What is the cost of an Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA) ?

As Environmental Consultants Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia Anderson Environmental Inc provides a range of Environmental Assessment Services.  We are often asked questions regarding the Environmental Site Assessment process.  Often clients have not undertaken a Phase I or Phase II Environmental Site Assessment before and are trying to gain an understanding of the process and the cost and any other items that may come up or need to be covered as part of this process.  These assessments are sometimes undertaken for Due Diligence Real Estate Transactions such as purchase or lease changes and are often for clean-up of contaminated sites such as former Gas Stations, Orphan Well Sites, Dry Cleaners, Industrial Sites etc etc.

The most common question we receive relates to the Cost of an Environmental Site Assessment (Phase 1 or Phase 2 ESA).  Here we examine the cost of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and what it entails.

What is the cost of a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA) ?

This depends on a number of factors.  The size of the site along with its location, previous use and potential for a complex history both of the site itself and nearby sites are factors which impact the cost of the assessment.  Some sites comprise farms with a simple site history over many decades while other sites represent industrial sites with complex site histories and many differing neighbouring sites which need to be considered within the 250m or 300m radius from your site boundary.  The required search results from simple sites can result in 20 pages while more complex sites can result in a few hundred pages of background historical data.  Industrial sites with complex layouts and multiple buildings and industrial processes require considerable time for the on site assessment and often have large amounts of records to examine.  We consider the site and work required to undertake a compliant report to Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z768-01 (2012) (including provincial requirements) when we provide clients with a price for a Phase I ESA.   This is important as very often the report has to be relied upon by financiers. For sellers having an up to date report provides potential buyers with an instant appreciation of any potential risks with the purchase.  This often places the seller at an advantage over other sellers of commercial or rural property.

What does a Phase 1 ESA Cover?

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is a detailed review of the history of a site (using a combination of sources including aerial photos, governmental records, site walkovers and detailed site inspections, interviews, review of previous site and nearby reports, and other available information). This role of the Phase 1 ESA is to identify Areas of Potential Environmental Concern (APECs) which are parts of the site that may have environmental issues which may have resulted in contamination.  It also examines other sites nearby which may represent a risk to the subject site.

Sometimes clients ask for an “Elevated Phase I ESA” which is often scoped to undertake some limited testing of some areas the client may have identified themselves as a potential risk or concern.  This does not constitute a Phase II ESA however does add extra information for the Phase 1 ESA.

A thorough Phase I ESA can provide evidence of potential environmental liability due to contamination with a property.  Once you purchase a property which is contaminated then in almost all cases it is difficult or almost impossible to get the clean-up paid for by the former owner.

With coverage of the whole of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario and also experience in the USA our clients use our knowledge and experience to minimise their risk with property purchases.  Why not give us a call today to discuss you specific project or purchase.