Curren Environmental Blog

Why perform a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

Posted by david sulock on May 4, 2011 10:42:00 AM

Who requires a Phase I ESA?

Traditionally, a Phase I was contracted by the bank or lending institution on properties where financing was being arranged.  The Phase I was primarily  performed for the protection of the banks, who were concerned that if they loaned money for a contaminated property they may be held liable for the site cleanup.  Today, many banks with loans under a million dollars and borrowers supplying a down payment do not require a Phase I.  This has been an industry shift over the past several years as banks have come to understand where their limit of liability stands.

Cost for a Phase I ESA

Phase I Environmental

 

 

What is included in a Phase I?

The Phase I is a property assessment that includes a walkover of the property and associated structures; a review of historic property information including maps, aerial photographs, deeds, telephone or address directories, etc.; a review of contaminated properties in the vicinity of the subject property; a summary of knowledgeable party information and review of prior reports; and the review of local, State and Federal files pertaining to the property address.

Items evaluated in the Phase I report include: tanks, drains, pits, spills, in-ground and aboveground equipment, petroleum and chemical use, and environmental liens.

Additional issues which may be included in the Phase I at the lenders or clients request include: wetlands, radon, asbestos, lead-based paint, and drinking water. 

The Phase I report is typically research only.  Unless otherwise specified as part of the scope of work, testing or surveys are outside of the typical Phase I requirements.

Why complete a Phase I if my bank does not require one?

Although many banks are not requiring a Phase I on some commercial loans, the environmental regulations leave the burden of environmental responsibility on the property owner.  Performing a Phase I, allows a purchaser to complete the necessary due diligence.  It is this due diligence that enables a purchaser to obtain prior to taking possession of a property.  Buyer beware is relevant now more than ever in commercial real estate transactions.  If a property is purchased without a due diligence evaluation and subsequent environmental issues are found in association with the property, the property owner is now burdened with the cost of remediating the issue. The performance of a pre-purchase Phase I could alleviate the potential for finding environmental issues in the future and thereby holding up future transactions.  As a potential purchaser, the determination of environmental issues on a property could be used as leverage for the seller to remediate the concern prior to purchase or could be used to negotiate the property value pending the need for the potential purchaser to perform the cleanup.

If I don’t do a Phase I and buy a property how would I ever find out if there was an environmental problem with the site?

The most common way is when you go to sell and the potential buyer completes a Phase I and discovers an environmental Area of Concern (AOC).   Today the largest purchaser of Phase I’s is not the banks, but commercial real estate investors and owners (*transactions under $1,000,000.00).

I own a property, never had a Phase I and I am now thinking of selling the property.  Do property owners have Phase I’s performed?

One of the largest shifts in the commercial real estate market today is that many land owners are having a Phase I performed to root out environmental issues before they become an issue when a buyer is found.   A buyer performed Phase I is viewed as both a marketing tool and an environmental property assessment that can help sellers anticipate issues with a property.  It can be akin to a homeowner having a home inspection completed to address issues that a purchaser might find during their inspection. 

If an environmental issue is found in a Phase I report on a property I am buying, can I still purchase the property?

 If the issue is fully disclosed to the lender (if one is involved) and the buyer is wiling to accept the liability and cost of addressing the issue, then yes you can buy the property.  But the real question is should I address the issue before buying the property?

The investigation of potential issues found in the Phase I is typically addressed as part of a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment.

Tags: Phase I, Environmental Site Assessment, ASTM 1527-05, Property Transaction Screens

What is a New Jersey (NJDEP) LSRP

Posted by Wes Fitchett on Jan 28, 2011 9:38:00 PM

Curren offers Licensed Site Remediation Professional (“LSRP”) Services.  The New Jersey Site Remediation Reform Act (“SRRA”), approved in May 2009, set in place the requirements for environmental professional licensing as Licensed Site Remediation Professional (“LSRPs”).  The program has been modeled after a similar program in Massachusetts initiated in 1993.  It is reported that the NJDEP currently has over 20,000 cases awaiting remedial activity.  The implementation of the LSRP Program would result in a significant increase in the amount of sites restored in a timely manner.

