What is a Phase 1 Site Assessment

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What is a Phase 1 Site Assessment?

A phase 1 site assessment produces a report that includes the results from testing performed during the on – site inspection of both the interior and exterior of the site. The results of this testing are usually included as a separate section of the report. The phase I is the assessment most used by potential purchasers and also by lenders when the lender specifies the type of assessment to be done.

When performing a phase 1 site inspection a consultant will carry a sampling kit as he performs a ground inspection. The kit will contain various types of containers and sampling instruments as well as labels and a notebook for recording samples taken. The process is relatively simple.

Exterior Testing

Exterior testing for phase 1 studies are generally limited to areas of specific interest. Environmental consultants will look for certain “signs” that indicate the necessity to do soil testing, i.e. Visible soil staining, areas without any vegetation, railroad track easements with staining on and around the tracks, cleared areas around electrical transformers, etc.

Of particular concern are hydraulic fluids, oils on trains and as insulating liquids and transformers petroleum hydrocarbons which result from various oils, gasoline’s, hydraulic and other fluids that have been spilled or dumped on the ground.

Underground storage tanks are also a major cause for concern. Testing must be performed to determine whether an underground storage tank has become a leaking underground storage tank. If there are real concerns about storage tank leakage three different reports can be performed to evaluate the soil, the tank, and the groundwater.

Taking soil samples 3 to 5 feet down is standard procedure. The samples are tested for petroleum products and their derivatives to determine if there has been any spillage or leakage. In conjunction with the soil sample, a “tightness” test is usually performed on tanks using an instrument positioned inside the tank. This is used to determine the presence of a leaking underground storage tank.

The results of phase 1 tests should be included in the detailed section of the report along with copies of laboratory analysis and testing diagrams and parameters to support documentation sometimes provided as appendixes to the report because of the number of tests involved. The executive summary should contain a synopsis of the test results.

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