Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Expiration

When commercial property owners or interested buyers of commercial property find out that they need a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, they see it as an added expense and often try to use an old our outdated Phase I ESA report for a given property.

Phase I ESAs are investments for a property – they ensure that a professional identifies actual or potential environmental contaminants on a property that would affect the overall value of the property. Environmental liabilities that are present on a property that owners would be responsible for in the future. The costs associated with cleanup of environmental contaminants can be extreme and you want to protect yourself from inheriting a property that is not as valuable as you think it is.

Phase I ESAs shouldn’t be thought of some legal barrier to overcome in order to finalize a property transaction.

How Long is a Phase I ESA Good For?

Old Phase I ESA reports just that – old. Phase I ESAs are generated to serve as an independent professional opinion of the environmental condition of a property of a single point in time. They are not meant to predict the property’s environmental status in the future or predict a property’s future value.

Just because you were able to verify through a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment that a property was clear of environmental contaminants a year ago does not guarantee that the same property is clear of environmental contaminants as of now. Any new activity on the property or on surrounding properties could have an impact on the value of a property that a past Phase I ESA would be unable to cover.

To top it off, the ASTM E1527 standard, which is the standard set by the ASTM for Phase I ESAs, is a changing law. Currently, all Phase I ESAs must at a minimum follow the standards set by the E1527-13. This standard was released in 2013 and replaced the E1527-08 standard released in 2008. This revision included several key changes, including considerations for vapor intrusion and regulatory file reviews. You can read more about changes to the E1527-13.

How Long is a Phase I ESA Valid?

You may be wondering on the specifics of how long a Phase I ESA is good for in the eyes of the law for a property. The simple answer is one year – if the Phase I ESA was completed more than 365 days ago then it must be re-completed as it is no longer valid.

If the Phase I ESA was completed between 180 and 365 days the Phase I report must be updated where necessary. If the Phase I ESA was completed less than 180 days ago it is still valid.

Visit our Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment page to learn more about The Phase I ESA process, environmental concerns and our service scope.