How Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Protects Buyers

  • By Robin Thorne
  • 25 Jul, 2017

Environmental Site Assessment - What You Should Know

You purchased a commercial property and have now discovered the site is contaminated with a hazardous substance. How did you get here? The simple answer: You didn’t get the required Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. And now you are responsible for the cleanup. How can you avoid this scenario? You can protect yourself by getting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. Read on to learn more about why this is a step no purchaser wants to skip.

 

What is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?

It is an investigation to meet one of the requirements that will qualify a buyer for the innocent landowner defense under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). It is required for any commercial real estate purchase that is financed through a bank loan.

 

What is involved in the Environmental Site Assessment?

A thorough investigation of the site’s history and property usage. This involves evaluating the recognized environmental condition (REC) of the site. This evaluation analyzes the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substance or petroleum product on a property under conditions that indicate an existing, past, or material threat of release into structures on the property, soil, groundwater, or surface water.

 

At the request of our clients, CTI can expand the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment to include topics such as:

 

·    Regulatory compliance

·    Ecological resources that may be impacted by development

·    The presence of asbestos-containing materials

·    Other real estate risks to the purchaser

 

How long does it take?

The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment process is usually completed within 15 working days.

 

What is included in the report?

CTI provides clients with a confidential report with an accurate environmental profile of the subject property. The report details CTI’s investigation methods as well as relevant conclusions and our professional opinion. The results indicate whether there is evidence of contamination, if an environmental liability exists, and the potential economic costs associated with that liability. No one, unless authorized by our client, has access to the information provided in the report.

 

What happens if a hazardous chemical is found?

If the results of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment indicate strong evidence of contamination, a client may request that CTI propose a site-specific and economically valid approach to further examine the property in Phase II. The goal is to evaluate the presence of an environmental liability and potential economic costs.

 

How can CTI help?

CTI frequently provides consultations to its wide range of clients on property rehabilitation strategies as well as presenting alternative and cost-effective options for the removal of chemical contaminants. CTI provides a range of services for real estate purchasers, in addition to the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, that include:

 

·    Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

·    Brownfield Assessments

·    Business Environmental Risk

·    Remedial Action Oversight and Ongoing Monitoring

 

If our client acquires a Brownfield, CTI often serves as oversight consultants during the remediation to ensure that our client’s interests are properly represented throughout the cleanup process.

 

Do I really need a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?

In a word: Yes. This assessment is required for any commercial real estate purchase that is financed through a bank loan. Our goal at CTI is to protect our clients from CERCLA liability and making a bad real estate investment. Phase I Environmental Site Assessment will provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have met your due diligence obligation.

 

By Robin Thorne 17 Aug, 2017

As summer temperatures continue to rise, so does the risk of heat illness to workers. The danger is serious and can even result in death. But, knowledgeable employers can take precautions to prevent heat illness.

T8CCR 3395(b) defines heat illness as “a serious medical condition resulting from the body’s inability to cope with a particular heat load, and includes heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat syncope, and heat stroke.”


Cal/OSHA’s campaign outlines the employer’s responsibilities:  Water. Shade. Rest. Read on to find out how the provisions of four required steps prevent heat illness.


1. Training

All employees and supervisors should be trained to prevent and recognize the symptoms of heat illness. Training should clearly outline the health effects of heat, prevention methods, and proper response to the symptoms of heat illness. Employers should designate specific employees on each worksite to call for emergency medical services, if necessary.


Employers may also pair up employees using the buddy system if there are too many employees to allow for direct supervisory observation. The employer has the responsibility to train employees to observe their buddy during the workday, stay in contact with their supervisor, and immediately report symptoms of heat illness. Employees working alone must be contacted frequently throughout the day by a supervisor to monitor their safety.


2. Water

Cool drinking water must be accessible and available for all employees. Employers should encourage workers to frequently drink 8 ounces of water every fifteen minutes or up to 4 cups per hour. Workers may forget or be unaware of the need to drink water so often, but they will need to rehydrate since they will sweat more than usual in a hot work environment.


Encouraging workers to drink water includes making the water easily accessible within a short distance. This allows workers to drink water without interrupting their work to travel far for a drink of water. Employers are responsible to provide enough cool water for each employee, free of charge.


3. Shade

To beat the heat, workers will need fully shaded or air condition areas to be made available so they can cool down and rest. Shaded areas should be large enough to accommodate employees during rest periods, be located as closely as possible to work areas, and allow employees on rest periods to be monitored for signs of heat illness. Employers should encourage employees to rest and cool down to prevent overheating, before they feel sick. These breaks should last at least five minutes.



