What is a Phase III Environmental Site Assessment?
Where a Phase I is research on a property and a Phase II is testing completed on a property, a Phase III is the physical remediation or installed and managed engineering control of a problem identified by either a Phase I or Phase II. A Phase III could consist of removing an underground storage tank (UST) found on a site, the remediation of soil or groundwater contamination or establishing a deed restriction due to contamination left on site.
What does a Phase II cost? A Phase II is remediation and is typically the most expensive aspect of work and can run into the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The worst case scenario for a Phase II is that the Phase II costs more than the value of the property.
Following a Phase I & Phase II Environmental Investigation, an environmental professional will supply a report as to what was found in the Phase II and if additional work needs to be completed in order to deem the property as free of potential liability stemming from environmental concerns. If the findings do suggest that Phase III work is necessary then the environmental professional or in New Jersey the LSRP can discuss what options are available to address the environmental issues found. Phase III work is unique in the fact that each job varies because the type of contamination and the size of the area vary from site to site. Client objectives must be managed in relation to applicable regulations as well as costs to manage the environmental issues.
After the Phase III work is completed the area may still need additional testing (long term monitoring) to confirm that the property has been properly cleaned up. The ultimate goal of a Phase III is to either rid the property of any potentially harmful environmental contamination or remove the risk of contamination impacting the environment further or threatening human health. Completing a Phase III can mean that the problem is remediated or defined and encapsulated and allowed to remain on site. Variable cost calculations can be used to recalculate property values when contamination is left in place. So a Phase III could in theory burying contamination on a site under a protective cap, in short entombing the contamination. This approach would deed restrict a site, potentially lower the value and trigger the owner to obtain a tax reassessment to lower taxes on the site. Phase III's can be long and expensive and require experience guidance. Curren has over 20 years experience