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Environmental Assessment


 L&R completes comprehensive Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) in accordance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI), 40 CFR Part 312} and guidelines established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) in the Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process E 1527-13 (ASTM Standard Practice E 1527-13): Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, for real estate transactions, property development,  bank financing, refinancing and foreclosures, and other in-house proactive audit programs.

 The purpose of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment 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” exemption following acquisition.

 Phase One Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) should be an essential step in acquiring commercial or industrial property, but there are many questions stakeholders have about Phase I ESAs.  Phase I Environmental Site Assessments are the introductory phase of investigating if there is a potential for environmental risk or contamination on a property that would affect its value and if additional investigation and testing is warranted.

 There are several reasons why a property may require a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment:

 Transfer of Ownership

Many transfers of ownership of a commercial property are required by law to receive a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.


Many banks will not approve a loan for the purchase of a property if a trained environmental professional has not reviewed the property for risk of environmental contaminants.  This reduces the risk of the transaction and gives them a more reliable figure on the value of the property.

 Environmental Concerns:

There are many contaminants on a property that could require further testing and remediation.  These are some of the common concerns with a property that may be addressed in a Phase I ESA.  If the property used to contain or still contains underground storage tanks or above ground storage tanks, then there is a risk that they may have leaked over time and the soil and/or groundwater is contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons.  Various potential concerns are described below:

  • Petroleum Hydrocarbons
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Lead
  • Asbestos
  • Mold
  • Radon
  • Pesticides
  • Review of standard environmental record sources from local, state, and federal agencies within ASTM approximate minimum search distances
  • Regular updates for all stakeholders during process
  • Strict client confidentiality
  • Clear summary of Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs)
  • Incorporation of specific lender requirements for issuance or reliance language for the purposes of making loan decisions.
  • If conditions warrant additional investigation, a written Phase II Environmental Site Assessment proposal describing means for identifying and characterizing environmental contamination revealed during a Phase I ESA will be prepared upon request
  • HUD, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac compliant
  • Use of PARCEL for multiple site portfolios
  • Vapor Encroachment Condition (VEC) screening available upon request in accordance with ASTM Standard 2600

Asbestos is most commonly found in older homes and buildings in the following materials:

  • pipe and furnace insulation materials
  • roofing materials
  • exterior siding
  • wallboard and textures/joint compound
  • textured paints and other coating materials
  • flooring materials and adhesives

While many asbestos containing materials have been banned in the United States, asbestos continues to be used today in building material construction making it necessary to test modern building materials.

The following are some of the materials in which the use of asbestos is not banned and may be used in new construction today:

  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Roofing felt
  • Roof coatings
  • Non-roofing coatings
  • Millboard
  • Cement shingle
  • Cement pipe
  • Cement corrugated sheet
  • Cement flat sheet
  • Pipeline wrap
  • Automatic transmission components
  • Clutch facings
  • Friction materials
  • Disk brake pads
  • Drum brake linings
  • Brake blocks
  • Gaskets
  • Clothing

If asbestos-containing materials are disturbed by cutting, sanding or other remodeling activities, asbestos fibers can be released to the air where they can become an inhalation hazard.  To be a significant health concern, asbestos fibers must be inhaled at high concentrations over an extended timeframe.  Significant exposure to asbestos increases the risk of asbestosis or mesothelioma.

Asbestosis is scarring of the lung tissue.  Asbestosis restricts breathing leading to decreased lung volume and increased resistance in the airways. It is a slowly progressive disease with a latency period of 15 to 30 years.

 Mesothelioma is a cancer of the pleural lining and is considered to be exclusively related to asbestos exposure. By the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal. Similar to other asbestos related diseases, mesothelioma has a longer latency period of 30 to 40 years.

Asbestos can be positively identified in air, bulk, and/or dust samples only by trained analysts using specialized microscopes.  L&R has trained and experienced staff along with the necessary equipment and instrumentation to provide quality asbestos analysis of air, bulk, and/or dust samples.  We offer various methodologies (NIOSH, EPA, OSHA, ASTM, etc.) utilizing Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) and Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM).
Laurie Kuther is an Environmental Professional and professional asbestos laboratory analyst. Laurie has worked as an asbestos analyst in the Treasure Valley for the past 11 years and has analyzed thousands of samples for the presence of asbestos.