Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

The Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) logically follows the Phase I, and focuses on Recognized Environmental Conditions and other high concern situations that the Phase I identified. The scope of work focuses on the areas of the site most likely to exhibit detectable contaminants based on knowledge of property use and history. The work may be as simple as collecting surface soil samples with a hand trowel, to collecting soil and groundwater samples with a large drilling rig. Geophysical surveys are often employed to identify potential underground storage tanks, drywells, drain lines, disturbed soil or buried debris.

If no significant contamination is detected in the Phase II, often there is no further work required. If contamination is found at levels of concern, one or more additional investigations may occur to firmly delineate the extent of the contaminated zone, both horizontally and vertically. The laboratory data is carefully compared to regulatory limits, and may be subjected to statistical analysis or Risk Assessment to determine if cleanup is necessary.

If an involved party requires that the state agency approve of the work that is done, or provide a No Further Action letter (NFA), the site may be enrolled in the state’s cleanup program to provide oversight and approval of investigative and remedial actions. Often the final investigative phase is called a Remedial Investigation. Upon successful remediation or implementation of control measures, the state may grant an NFA letter.

The ASTM Standard Guide for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process (ASTM E1903-11) is often used as a guide for developing the scope of work and conceptual site model, determine appropriate sample locations and methods, laboratory analyses, interpretation of data and reporting.

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