Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

When a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) identifies a recognized environmental condition (REC) or the potential for soil or groundwater contamination, vapor intrusion into buildings, or contaminated building materials, most clients request to evaluate the potential contamination by performing Phase II Environmental Testing.


The purpose of a Phase II Environmental Report is to determine the presence, or absence of, petroleum products or hazardous waste at the site. The ASTM E1903 - 19 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process provides guidance on conducting a Phase II ESA.


When designing a Phase II ESA, the most important pieces of information necessary are:


• Areas of Concern


• Chemicals of Concern


• Local geology


• Site/facility access issues


• Selection of appropriate sampling methods


• Securing a capable analytical laboratory


Phase II ESAs initial soil, groundwater, vapor intrusion, and potentially impacted building materials samples are collected at a few locations where the highest likelihood of release has likely occurred or where building material coatings or adhesive are suspect in nature. To assist in determining the best locations for intrusive sampling, consulting environmental professionals may use geophysical equipment to located underground utilities, buried underground storage tanks (USTs), or other buried obstructions.


Soil and groundwater samples can be collected by hand using hand-held equipment, or by small to large drilling rigs. The type of equipment used depends on the types of soil and depth of groundwater at the site, and whether the samples are collected from underneath the building or outside. Once collected, the samples are then sent to a laboratory to determine how much, if any, hazardous materials, or other chemicals are present in the soil, groundwater, soil vapor, or building materials.