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Environmental Transaction Screens 

Environmental Transaction Screens (ETS) are voluntary inspections intended to identify Potential Environmental Concerns (PECs) for commercial real estate. They are meant to be a screening tool for those who wish to conduct limited environmental due diligence. JLC only recommends the ETS for low risk property types with available historical information. An ETS is sometimes used as an alternative to Phase I Environment Site Assessments (ESA), which are a more extensive method of environmental due diligence. 

An ETS has a limited scope of work including a site visit, review of environmental databases, completion of an environmental questionnaire by the owner or occupant and consultant doing the transaction screen along with a review of limited historical sources back to 1940 or to first development using at least one of the following sources: Sanborn maps, city directories or aerial photographs.

The ETS process may be conducted either by the user or potential user of the property, whereas a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment must be conducted by an environmental professional, as defined by 40 CFR 312.10(b) (Standards for Conducting All Appropriate Inquiries or AAI). JLC's ETS reports are compliant with the most current ASTM E1528 standard.  Please note that clients who complete transaction screens do not qualify for Landowner Liability Protections (LLPs) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).  Anyone seeking these protections should complete a Phase I ESA.

Environmental Site Assessments (Phase I, II and III)

An Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is a report prepared for a real estate holding which identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. The analysis typically addresses both the underlying land as well as physical improvements to the property. Contaminated sites also include what are are often referred to as "brownfield sites." 

The Phase I ESA is generally considered the first step in the process of environmental due diligence. Standards for performing a Phase I ESA have been promulgated by the US EPA and are based in part on ASTM in Standard E1527-05. If a site is considered contaminated, a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment may be undertaken.  This is the actual sampling of soil, air, groundwater and/or building materials present. ASTM E1903 is the standard used for this more detailed investigation. A Phase III ESA is the actual remediation design and cleanup of a contaminated site.

JLC has prepared hundreds of these ESAs as part of property transfers and refinancing deals. Conducting the proper due diligence ensures a successful real estate transaction. Phase I involves a site visit to the subject property and report is usually generated within 2-3 weeks after the site visit.


JLC's Phase I report includes:

  • Site Description

  • Historical Use

  • Regulatory Review 

  • Site Reconnaissance 

  • Interviews with Current and Past Owners (if possible)

  • Environmental Lien Search

  • Findings and Conclusions

  • Certification of Authenticity/Reliance Letter

  • Photographs 

  • Maps and/or Historical Aerial Photographs

  • Computerized Environmental Reports 

  • Pre-survey Questionnaire & Correspondence

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