Phase II Site Investigations

A Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, sometimes called a Subsurface Investigation, is a field analysis used to confirm suspected environmental contamination and, if necessary, to set the groundwork for remediation plans.


A Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, often called a Phase II ESA or just a Phase II, is a field analysis used to confirm suspected environmental contamination. If the initial Phase I ESA (link to ESA service page) reports suspected environmental contamination, a Phase II ESA is used to conduct further sampling and confirm the presence of the condition.
EBI’s Phase II ESA program allows clients to build a report that meets their own needs as well as those of any local or state regulatory agency with which they need to comply, including:

  • Soil & Groundwater Sampling & Analysis
  • Sediment & Surface Water Sampling & Analysis
  • Soil Vapor & Indoor Air Sampling & Analysis
  • Groundwater Flow Modeling
  • Indoor Air Vapor Intrusion Assessment
  • Contaminant Source Differentiation
  • Risk Characterization
  • Sensitive Receptor Surveys
  • State specific requirements, such as:
    • MA Contingency Plan (MCP) and LSP Services (link to relevant glossary page)
    • MA 21-E Site Assessments
    • New Jersey LSRP services
    • CT LEP services


Phase II ESAs are ordered by a variety of stakeholders in a property, often during a real estate transaction, as a result of site improvements and redevelopment, or in order to refinance. Banks and lenders may require a Phase II ESA as a follow up to a Phase I prior to lending on a property that has suspected environmental contaminations, or in the case of foreclosure when the lender acquires the property.

Property owners and investors may receive a recommendation for a Phase II in their original Phase I ESA but choose not to pursue the Phase II until they move forward with site improvement plans. Owners then use the information from a Phase II to inform their cost and scope planning.

Properties that most often require Phase II ESAs are those on which it was highly likely that environmental contamination happened throughout general course of business or operation. Sites like dry cleaners, gas stations and mechanics, industrial facilities and even gun ranges are likely to experience contamination and require further investigation.


Phase II ESAs are conducted by experienced Environmental Professionals such as biologists, environmental scientists, and environmental engineers. Some states have requirements for credential, such as Licensed Site Professionals (LSPs) in Massachusetts, Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRPs) in New Jersey, and Licensed Environmental Professionals (LEPs) in Connecticut.

No matter your geography, you want to choose a consulting firm that has the staff you need to meet your site-specific needs with the experience to provide expert interpretation and recommendations.


EBI Consulting provides quick-turnaround, high-quality Phase II Environmental Subsurface Investigations, Comprehensive Site Assessments, and Baseline Site Assessments nationwide to derive critical environmental quality information for use in business decision-making.

Our team uses rapid field assessment measures to obtain faster turnaround and to manage costs. We understand the importance of preserving the evidentiary value of the data collected. In discussions with regulators and in negotiations with third parties, we serve as effective and experienced advocates for our clients. And if your project requires further investigation and remediation, EBI’s team will work side by side with you to create a custom action plan to achieve your site goals.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

A Phase I ESA is a report ordered by stakeholders in real estate transactions to provide disclosure on possible or existing environmental contaminants on a property site or its surroundings.


A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, or Phase I ESA, is a report ordered by stakeholders in real estate transactions to provide disclosure on possible or existing environmental contaminants on a property site or its surroundings.


Buyers, owners, investors, developers, lenders – any person or organization taking on substantial risk in a real estate transaction will benefit from having the findings of a Phase I ESA before the transaction is concluded

Most lenders, as well as the US Small Business Administration, require environmental due diligence be completed before approving commercial loans

All property buyers who wish to avoid the weight of liability for environmental contaminants already existing on or near the property in question, are required to conduct a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment to be eligible for CERCLA liability protection


The vast majority of lenders require environmental due diligence before approving commercial loans. In addition, proper due diligence is a stakeholder’s greatest weapon for reducing the delays and surprises that often derail a deal.

Some of our clients work within rapid turnaround times, while others have more time to make their decisions. But one thing everyone shares is the desire to avoid obstacles and address potential issues up front.

At the end of the day, you need a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment for any property in which you’re a stakeholder for the peace of mind of having a comprehensive understanding of the possibilities, obstacles and costs associated with lending for, or making a new property purchase.

Even if a “recognized environmental condition” (REC), “historical recognized environmental condition” (HREC), or “controlled recognized environmental condition” (CREC) is identified by the Phase I ESA, you can still close the deal and avoid federal clean-up liability through a legal defense known as the “bona fide prospective purchaser.”

But without completing a Phase I ESA prior to closing on the property, you effectively forfeit this and all other “innocent landowner” legal defenses against a recognized environmental condition liability.


The goal of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is to identify or rule out the presence of RECs. All valid Phase I ESAs adhere to the latest ASTM standard: E1527-13.

At EBI, your Phase I ESA begins with you. It is extremely helpful and can often decrease the turnaround time of a report when you provide:

  • The reason for your transaction: are you acquiring, selling, financing, etc.? The plan for the property can help your consultants hone their approach
  • Timing for the report: How fast do you need it? Are there transaction deadlines waiting for the results?
  • Property details: construction date, acreage, square footage, age of the building, etc.
  • Historical information about the property and building operations
  • Any known concerns about the property or prior reports
  • Site access concerns: Is the roof inaccessible? Is it challenging to access in the winter?

