Given the potential for contamination at a brownfield site, there are industry-standards methods for investigating a suspected brownfield property for the presence of petroleum contamination from underground tanks, elevated lead levels, and asbestos as well as other hazardous chemicals. These studies, known as Environmental Site Investigations (ESA's), identify and evaluate environmental concerns on a site or in an area.

Because of prevailing legal interpretations of the minimum due diligence necessary for the “innocent landowner” defense under CERCLA, site assessments have become an imperative for buyers and lenders of commercial or industrial property — who must undertake “all appropriate inquiry into the previous ownership and uses of the property, consistent with good commercial or customary practice.” Without this level of due diligence, a purchaser may become liable for clean-up costs.

Environmental Building Solutions follows industry-recognized guidelines for performing investigations to standards established by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). The first step in this process is a Phase I ESA, which is a non-intrusive evaluation of potential contamination.

The assessment can be tailored to address either client or site parameters, and adjustments are made to comply with the requirements of a particular lender, the age, location or use of the site, and the intended future site usage.

If potential environmental issues have been identified in a Phase I ESA, we continue with Phase II, to confirm the type and extent of the contamination. This investigation analyzes the specific contaminants, the extent of surface or subsurface migration, and any resulting environmental or health risks. Potential tests can include soil sampling, field screening, and geophysical and hydrogeological surveys. We then provide a written work plan for cleanup action.