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What is Phase 1 and Phase 2 ESA?

ESA (Environmental Site Assessment) is an assessment of a site or commercial property to identify the site’s potential social, safety, health, finance, and environmental risks. This kind of evaluation helps the owner or buyer of the property to know the liabilities and risks associated with the property or site. The results of ESA help buyers to decide whether or not they should invest in the property. If they want to go ahead with the deal, they can negotiate with the seller based on the ESA results.

An ESA team consists of experienced chemists, geologists, civil engineers and more. The engineer uses different instruments to perform ESA, such as bailer for groundwater sampling, hand augers, GPS receivers.


Phase 1 ESA

Phase 1 ESA (Environmental Site Assessment) is used to investigate the effect on property or site from the previous or current use of the property. You can get to know whether there is likely to be any hazard to the property. The components of Phase 1 ESA are Reports, Interviews, Site Reconnaissance, and Records Review.


Phase 2 ESA

Phase 2 ESA is used to examine the possible contamination found in the report of Phase 1 ESA. In some cases, there might be no contamination as mentioned in Phase 1 after the detailed investigation in Phase 2 ESA. Phase 2 ESA deeply analyses all the samples such as air, dust, vapour, the material of the building, storage piles, spill, groundwater and soil. 

The components are Phase 2 ESA reports, identifying the exact contamination and summary of the test results, testing of found contaminants, quantity and location of sample identification, environmental component identification and testing for contamination.

Difference Between Phase 1 ESA and Phase 2 ESA

  • Phase 1 ESA is a preliminary test that is done before Phase 2 ESA.
  • Phase 2 ESA is done only to perform a detailed study of the complications and risks found in the Phase 1 ESA report.
  • Phase 1 ESA has four components, whereas Phase 2 ESA has five components. 
  • In Phase 1 ESA, an in-depth study and tests are not performed on the sample of building materials, air, groundwater and soil, but Phase 2 ESA gives a detailed report of these elements after testing.
  • In Phase 1 ESA, there will be no detailed site inspection and detailed review as in the case of Phase 2 ESA.
  • In Phase 2 ESA, the potential risk from other sites around the site boundary is also evaluated to identify the potential contamination risk to the site. These types of site inspections are not performed in Phase 1 ESA.
  • A large area is examined in Phase 2 ESA compared to Phase 1 ESA.
  • Phase 2 ESA is based on the reports of Phase 1 ESA. Phase 1 ESA will assess all the possible risks, which is further studied in Phase 2 ESA if found.


Now that you have understood the importance and difference between both Phase 1 and Phase 2 ESA, you can assess according to the requirements. If you are the property owner or are planning to purchase a property, then first go with Phase 1 ESA and, if needed, opt to get Phase 2 ESA.



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