LSRP NJ

The key idea of the New Jersey SRRA Program is so that the NJDEP can focus their resources on the more important sites and to allow the responsible parties to move the remediation process along without extensive NJDEP review and comments.  The LSRP has the educational and experience background to act as the enforcement arm of the NJDEP and is allowed to move remediation projects forward without NJDEP pre-approval.  The LSRP ensures that sites are investigated and remediated in accordance with the NJDEP Technical Requirements for Site Remediation.

The LSRPs  will issue Response Action Outcomes “RAOs” for sites where the remediation has been completed.  The RAOs take the place of the currently issues No Further Action Letters.

LSRPs are overseen by a board of 13 members and approximately 10% of LSRP cases which are closed with an RAO will be reviewed or audited for compliance to the Technical Requirements and to confirm that the site remediation approach is protective of human health and the environment. The NJDEP will still act as the final approval authority through the auditing process.

The LSRP is charged with the responsibility of reporting any issue deemed an Immediate Environmental Concern (“IEC”) on any site the LSRP is involved with including due diligence assessments.

Responsible parties, under the SRRA program, remain responsible for regulatory compliance issues and are held to mandatory time frames.  If a Responsible Party misses a deadline, they may be forced into the “Direct Oversight Program” where the NJDEP becomes the primary oversight on the case.  This also opens up the Responsible Party to possible enforcement actions.  Other issues which will require NJDEP Direct Oversight would include chromate contaminated wastes, environmentally-sensitive areas where natural resource damages have occurred, some contaminated sediment sites and sites which have been ranked as a priority based on exposure of human health and the environment.

 

May 7, 2012 NJDEP LSRP Deadline

The NJDEP LSRP program requires that all responsible parties (RP) of commercial property are required to hire a licensed site remediation professional (LSRP) by May 7, 2012, and to then proceed with the remediation or investigation without Department pre-approval.  To opt-in the responsible party must complete the LSRP Notification of Retention or Dismissal Form.  The form is signed by both the LSRP and the RP, Submission of this certification results in automatic Department approval.  No other NJDEP approvals are required.

Tags: LSRP, NJDEP LSRP, LSRP Program, New Jersey LSRP, NJ LSRP Program

Oil Tank Removal in New Jersey

Posted by david sulock on Jan 28, 2011 9:00:00 PM

The purpose of this document is to provide a concise reference to the preferred practices and procedures for oil tank removals in NJ. 

oil tank removal nj 

Buried oil tanks raise a variety of environmental, safety, legal and economic concerns for home owners and home buyers. The largest concern relates to the environmental issues that are caused when the oil tank leaks and causes  soil or groundwater  contamination. 

The following is a breakdown of the proper steps that should taken in order to remove your residential oil tank. 

Step 1: Permitting 

Local construction/demolition and/or fire subcode permits need to be applied for and the permits approved by the municipal office.     Once the local permits are approved, it is typical that the local inspector will need to be onsite for all or a part of the removal activities.  Permit application, insuring permit approval and scheduling of local inspectors is always done by Curren Environmental before removing the oil tank. 

Step 2: Underground Utilities 

State law requires that before any excavation activities can commence, a utility markout will need to be performed. The company performing the oil tank removal should call for an underground markout through “NJ One Call”.  t is the law in New Jersey and other states, to call for a utility markout before you dig. Make sure the company you choose to remove the tank obtains a markout confirmation number.  It protects all parties involved. 

Step 3: Oil Tank Cleaning 

Cleaning of the tank will consist of wiping, squeegeeing and removing all liquids and sludges from the tank.  Liquids are then either  placed into onsite storage containers or a vacuum truck. . 