From there, your consultant will begin crafting the scope of work required to produce a comprehensive Phase I ESA.


This is an important question many real estate stakeholders forget to ask. According to the EPA’s standards for All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI), an Environmental Professional (EP) must conduct or be in responsible charge of all appropriate inquiries (a Phase I ESA is one way to satisfy AAI).

So… who conducts Phase I ESAs? The short answer is, it depends who you hire.

It could be a qualified and seasoned Environmental Professional like one of EBI’s 400 full-time employees. Other providers may staff the job with a new college graduate in training under a qualified EP, or sub the job out to a freelance EP who will visit your site, take down notes with his/her assessment, and email them to the consulting firm’s “report generator,” who, having never set foot on or seen your property, writes your Phase I ESA.

At the end of the day, much of the quality in your Phase I depends on who you hire. Look for a consultant with a robust and experienced full-time staff of EPs to save yourself from costly oversights and liability.


With EBI, a standard Phase I ESA ranges in price between $2,000-$5,000 or more.

At EBI, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality, most comprehensive assessments a consulting team can provide. We do not sacrifice the quality of your data for the sake of brevity, nor do we send out inexperienced apprentices to your property site, for the sake of reducing our costs.

EBI is widely known for being comprised of the best, brightest, most experienced real estate environmental professionals. We are a unified and dedicated team of senior staff specialists, collaborating daily to meet our clients’ goals and needs.

There are cheaper options than EBI Consulting. It’s up to each stakeholder to decide what matters most: a cheaper, corner cutting, faster-than-average report, or a rapid turnaround of in-depth insights that help drive sound business decisions and negotiations.


If you were supervising the cross-country shipment of a valuable work of art, would you hire:

An experienced moving company that subcontracts out different segments of the trip and relies on several drivers, trucks, stops, and dispatchers to keep the artwork intact and on track for timely delivery, or

An experienced moving company with the track record and capacity to execute a direct route with a single truck and safe and timely delivery?

Can you tell which type of service EBI strives to provide?

We pride ourselves on hiring and retaining the highest caliber engineers, scientists, and technical experts who work as a collaborative team on project after project, amassing knowledge and experience both as individuals and as a cohesive team.

EBI has the know-how, capacity, and decades of experience serving as trusted partners to our clients across every phase of their real estate investments.

The EBI Advantage is simple: exceptional outcomes from exceptional analysis. No short cuts. We meet your unique needs, solve problems, and create value for your business.

Environmental Desktop Reports Extended

Environmental Desktop Reports are a group of limited scope environmental investigations conducted for lenders and borrowers during a real estate transaction to inform decision making and risk assessment processes.

What are Environmental Desktop Reports?

An Environmental Desktop Report, sometimes called a Desktop Review, is similar in scope to a Phase I ESA but it does not include a visit to the subject property and is instead done entirely through digital review, earning the name “desktop” report. Although a site visit is not conducted, experienced Environmental Professionals still conduct thorough reviews of items such as database records from government and regulatory agencies, and historical records from third party data providers. They also complete environmental questionnaires with relevant stakeholders to build a more complete picture of the property’s history and usage.

The exact scope of a Desktop Review is often customized to the client’s needs, but in general contains one or more of the following components:

  • Environmental Records and Database Review
  • Historical Records and Database Review
  • Records Search with Risk Assessment
  • Custom items of interest to the client

Click here to download a simple 5-stage guide to obtaining your Environmental Desktop Report.

When are Environmental Desktop Reports Ordered?

Desktop reviews are alternatives to full Phase I ESAs so they are often ordered during a real estate transaction’s due diligence period in lieu of the more in depth report. The limited nature of a Desktop report means that they may be a more cost-conscious option for buyers or lenders who want a cursory overview of potential risks and concerns on the subject property. In some cases if the Desktop review surfaces a potential concern, the stakeholder will choose to engage the consultant for a complete Phase I or Phase II ESA.

Most often a Desktop Review is appropriate for a lender who has a long-standing relationship with a trusted borrower, thus making the transaction less risky, or in cases where the subject property is a low-risk asset and is unlikely to have any RECs.

Why Should I Choose EBI for my Desktop Review?

Due diligence is a highly competitive environment and some consultants cut corners–as such, not all environmental reports or regulatory submittals are created equal. For example:

  • A regulatory concern may be dismissed without a review of the appropriate records
  • The property history may be incomplete
  • Municipal records may not be reviewed
  • The soil vapor pathway may not be considered

Any of these omissions can violate AAI or state regulations and negate the value of the report, leaving stakeholders completely unprotected from liability.

Our nationwide network of local experts is ready to serve as knowledgeable, trusted partner through every phase of your real estate investments; whether your Environmental Desktop Review suffices for a particular deal, or you need experienced environmental consultants ready to further evaluate the site.



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