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?
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.
"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).
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.
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......
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.
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.
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).
If it were me, I would say REC.....yes. You do not state whether the well is active or abandoned. Either way, these installations can emit various types of hazardous gases. If the well was abandoned, it must have been done correctly and approved, usually by the state. Check with state agency. In some cases, the well could require special expertise for current status evaluation. More could be said if anyone still interested.
I do not believe Georgia has vapor regs yet, we usually default to federal.
OK thanks AGAIN!!!
A VEC is not always a REC because a VEC is any vapors at all on the property, no matter how low the concentration. But a VEC that could trigger regulatory enforcement is a REC. It really depends on your state regs.
Modeling it is too much for a Phase I. You only need to estimate the likelihood based on the data you've got.
This is for a Phase I so we have no vapor data. In a file review, we found the highest reported benzene concentration in the cross-gradient plume to be 110 ug/L benzene. Are you saying in a Phase I we should plug this groundwater data into a model to see the vapor concentrations?
My understanding is that VECs are not RECs because they would not pose health threats to people, making them de minimis.
It's just like groundwater or soil. If you have groundwater contaminants above reportable drinking water limits (assuming they apply to the subject property) then it's a REC regardless of whether or not the groundwater is actually used for potable water. Similarly, if vapor concentrations are too high to be considered de minimis then the VEC could be a REC even without a current VIC.
Please go on..... in what cases would a VEC be a REC without a VIC? I could see calling it a REC if a planned structure was going to be in the area of your VEC but how could a VEC alone constitute a REC in another case?
It's good that you explain that a VEC is not a VIC with the existing building. Also verify that the VEC at the property line is a de minimis condition too, not just at the existing building. You could have a situation where a VEC is a REC without a VIC.