Environmental Products Series – Part II

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Here is the second part of Valuation Management Group’s (VMG) three part blog on environmental assessments. Once again, we have partnered with Dana Spotts, Principal with Contour Environmental, who will go into detail on Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA).

Click here to read Part 1: Environmental Checklists.


“A Phase I ESA is a comprehensive document that involves a review of records, a site inspection, and interviews with owners, occupants, neighbors and local government officials. The assessment typically addresses both the underlying land as well as physical improvements to the property. The purpose of a Phase I ESA is to gather sufficient information to develop an independent professional opinion about the environmental condition of the property and to identify actual or potential environmental contamination, which may impact the property value or affect claim to an “innocent land owner” defense following acquisition. While sampling and laboratory analysis are not always included in this phase, they should still be conducted by an environmental professional trained in the appropriate standards. Contamination can result from activities that took place on the site property and/or from activities at neighboring properties.

“A Phase I ESA is generally considered the first step in the process of environmental due diligence. Standards for performing a Phase I site assessment have been [published] by the US EPA and are based in part on ASTM in Standard E1527-13.

“Often a multi-disciplinary approach is taken in compiling all the components of a Phase I, since skills in chemistry, atmospheric physics, geology, microbiology and even botany are frequently required. Many of the preparers are environmental scientists who have been trained to integrate these diverse disciplines.

 “The final US EPA “All Appropriate Inquiry” (AAI) rule defines an environmental professional as someone who possesses sufficient specific education, training, and experience necessary to exercise professional judgment to develop opinions and conclusions regarding conditions indicative of releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances on, at, in, or to a property, sufficient to meet the objectives and performance factors of the rule. Most site assessments are conducted by private companies independent of the owner or potential purchaser of the land.” – Dana Spotts, Contour Environmental, LLC

 Valuation Management Group is a national, full service appraisal management company that manages the appraisal process for community banks, mortgage bankers and credit unions. We take the process from ordinary to extraordinary.

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