Comments

Comments

  • readude

    In Nevada you have to have the Certified Environmental Manager credential issued by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection to sign off on a Phase I.  California used to have the Registered Environmental Assessor (REA) program that many EPs used as sort of unofficial credential for conducting Phase I ESAs.  Not sure what, if any, credential requirements apply in Washington or Arizona.

  • MaxEng

    Looks like a grounding wire to me.

  • MaxEng

    Decisions regarding whether a Phase II investigation must be made by the client, not by the EP -- but the EP should communicate the issues clearly to the client so they can make a properly informed decision.  I agree with JG that recommendations should not appear in the Phase I report, unless the client specifically requires that they be there.

  • TFrancis

    Sounds like a REC(s) IMO, but be honest with the client that the historic property use is the issue, and if you're confident that it is, provide the justification and know that your making a decision you can sleep on.  

  • JG

    Recommendations for a Phase II don't typically belong in a Phase I report.  A REC is a REC regardless of the Client.  However, Phase II recommendations are very dependent on the needs of the Client.  This is why Phase II recommendations should typically be included in a separate letter after a conversation with the client.

  • GRTUSA

    Thank you for your comments.

    Your statement "Decisions on Phase II go beyond identification of RECs, including risk tolerance of the client" is very interesting.  I honestly always feel the burden on myself as the professional to make or not make the recommendation for the Phase II. I know the client (the current owner in this case) will have a high tolerance for risk and will not want to see a recommendation for Phase II.  On the other hand, the owner has agreed to have the lender listed as a "User" of the ESA and they will certainly have a much lower risk tolerance.

    Thank you again for your insight.  I will weigh it accordingly.

  • GRTUSA

    based on the sanborn maps the garage does appear to have been used for maintenance and yes the railroad is adjacent.

  • geodc

    More details are needed, but based on this description, it's hard to imagine not recommending a Phase II. Was the garage a maintenance garage or a parking garage? Is the railroad adjacent?

  • MaxEng

    Not an HREC, since we don't know whether contamination was once present, let alone whether it has now been reduced to meet unrestricted use standards.

    I'd be tempted to identify one or more RECs, depending on how much information is available regarding specific processes employed by the furniture and automobile manufacturers and what exactly the city garage activities comprised.  Also need to do a file review on the north adjoining property to evaluate the potential for contaminant migration onto the subject Property.

    Decisions on Phase II go beyond identification of RECs, including risk tolerance of the client.

  • MaxEng

    "I have seen leaks cause big problems" is NOT the same as "likely contamination," which is the criterion for calling out a REC.  But I agree, a leak can indeed cause big problems.

    One of the challenges associated with Phase I ESAs is how to deal with conditions that are not "likely" to have caused contamination, but if contamination is present the problem could be very expensive.  IMO that's a good situation in which to call out a Business Environmental Risk (BER).

     

  • JG

    I'd treat this as any abandoned tank on an abutting property.  The REC/no REC call lies with the potential for migrating contamination.  The town owns the tank. 

  • PWoloszyn

    You need to come up with an effective strategy to protect yourself or you are going to be looking at doing a lot of phase II subsurface investigations at your facilities. MaxEng is pointing you in the right direction = strong written documentation provided to the environmental consultant during the site visit, be prepared, maybe cc the property owner, make sure the written documentation that you provide is included in the report, make the consultant work to explain in the report why with all this documentation that you have provided, there is any concern.

    If the report still concludes REC with phase II recommendation, dispute it in writing, point out the weaknesses in the consultants report, ask the consultant to provide examples where sites with similar strong documentation have been discovered to have significant subsurface contamination.

    Of course, any such strategy is likely to work only if it applies......

     

  • manno

    Yes, I should have used a different word in that sentence.........likely.  

    However, I totally disagree with you on not calling this a REC. Wells are often abandoned with no regulator anywhere nearby.  If you say nothing about this then you have to trust the crews that did this work followed all the correct procedures. On top of this, you have to hope there was never an earthquake or some other failure issue.  Not only that, but these wells tend to get "lost" over the years.  I do work for a company with a LOT of shopping centers, many of them over old oil fields. I have "found" them under parking lots and buildings where they were unmarked and obviously damaged.  I have had to do geophysical surveys to find them because they were 'lost'.  And soil gas surveys have shown elevated emissions, not just on the old wells. If someone is putting a building, especially something residential over a well......I would definitely call it a REC.   I personally would never disregarded such an installation. We probably live in different parts of the country. Wells have been a huge issue here and verrry low levels of emission are a concern.  I would agree with you on one thing.....if we lived in a perfect world....the wells as designed and or abandoned might not leak.

  • MaxEng

    Once again confusion about the definition of REC.  "Can emit?"  "Can leak?" Sure, but a REC is defined as "likely contamination," which in my experience is a criterion that most recently installed (1990s and later) gas wells do not meet. There's no way I could justify calling a gas well constructed in this timeframe a REC.

    Remember the definition of REC.  It's not "possible contamination," it's "likely contamination."  Very different things.

  • manno

    This topic seems to come back around every other year.  My experience on older dealerships has been somewhat different than those posted above.   I have seen these units leak and cause big problems.  Attached is a photo from a site I managed several years ago that had approx 16 lifts. Many of these lifts leaked and resulted in 30 foot excavations (and these soils were not sands).