If the site is known as brownfield, should the architect order ESA I or ESA II?

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    Soha Sabet

    When we suspect or know there is contamination we order ESA II to be done.

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    Sean Engle (Edited )

    If there was known contamination there, then ESA II. 

    Basically speaking, the ESA I is the gathering of information (what was here before, who owned it, what kind of activities/materials did they engage in, etc.).  ESA II on the other hand, gets very specific about what is on the site: how bad it is, verifies its presence via testing and develops plans for mitigation/removal.  

    So, if the only qualifier for this question is it's being called a "brown field", that might be an indicator of something, but also might not as it only implies previous development.  The term "Greenfield" would imply no previous development; so if it's brown, you need to know what was there prior and how that might impact your plans for the site (ESA-1). 

    It could be that there was just a kite building assembly building there (ESA-1 would outline this), however if it turns out they were using toxic paint in the construction of their kites, then you'll likely head to an ESA-II.

    You have to think of ESA 1 and ESA 2 as two different tools that work toward the same goal: Getting to the facts about a site to see if issues are likely (ESA 1), and then if so, closely identifying them, confirming them, and developing a plan to deal with them (ESA 2)..

    At least that's how it works in my brain... =) 

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    Rebekka O'Melia

    The answer for the ARE is that you should automatically jump up to on ESAII.  And an ESAI is done when you aren't sure what the site history is.

    I had a client in one of my groups who was an engineer in NYC.  He said so many brownfield sites had already been remediated there, that they just order an ESAI first to verify if it's already been completed.  But NYC is very atypical.  The property values are super high and it's very dense.

    The correct answer for the ARE is that you'd do an ESAII if you know the site is a brownfield.  I worked for a construction company/developer year ago that built on a lot of brownfield sites around here.  

    Hope this helps!

    Rebekka

    www.stepuparchitecture.com

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    Francesca Fontana

    My understanding is that EPA recommend Phase I and Phase II in this order under any conditions. EPA definition of Brownfield is " A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant". If a site is classified as brownfield, does not mean it is contaminated for sure and even if we knew it for sure, a Phase I would anyway be necessary to understand the level of contamination and who he’s liable for it.

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    Michael Ermann

    You can go straight to a Phase 2, but that's not a good idea and is not the right answer on an exam. Phase 1 is required to provide the new owner with ground contamination liability protection from the weird stuff that the previous owner put into the ground. Plus, Phase 1 identifies where the Phase 2 soil samples should be taken ("Where was that underground hydraulic lift tank?"). And, Phase 2 is expensive and even though you think Phase 1 is unnecessary, maybe you're wrong.

    But mainly ESA I comes first as a liability protection. The government was worried that no one would ever again buy and redevelop a brownfield site for fear of being sued by what the last owners put into the ground. They responded with this system that provides indemnification and you'll want to follow it in order. Once the owner executes an ESA Phase I, she's generally indemnified because there's a record that the the LAST owner was responsible for the contamination. ESA II only tells you that there IS contamination and doesn't assign culpability. 

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    Francesca Fontana

    Thank you so much for the good explanation Michael Ermann!

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