Step 4: Oil Tank Removal    

It is recommended that all oil tanks be removed from the ground  when taking a tank out of service.  (In some instances when removal of the oil tank may damage the integrity of the structure an abandonment in place can be performed.)  By removing the tank from the ground a site assessment can be performed to determine if the tank has maintained integrity. 

Step 5: Oil Tank Site Assessmen

After the oil tank is removed a site assessment can performed by Curren’s certified NJDEP Subsurface Evaluator.  The site assessment to evaluate whether contamination is present in the excavation can be carried out in a variety of ways  while the tank is being removed. 

▸   Evidence of contamination can be determined from product odors, product stained soils, and/or visual evidence of free product.   

▸   Inspection of the Underground Storage Tank, (UST), for evidence of corrosion or perforations. 

▸   By a series of observations and measurements during the tank excavation and decommissioning operations such as  soil and ground water sampling and analysis. 

In New Jersey the standard analytical testing method for #-2 heating oil is Extractable Petroleum Hydrocarbons (EPH). All samples must be submitted to an independent NJDEP licensed laboratory for analysis.  EPH results are measured in part per million or ppm. Samples results above 5,100 ppm are actionable and require remedial activities to be completed.   EPH results  between 1,000 ppm and 5,100 ppm require an additional analysis. 

Step 6: Backfilling 

Once the tank is removed from the ground the void space must be backfilled with clean certified  fill.  The general equation for backfilling is five cubic yards of backfill material for every 1000 gallons of storage capacity.  For example a 500-gallon tank would require 2.5 cubic yards of fill material.  Suppling and installing the backfill is always performed by the firm removing the tank and should be included in tank removal cost. 

Step 7: Site Investigation Report - Tank Certification

Curren Environmental will prepare a Site Investigation Report which will document the tank removal activities.  The report will detail the heating oil tank removal and provide certification of the tank removal.   The report will include the following information: 

   1.  Copy of the local permit for tank removal 
   2.  Liquid receipt from the tank cleaning. 
   3.  A thorough written description of the tank removal activities. 
   4.  Photo documentation of tank removal (if available). 
   5.  A copy of the tank scrap receipt. 
   6.  Any applicable laboratory test results. 
   7.  A detailed text description of the condition of the tank and if any petroleum contamination was noted in the tank excavation. 

Curren Environmental, Inc. is a licensed by the  New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to perform closure activities associated with Underground Storage Tanks, (USTs).   

Tags: oil tank grants, tank grants, NJDEP oil tank removal grant, free oil tank removal, oil tank removal, oil tank removal new jersey, oil tank removal nj, tank removal, tank removal grants

Oil Tank Removal & Remediation Grants

Posted by pat warren on Dec 1, 2010 2:31:00 PM

NJDEP Tank Grant Change Posted May 3, 2011

New Jersey Tank Grants are being depleted faster than the NJDEP and EDA anticipated, this in conjunction with a lack of funding replenishment has caused the NJDEP to withhold processing new tank non leaking grants starting May 3,2011.  What this means to grant applicants and carriers:

 

  1. Any applicant that has received a funding approval agreement from the EDA can safely proceed with the remedial work as approved.   Applicants with any cost overruns on the remedial work can still apply for supplemental funding.  These supplemental fund requests will be reviewed but funding may not be approved based on available monies in the fund.
  2. Any grant application submitted after May 3, 2011, will be time stamped and reviewed when the NJDEP catches up to that part of the queue and based on availability of funds.
  3. The NJDEP has found that the grant program offerred to homeowners to remove underground oil tanks has driven a rise in tank removals and associated case numbers for leaking tanks.   Without the financial incentive, the oil tank removal rate will attenuate to historic levels, with an increase during peak residential real estate sales periods.
  4. Grant applicants have been encouraged to perform testing and have been reimbursed for forensic investigations in order to date the range of when the tank leak occurred.  This approach is to try to obtain partial insurance coverage from past policies.  Most homeowners do not realize that insurance coverage may be available from the insurance policy for tank leaks.
  5. Insurance Carriers will have to perform tighter investigation to ensure that plume areas are well defined as homeowners will have to bear the burden of remedial costs without the benefit of financial grants from New Jersey.
  6. If additional funding is transferred to the grant fund, the NJDEP and EDA may take a stricter stance on the need based criteria for grant approval to help supply grants to the neediest of applicants.   The NJDEP previously implemented this approach when regulated commercial underground storage tanks had access to this grant funding, on June 30, 2010, this funding was closed to new applicants.

