Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments (ESA)

Ben Engineering provides environmental consulting services for Phase 1 and 2 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) services in southeastern Ontario, performed by a Professional Engineer (P. Eng.) and Professional Geoscientist (P. Geo.). These types of assessments can be conducted either in accordance to the Canadian Standard Association (CSA) standards or the Ontario Regulations O.Reg. 153/04 and 511/09. The CSA-based assessments meet financial institution (banks, trustees and private lenders) and CMHC requirements for financing purposes, while the O. Reg.-based assessments meet governmental requirements (such as the Ministry of the Environment, municipalities, etc.) for rezoning and building permits applications.

The purpose of the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) report as defined in the CSA Z768-01 Standard is to identify potential site contamination through a process of collecting current visually accessible evidence on the site and the reviewing of background documents.

In Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment, no laboratory testing, sample gathering, intrusive investigation, or physical analysis is required. A Phase 1 ESA, even if conducted in accordance with the CSA-Z768-01 Standard, is only intended to reduce but not necessarily to eliminate the possibility of potential contamination on the property.

The Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment is mostly required when purchasing a commercial property, in order to minimize liability risks as a result of contamination. The requirement can come from the purchaser as a mean of discretion, the financial institute that finances the purchase, or the local municipality. While the scope of work is not absolutely defined in the Standard and can be modified in accordance with the client's needs, there are four principles involved in the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment process:

  • A records review in order to collect data on past activities on the site and neighbouring properties, including mandatory documents and optional documents when applicable.
  • A site visit to identify any visual evidence of actual or potential contamination (for example, an underground oil tank, or asbestos pipe insulation).
  • Interviews with site personnel, government officials and third parties, in some cases.
  • Evaluation of the information and reporting of the findings and conclusions.

The Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments are conducted in general compliance with the CSA Z768-01 Standard or O.Reg. 153/04 for obtaining a Record of Site Condition. The main differences are listed in the following table:


Use
CSA Z768-01 Standard
O. Reg.
153/04
Due Diligence
Yes
Yes
Financing
Yes
Yes
Building Permit
No
Yes
Rezoning
No
Yes
Records of Site Condition
No
Yes
Other Governmental Applications (Ontario)
No
Yes