Phase 2 ESA.  Edward Baltzer of Avant Environmental Services, Inc. has been performing environmental assessments for 28 years, primarily in western Colorado and eastern Utah for the last 25 years.