In our previous post, we discussed the different objectives and standards for a “21E” type of Phase I versus a MassDEP Phase I.  A 21E-type Phase I is generally part of due diligence during a real estate transaction and is non-intrusive.  A MassDEP-type Phase I is required after a release of oil and hazardous materials has occurred and generally includes soil and ground water sampling.

A “21E”-type Phase I typically includes:

  • A site visit to look for oil/hazardous materials storage, use or disposal and to visually evaluate for potential contamination.
  • A review of municipal records for information about historic property uses as well as oil/hazardous materials storage, use or disposal.
  • A review of state and federal environmental databases.
  • A review of historic maps, aerial photos and/or city directories to evaluate historic property uses and sources of contamination.
  • Preparation of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report for use by parties in the real estate transaction.

A MassDEP-type Phase I typically includes:

  •  The above activities (excluding the report) plus…
  • Identification of sensitive receptors and resource areas near the property.
  • Investigation of site hydrogeologic characteristics.
  • The installation of a minimum of 3 ground water monitoring wells along with associated soil and ground water sampling.
  • An evaluation of the nature and extent of contamination, ground water flow direction, migration pathways and exposure potential.
  • The preparation of a Phase I Initial Site Investigation Report and Tier Classification Submittal which is submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

While the two types of Phase I’s share some common elements, much more data is gathered and evaluated in a MassDEP Phase I.  Another critical difference is that the MassDEP Phase I is required by the MassDEP to comply with the Massachusetts Contingency Plan regulation where a 21E-type Phase I is performed on a voluntary basis.