The Basics and Importance of Environmental Site Assessments


Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments (often known as an ESA) serve to evaluate properties for potential environmental liabilities. These projects are conducted for many purposes, ranging from real estate investments to regulatory compliance, environmental permitting, insurance considerations, and beyond. In this blog post, we delve into the fundamental aspects of environmental site assessments and underscore their significance.


A Phase I ESA is review of historical records (aerial photographs, maps, databases, etc.), interviews with property owners and occupants, and a site inspection to identify potential environmental liabilities, or Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs). These may be existing RECs (such as, underground storage tanks), historic RECs, or conditions that present a potential business risk. If RECs are identified during a Phase I ESA, then a Phase II ESA may be warranted.

A Phase II ESA consists of sampling soil, groundwater, or air to confirm if impacted media are present on the property where RECs were identified. This may lead to regulatory reporting of the finding, additional assessment activities to determine the extent of contaminants, determine if remediation activities may be required, etc. When making an investment in or leasing a property, it is vital to know and understand the potential environmental liabilities so one can be more at peace of mind and to avoid complex future issues. The cost of performing a Phase I or II ESA is small compared to the cost of a previously undiscovered or unknown environmental condition.

What We Offer

At Highlands Environmental Solutions, we offer a wide variety of different site assessments including AAI and ASTM Compliant ESAs (Phase I, II, and III Environmental Site Assessments) and:

  • Merger and Acquisition Audits
  • Rapid Assessment/Audit Services
  • Property Imaging
  • Soil and Groundwater Sampling
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Groundwater and Contaminant Modeling
  • UST and AST Programs
  • Risk Based Corrective Action
  • Indoor Air Quality Assessments
  • Brownfields Assessments
  • FHA Water Quality Assessments
  • Facility Compliance Audits
  • Conceptual Site Design
  • Wetlands Assessments
  • Geotechnical Evaluation
  • Human and Ecological Risk Assessments

Providing a diverse range of assessments and evaluations ensures that we cater to various needs and requirements. With extensive experience conducting hundreds of ESAs across the eastern United States, we offer comprehensive solutions tailored to each client’s specific circumstances.


When it comes to environmental liabilities, it is better to play it safe than be sorry. Typically, these are “buyer beware” situations. By not conducting proper due diligence, the buyer could purchase a problem that they are now responsible for. Although someone may be able to save a few dollars in the short term, some of these potential liabilities could end up costing upwards of hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in the long term. To learn more about the different assessments we offer, click the link below or reach out to for more information!

Related Posts

About Us
Silhouette picture of an engineer

We offer quality services with the best possible performance and have developed a strong reputation for efficiency and reliability. With the client in focus, we guarantee a professional and competent response from our highly qualified staff.

Let’s Socialize

Popular Post