March 01, 2010
Phase II ESAs – Investing In Your Future
By: John Russell
So you’ve had a Phase I ESA completed and the lousy environmental professional you retained is recommending the completion of a Phase II ESA because of some dark episode in the history of the property – let’s say a gas station occupied a corner of the property in the 1950’s. Your initial thoughts probably focus on unnecessary spending and meeting the deadline of your due diligence period – after all, this project was supposed to be easy right? But let’s revisit what due diligence is; yes, it’s required by the bank to make sure that the money they’re lending you won’t be at risk, however, and perhaps more importantly, jumping through the due diligence hoops also serves to protect you from incurring unnecessary liability – for example, when you hit that patch of petroleum contaminated soil while digging your footers and the construction workers suddenly and collectively swear that they show signs of benzene poisoning. Or better yet, tenants, in the future, start smelling petroleum vapors and you never even considered installing a vapor barrier beneath the foundation slab. It all comes down to up-front spending for long-term security, and the assurance of knowing that the property is free of environmental issues by collecting soil and/or groundwater samples for analysis, is well worth the time and money. Trust us on this – ‘cause we’ve likely seen more contaminated property than you have.