4. Planning

T8CCCR 3203 of the California Code of Regulations requires employers to develop and have an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) in place. The IIPP identifies hazards in the workplace and implements a plan to prevent them. The program can also effectively reduce costs to employers through management leadership and employee compliance training.  


Heat illness is a serious health risk, but it is preventable. Cal/OSHA has provided resources to help employers defend their employees against heat-related illnesses. Remember: Precautions are the best safeguard against heat illness.


Sources:

http://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3203.html


http://www.dir.ca.gov/DOSH/HeatIllnessInfo.html


https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/08-006/WhatIs.htm


http://www.dir.ca.gov/DOSH/HeatIllnessInfo.html



By Robin Thorne 25 Jul, 2017

You purchased a commercial property and have now discovered the site is contaminated with a hazardous substance. How did you get here? The simple answer: You didn’t get the required Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. And now you are responsible for the cleanup. How can you avoid this scenario? You can protect yourself by getting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. Read on to learn more about why this is a step no purchaser wants to skip.

 

What is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?

It is an investigation to meet one of the requirements that will qualify a buyer for the innocent landowner defense under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). It is required for any commercial real estate purchase that is financed through a bank loan.

 

What is involved in the Environmental Site Assessment?

A thorough investigation of the site’s history and property usage. This involves evaluating the recognized environmental condition (REC) of the site. This evaluation analyzes the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substance or petroleum product on a property under conditions that indicate an existing, past, or material threat of release into structures on the property, soil, groundwater, or surface water.

 

At the request of our clients, CTI can expand the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment to include topics such as:

 

·    Regulatory compliance

·    Ecological resources that may be impacted by development

·    The presence of asbestos-containing materials

·    Other real estate risks to the purchaser

 

How long does it take?

The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment process is usually completed within 15 working days.

 

What is included in the report?

CTI provides clients with a confidential report with an accurate environmental profile of the subject property. The report details CTI’s investigation methods as well as relevant conclusions and our professional opinion. The results indicate whether there is evidence of contamination, if an environmental liability exists, and the potential economic costs associated with that liability. No one, unless authorized by our client, has access to the information provided in the report.

 

What happens if a hazardous chemical is found?

If the results of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment indicate strong evidence of contamination, a client may request that CTI propose a site-specific and economically valid approach to further examine the property in Phase II. The goal is to evaluate the presence of an environmental liability and potential economic costs.

 

How can CTI help?

CTI frequently provides consultations to its wide range of clients on property rehabilitation strategies as well as presenting alternative and cost-effective options for the removal of chemical contaminants. CTI provides a range of services for real estate purchasers, in addition to the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, that include:

 

·    Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

·    Brownfield Assessments

·    Business Environmental Risk

·    Remedial Action Oversight and Ongoing Monitoring

 

If our client acquires a Brownfield, CTI often serves as oversight consultants during the remediation to ensure that our client’s interests are properly represented throughout the cleanup process.

 

Do I really need a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?

In a word: Yes. This assessment is required for any commercial real estate purchase that is financed through a bank loan. Our goal at CTI is to protect our clients from CERCLA liability and making a bad real estate investment. Phase I Environmental Site Assessment will provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have met your due diligence obligation.

 

By Robin Thorne 26 Jun, 2017

(Contributing Writer, Ronisa Shoate)

Fugitive dust is on the run and your business is required by law to keep it under arrest, so to speak. What do you do? The first step is to educate yourself.

Step One – Get the Facts: What is Fugitive Dust?

Fugitive Dust is air pollution. When dust is disturbed by wind and human activity (e.g. driving, construction work, leaf blowers), it rises and floats in the air. Based on the size of the particulate matter (PM) or particle pollution found in the air, it can be visible to the naked eye or visible only with the help of a microscope.

While larger particles (e.g. coarse sand and gravel) fall out of the air quickly, smaller particles (e.g. pollen and soot) can stay airborne for periods of time that range from days to years. Some PM are emitted directly from a specific source, including unpaved roads and construction sites. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies smaller particles as 10 microns diameter or smaller, or PM10.


According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), fugitive dust includes five general areas of dust emissions: 

1. Construction and demolition  

2. Materials handling 

3. Paved roads 

4. Unpaved roads 

5. Storage piles. 

Construction work that produces fugitive dust can occur in some of the following ways:

Ground clearing and preparation
Movement of equipment on-site
Transporting construction materials into and out of the work area

In the state of California, PM10 pollution is a serious problem. The enviable Southern California weather further complicates the issue as the warm, dry climate allows the dust to dry completely due to infrequent seasonal rainfall to hold back fugitive dust.  In addition, seasonal winds like the Santa Ana winds distribute fugitive dust more widely. These factors are a source of environmental concern since fugitive dust is a matter of health and safety with harmful effects for the public.  

