The purpose of a Phase I ESA is to identify, to the extent feasible, recognized environmental concerns in connection with the property. This assessment included a site reconnaissance as well as research and interviews with representatives of the public, property management, and regulatory agencies.
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is a report prepared for a real estate holding which identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. The analysis, often called a Phase I ESA, typically addresses both the underlying land as well as physical improvements to the property; however, techniques applied in a Phase I ESA never include actual collection of physical samples or chemical analyses of any kind. Scrutiny of the land includes examination of potential soil contamination, groundwater quality, surface water quality and sometimes issues related to hazardous substance uptake by biota. The examination of a site may include: definition of any chemical residues within structures; identification of possible asbestos containing building materials; inventory of hazardous substances stored or used on site; assessment of mold and mildew; and evaluation of other indoor air quality parameters.
Actual sampling of soil, air, groundwater and/or building materials is typically not conducted during a Phase I ESA. The Phase I ESA is generally considered the first step in the process of environmental Due Diligence.