A Phase II ESA is conducted as a second step of the environmental due diligence process by which a party may claim an exemption to the liability imposed by The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Under CERCLA, a property owner can be held liable for environmental cleanup costs and associated liability if their property is contaminated even if they did not cause the contamination. A Phase I ESA that identifies potential sources of environmental contamination does not qualify a real property owner from CERCLA liability. In this instance, a Phase II ESA is necessary to confirm whether a. the real property is in fact contaminated, b. what the real property is contaminated with, c. what media on the real property is contaminated, and d. is the current or past usage of the real property a potential source for the contamination?
A Phase II ESA may include soil evaluation, groundwater evaluation, soil-gas evaluations, indoor air evaluations and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) surveys. In most instances, a Phase II ESA includes usage of minimally-invasive drilling equipment to explore the subsurface of the Site. Field samples of soil/groundwater are sent to a laboratory for analysis. Laboratory results are reviewed by the Environmental Professional and compared to current State and Federal Standards. The Environmental Professional then prepares a written report documenting the scope of work, sampling results and an opinion as to the environmental liability associated with the real property.
- US CERCLA (Superfund) Law, 1980
- SARA Amendments to CERCLA, 1986
- 40 CFR 312, All Appropriate Inquiries Rule, Adopted 2005
- ASTM International, 1903-97(2002)Guide to Phase II ESA Process
Required Licenses or Certifications
- No Formal Licensing or Certification
- Person Completing Assessment must Meet Definition of Environmental Professional Per 40 CFR 312