Step Two – The Harmful Effects of Particulate Matter

 As an air pollutant, fugitive dust is hazardous. If a business produces enough dust or smoke, this is a contributing factor to reduced visibility. During the summer months, fugitive dust reacts to the sun’s heat and produces smog.

Beyond the unpleasant appearance of the haze of smog, fugitive dust can cause many serious health problems. Based on the size of the particulate matter, fine particles can enter the mouth and nose through inhalation. This can cause respiratory problems and decrease lung function. And the effects are dangerous for people with existing health issues like asthma or heart disease.

 

Step Three – Arresting Fugitive Dust

Due to health and environmental considerations, controlling fugitive dust is the responsibility of businesses. And regulations on the Federal and State level enforce laws for additional protection. California Health and Safety Code Section 41700 (the State Nuisance Law) prohibit a person from discharging air contaminants that can harm the public. California air districts regulate business operations to ensure they adhere to rules that minimize fugitive dust emissions. Local Air Pollution Control Districts (APCD’s) and Air Quality Management Districts (AQMD’s) regulate sources of air pollution and issue air quality permits. 

Businesses that create fugitive dust have a responsibility to take the proper precautions to control it. CTI offers practical solutions to help businesses stay in compliance with fugitive dust regulations before and during construction. We are well acquainted with the local agency’s rules and regulations as well as operation and compliance requirements of federal and state agencies.


With the use of your personalized dust prevention and control plan from CTI, construction work can take place responsibly with short-term impacts while maintaining good engineering practices. CTI can help you identify problem areas in advance and plan accordingly. We will provide you with a roadmap to compliance that will help us all breathe easier.

 

By Robin Thorne 16 May, 2017

Every October, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases the list of the 10 most frequently cited health and safety violations for the fiscal year (from October 1-September 30). Here is the top ten list for 2016.

  1.     Fall Protection – 1926.501

  The number one OSHA violation since 2011 is often due to organizations that do not provide appropriate protection to employees against life-threatening fall hazards.

  2.   H azard Communication – 1910.1200

  Organizations are cited for the failure to implement a hazard communication program or inadequate training for their employees.

3.     Scaffolding – 1926.451

  Missing planks or holes in scaffold platforms and inadequate platform assembly are violations of this standard.

4.     Respiratory Protection – 1910.134

  Common violations include when employees experience overexposure to contaminants or wear improperly-fitted respirators.

  5.     Lockout/Tagout – 1910.147

  Organizations are cited when no lockout/tagout procedure is in place to control energy sources in equipment and machines.

  6.     Powered Industrial Trucks – 1910.178

  Violations are often for untrained operators or non-compliance with recertification requirements of Powered Industrial Trucks (PIT).

7.     Ladders – 1926.1053

  Improper use of ladders such as standing on the top rung and the use of inoperative ladders are violations of this construction rule.

  8.     Machine Guarding – 1910.212

  Common violations include not anchoring fixed machinery to prevent them from moving.

  9.     Electrical Wiring – 1910.305

  It is a violation of this standard when organizations use temporary wiring instead of permanent wiring and incorrectly use extension cords.

10.    Electrical, General Requirements – 1910.303

  Organizations are often cited when electrical equipment is improperly installed.

This list is simply the top ten of a long list of Cal/OSHA violations. The standards are in place to protect employers and employees. Safety violations highlight the serious dangers posed to employee safety, can cause damage to an organization’s reputation, and are expensive penalties.

Workplace hazards can be prevented. And hazard prevention is an investment that saves an organization the lives of its employees, prevents injuries, and saves money. CTI’s Regulatory Compliance Division helps organizations with strategic and proactive plans that meet OSHA compliance standards as well as to protect against reputational risk. Keeping employees safe is no small matter, it is of primary importance to find and address safety hazards before OSHA makes an appearance.

CTI has extensive relationships with agencies such as: SCAQMD, Cal-EPA, CalTrans, DTSC, Sanitation Districts, Cal OSHA, State Water Resource Control Board, Fire Departments, and many other regulatory agencies.

No matter the risk you face, CTI can assist you in evaluation of the project and will provide you with a roadmap to compliance while allowing you to achieve your business objectives.

(Contributing Writer, Ronisa Shoate)

  www.ctienviro.com


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