Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, Transactional Due Diligence and All Appropriate Inquiry.
Phase I's serve two important purposes. First, they provide a good environmental profile of the property that helps a purchaser understand the basic environmental condition of the property and also to decide whether invasive sampling is warranted. It will also help shape representations, warranties, and indemnities in the transaction agreement as well as the disclosure schedules attached to the agreement. Second, and equally important, completion of a Phase I that meets certain standards is, under EPA regulations, “all appropriate inquiry” (AAI). Completion of AAI allows a property purchaser to have access to a number of important statutory defenses to environmental liability. If the Purchaser or Lender fails to have the Phase I done, it could lose the ability to invoke those defenses when it needs them most. Let our experienced, capable environmental professionals help you define and manage your transactional due diligence risk from potential environmental issues.
Phase II and Phase III Assessment
Phase II site characterizations are often driven by a Phase I assessment or by enforcement action or other regulatory requirements. Site characterization is the collection of intrusive site data so as to construct an accurate environmental profile of that site. Typically, Phase II site characterizations may involve soil borings, groundwater monitoring wells, test pits, sediment sampling, and laboratory analyses. Other more sophisticated techniques such as geophysical investigations, soil gas surveys, or contaminant fate and transport modeling may be employed, where appropriate. Phase II Characterizations are utilized to determine the presence or absence of supected contamination of soil, groundwater or surface water for on-site operations or off-site, third-party operations. If contamination is found on the site, then a Phase III Assessment will be recommended to determine the nature and extent of the contamination. This work is performed in accordance with the latest applicable state or federal guidance documents to ensure data collection and analysis techniques are valid and defensible. The findings are verbally communicated to the client prior to being compiled into a thorough yet understandable report, accompanied by recommendations for further activity, as warranted. At this point and at each step along the way, SE Technologies furnishes the necessary information a client needs in order to make an informed decision regarding the property.
A risk-based approach is used to establish realistic, clean-up goals based on actual impacts on human health and the ecological environment. A risk assessment is a highly technical undertaking that requires the integration of site-specific data with prevailing standards and accepted exposure scenarios. SE Technologies’ staff is experienced with the requirements of both human health and ecological risk assessments and their proper application in the environmental industry. However, certain aspects of some risk assessments require highly specialized capabilities. Therefore, SET maintains several dedicated partnering arrangements with specialty risk assessment firms. These firms are brought to bear on an “as needed” basis for a job, and are overseen by SET to ensure the necessary focus and priorities are brought to the project.
Environmental Site Assessment, Investigation and Remediation
"Brownfield” sites are former and/or current industrial sites where environmental issues related to site contamination have prevented site redevelopment. In many cases, these sites offer strategic locations with access to existing infrastructure and transportation routes. In the past, redevelopment of these sites was not feasible due to liability issues associated with known or suspected environmental impacts in response to past industrial use. However, new regulatory initiatives now provide strong incentives to recycle these sites and return them to use. New regulations provide for a streamlined regulatory process that includes releases from liability and realistic clean-up standards based upon the planned site re-use. In many cases, governmental financing is also available in the form of low-interest loans and grants. Pennsylvania Act 2 also has a designated program developed to address these types of sites, termed “Special Industrial Areas”, provided that the certain criteria for program acceptance is achieved.
By integrating all of our resources in site investigation, remedial design and implementation, risk assessment, and regulatory negotiation, SE Technologies is able to offer a realistic approach to site redevelopment. Our approach includes adding strategic teaming partners in the area of real estate development and project financing combined with a seamless communication network between vested parties and regulatory personnel to meet the unique challenges of site redevelopment.
Brownfields projects generally require detained cost/benefit and uncertainty analyses at progressive stages throughout he project life to ensure that he project is economically viable for redevelopment. SE Technologies is sensitive to these issues and strives to maintain a close client relationship through frequent communication. Sustained communications allows the decision-making process to be continually updated, based on current site conditions and real-time data.
SE Technologies is experienced at evaluating remedial alternatives to address confirmed soil and/or groundwater contamination. In this process, we give due consideration to emerging technologies as well as proven processes, time factors, the nature of contaminants and the associated risk to human health and the environment, and remedial goals. Specific data may need to be collected at this point to conceptually design or evaluate potential remedial options. In many cases, the process of remedial alternative evaluation requires collection of additional data to support the decision making process. SE Technologies takes great care to concisely evaluate the data needs to prepare a cost/benefit analyses. This information is clearly communicated to our clients and other vested parties (regulatory, community, etc) to maintain a positive and proactive project approach. By combining our environmental and engineering capabilities with our project management approach, we determine the most efficient and cost effective means of achieving project goals and clearly demonstrate the merits of the recommended alternatives to the project team.
After a remedial alternative is selected, the project moves to the design stage. SE Technologies has extensive, broad-based experience in the design and engineering of environmental treatment and management facilities at a variety of industrial and commercial sites. We deliver continuous expertise throughout the remedial design process including developing the bid package, meeting with potential bidders, reviewing proposals for technical adequacy, and working with the clients to identify the remedial contractor(s) best qualified for the project.
The experience of SET's staff along with their frequent interaction with environmental regulators allows for efficient and strategic site investigations which keep the client's costs down while satisfying agency expectations. SET's knowledge of regulatory precedents results in effective negotiation with officials on the client's behalf. SET is committed to the process and their clients.
A common issue within the environmental industry is excessive costs for site characterization activities, to the extent that the costs exceed the cost of actual remediation.