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Environmental Site Inspections 101 … Blog Style

Commercial Real Estate in Connecticut is closely monitored by the Department of Environmental Protection. It is very rare that a commercial property in New Haven County is sold without an Environmental Assessment being conducted. As a matter of fact, if the Buyer is getting a mortgage, an Environmental Site Inspection, or at the very least an Environmental Screening will be done.

First and foremost the Environmental Site Assessment will determine whether or not the property is an
"Establishment" as defined by the CT Transfer Act. If properties are defined as "Establishments" by the act then transfer act forms must be submitted to the state when the properties are sold. “Establishments” are properties at which hazardous waste was generated or at which hazardous waste was brought to or stored. However, in CT, there are three use types that create automatic establishments. They are properties where Dry Cleaning Operations, Furniture Stripping or Auto Body Repair were conducted on or after May 1, 1967.

Environmental Site Assessments or Inspections are defined as, Phase I Site Assessments, Phase II Site Assessments and Phase III Assessments, or Inspections.

Phase I Inspections are basically conducted on Paper through research. The property’s history is researched through DEP file review and database search, a physical tour of the property to “eyeball” Areas of Concern such as storage containers, potential asbestos sites, like floor tiles and roofs, dumpsters, floor drains and more. Topography and historical records are also studied. A Phase I Environmental Inspection does not encompass any subsurface investigation or remediation plans

Phase II Inspections or Assessments identify the exact location of any contamination. This is where the digging begins. Groundwater monitoring wells may be installed, Ground Penetrating Radar Surveys are completed, and samples are pulled from the soil.

If Contaminants are present, then Phase III work begins to identify the dimension of the release and the extent of the contamination. However, often times Phase II work reveals the best news of all, the presence of Zero Contamination. After this work is done, remediation plans and scope of work are detailed, but they are not a part of the Phase II or Phase III work.

May 25, 2006

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