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QEP Environmental has been providing straight forward and affordable ESA Phase I services across British Columbia for over 12 years. Our staff is well-versed in the requirements and regulations involved in Phase I ESA studies.

What is an ESA Phase I Assessment?

A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA) is a review of present and historical site activities that may have, or had in the past, contamination effects on present structures, soil, groundwater and other site features. An ESA Phase 1 includes a visual inspection of the site and an extensive literature search for any historical contaminations. Interviews with knowledgeable people are also conducted. Phase 1 ESA studies are conducted in accordance with the requirements of CSA Standard Z768-01.

During the investigation, based on the site of interest, Potential Contaminants of Concern (PCOCs) are identified and localized to Areas of Potential Concern (APECs) within the property. These findings allow residents, property owners, developers, regulatory agencies and real estate agencies to determine whether future development activities have a risk of unearthing subsurface soil or groundwater contaminants.

What is the difference between a Phase 1 ESA and a Stage 1 PSI?

A Stage 1 Preliminary Site Investigation (Stage 1 PSI), is a similar type of study to Phase 1 ESA. While Stage 1 PSI studies generally follow the requirements of CSA Standard Z768-01, their specifications are defined by the BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Chance Strategy under the BC Contaminated Sites Regulation, part of the BC Environmental Management Act.

What is the purpose of a Phase 1 ESA Assessment?

An ESA Phase I study aims to review historic and current conditions and interpret the findings to make a recommendation on whether or not contaminants of concern may be present and if analytical testing is warranted. Through visual observation and a thorough study of available archives and documentation, the Phase I ESA study aims to ascertain whether or not there is a potential for historical contamination on a subject site.

Do I need an ESA Phase 1 assessment?

Phase I ESA Assessments are most commonly requested by financial institutions as part of the real estate due diligence process. In case of mortgage refinancing, transfer of property or deed of land, the mortgage institution may require a Phase 1 ESA Assessment to be conducted. If a Phase I ESA or Stage 1 PSI has been recommended for your property, contact us.

QEP Environmental has many years of experienc in Environmental Site Assessments, Phase 1, with projects completed across British Columbia. A variety of ESA Assessments have been carried out by QEP Environmental staff for small commercial and retailer facilities, as well as large scale industrial assessments. We offer ESA Phase 1 services across BC, including Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley region, the Okanagan, Vancouver Island and interior BC.

How is a Phase 1 ESA Conducted?

Initially, a review of governmental and privately-managed databases is conducted, including non-public databases. These databases record historical information, including past contamination and remediation events, historic presence of fuel tanks, nearby properties with potential to cause contamination, local subsurface soil conditions and local indicators of groundwater characteristics. This information informs the ESA Phase I in determining the relative probability of subsurface contaminant presence and the likelihood of contamination on neighbouring properties migrating to the property of interest. Historic and ongoing activities on the site of interest and on neighbouring properties with potential to deposit contaminants are outlined in Schedule 2 of the BC Contaminated Sites Registry.

Following a thorough database review, a field investigation is conducted on and around the property of interest. The site study focuses on identifying  current site use, visible evidence of past site use, potentially-present underground storage tanks and the condition of on-site structures. This information, along with the information collected during the database review, is compiled into an ESA Phase I report.

The ESA Phase I report outlines any potential contaminants of concern as well as the locations on the property of interest where they may be located.

What are the other Phases of an ESA?

ESA Phase I and Stage 1 PSI investigations aim to determine if analytical study is needed. Based on the results, the following phases may be subsequent to a Phase I ESA or Stage 1 PSI:

Phase II ESA: If potential contaminants and areas of potential concern are identified during the Phase I ESA, a Phase II ESA may be conducted. This entails analytical testing within areas of potential concern to determine if contaminants identified during the first phase are present.

Phase III ESA: If contaminants in concentrations exceeding regulatory thresholds are identified during the Phase II ESA within local soil and/or groundwater, a Phase III ESA may be conducted. The Phase III ESA entails the development and implementation of a remediation plan in order to remove contaminated soil and groundwater from the locations identified in the previous phases.

Questions about ESA Phase I services?

Give us a call at 250.681.4838, or fill out the contact form. Please include as much detail as possible. We will quickly get back to you with more information. If you're requesting a price quote, please indicate the type and size of property, as well as any deadlines you may have.