 

When will monies be added to the fund so that new applications can be processed?

The fund was set up as an act of legislation or law that required funding to be added after the fund is depleted below the $20,000,000.00 level and to continue to do so until 2021.  Monies are scheduled to be added to the fund during the next financial year which begins in July of 2011.   The amount of funding is not known. The NJDEP is also looking at amending the application process criteria, i.e., who is eligible for the leaking and non leaking tank grant.   These changes are not known at the prresent time, but it is possible that income levels and financial asset limits will be lowered to ensure that the neediest of applicants have access to the grant.

 

*The Following has been taken from the NJDEP web site.

*IMPORTANT NOTICE - NJDEP PETROLEUM UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK REMEDIATION,UPGRADE & CLOSURE FUND (UST FUND)

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT EFFECTIVE MAY 3, 2011, NEW UST FUND APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE REVIEWED OR PROCESSED DUE TO INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. New UST Fund applications will be date stamped at the time of receipt and held until such time as sufficient funding becomes available. At that time applications willbe reviewed and processed based on the order of receipt.

The Department of Environmental Protection is aware that contractors advertise that state funding is available and tank removal and remediation can be done at no cost to homeowners. Please be advised there has never been a guarantee of funding to any UST Fund applicant.

 PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS DOES NOT AFFECT THE REVIEW OF SUPPLEMENTAL APPROVAL REQUESTS. If you have previously submitted an application that has been approved, any supplemental funding request for that application will be reviewed and processed until such time as available funding is exhausted.*

 

*Taken from the NJDEP web site.

 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) grants funds to eligible homeowners that proactively upgrade and close their underground storage tanks.  The Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Fund (PUST) Program for Non-Leaking Residential tanks awards eligible applicants’ full or partial reimbursement of the costs of upgrading oil heating systems.  Eligible applicants may be awarded full or partial reimbursement of the cost incurred from UST removal and AST installations.  Eligible applicants may be reimbursed up to $2,100.00 to remove a UST and up to $4,100.00 when the removed UST is replaced with an AST. In the event that a grant is not awarded, many applicant may still qualify for a loan, which may be repaid over the course of up to ten years.

NJ Tank Grants
For properties that have oil tanks that leaked in New Jersey, grant funding is available up to $500,000.00 for eligible applicants. 

Curren Environmental has a full time New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) grant administrator that can assist you with both the residential  Non-Leaking and Petroleum Underground Storage Tank (PUST) grant applications.  Both applications are more commonly referred to as the New Jersey Oil Tank Grant Program or the NJ Oil tank Grant program.  No matter what you call the program, our administrator will help you complete and file all the necessary forms so that you can be reimbursed for monies spent to remove your oil tank or to replace your oil tank with a new Aboveground Heating Oil Tank.   Having completed these applications since the program was started in 2006 we offer the expertise in getting the application fully completed and formatted so the grant can be reviewed quickly and easily by both the NJDEP and the EDA.  What this means to our clients is a smoother and quicker application process.   We are not only experienced with completing the oil tank grant applications, but we are also licensed to perform oil tank removal and cleanups (remediation) from oil tank leaks.   

If you have questions, we have answers and are happy to assist you.  Call today and ask to speak to our grant administrator.  Call 888-301-1050.

Tags: oil tank grants, tank grants, NJDEP oil tank removal grant, NJDEP tank grant discontinued, NJDEP oil tank grant change may 3, 2011