Hy-Grade Geoscience is recognized as a leading provider of environmental site assessment services throughout Atlantic Canada. Our professional and technical staff have completed Phase I ESA's at properties ranging from industrial facilities and commercial properties to undeveloped sites and residential properties. Our clients include commercial and industrial corporations, national, regional and municipal firms, property managers, insurance companies, law firms, and financial institutions.
The Phase I ESA, as per the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), is required by financial institutions and the law courts, for facility owners, operators and purchasers, to demonstrate "due diligence" in order to absolve themselves from the liability associated with impacted properties. An ESA may document "baseline" or current conditions to avoid liability for future environmental impairment. In some cases, property owners/managers may rely on a Phase I ESA to hold lessees accountable for activities leading to adverse impact.
A Phase I ESA is a non-intrusive investigation, to determine if a property is or has the potential for adverse environmental impact associated with past or present site activities or adjacent properties. The professional experience and technical ability of the assessor to accurately determine and evaluate past and current site conditions is the key to an ESA. The Phase I ESA process includes four key requirements:
1. A "desktop" review of all available information and documentation relative to the property (e.g. Environment Canada, Department of Environment, municipal directories, insurance records, topographic maps, aerial photographs, planning documents, title search information, surficial and bedrock geological mapping, data from libraries and/or other media, etc.).
2. A site visit, conducted with someone familiar with the subject property, to identify the physical characteristics of the subject property, infrastructure (e.g. underground utilities), hazardous materials or substances, above ground and/or underground storage and distribution equipment, odours, staining, water supplies, drainage control, etc. The site visit also identifies issues associated with adjacent properties as well as potential environmental receptors and a preliminary level of risk and/or liability.
3. Interviews with individuals familiar with the subject property, past and present operations and activities (e.g. former and current site managers and personnel, federal, provincial and municipal regulatory agencies, engineering and works representatives), to identify activities which may have impacted soil and/or groundwater.
4. Prepare a report, with supporting documentation such as photos and communications. The CSA standard also requires a statement of the qualifications of the assessor. The report should identify any limiting conditions to the investigation and clearly states that there is, or is not, potential for adverse environmental impact at the subject property. If there is no potential impact, no further action is warranted. If there is potential impact, recommendations may be made, including additional assessment (e.g. Phase II ESA), to confirm the presence or absence of adverse environmental impact.