Key Conclusions: A Technical Evaluation project may be your best option as they are specifically designed to save considerable time and money. They usually provide a clear evaluation of an environmental issue at a commercial site.

Questions to consider are:

Are there any known or perceived environmental issues regarding the subject property?

Have previous Phase 1 projects or Phase 2 subsurface investigations provided any recommendations?

Can a project in the range of $1,000 determine the viability of financing a Property before spending funds for a Phase 1 or 2 project?

A Technical Evaluation project investigates the environmental status and condition of a subject property. These projects could include some or all of the following tasks.

  • A technical review of previous Phase 1 and Phase 2 investigations that have been conducted. Have these projects been performed to current standards and do they provide a full evaluation of potential risks and subsurface environmental conditions? Is additional research necessary?
  • Are environmental regulatory agency personnel already involved and are there potential agency requirements? Should an agency be involved and if so what is the environmental status of the property? This question is particularly important if the Property is listed as a leak case or if previous subsurface investigation has detected contamination.
  • Was the subject property a gasoline station or was there an underground tank? If so a specialized review of resources such as detailed historical aerial photographs can be used determine the location and scope of a Phase 2 investigation. The research can determine the former location and layout of underground fuel tanks and will usually save money in designing a Phase 2 project.

The main purpose of these Evaluations is to determine what additional information is necessary to assess the risk of contamination to a property.

Additional information may be used to

  1. determine what might be required to resolve an environmental issue for a property owner BEFORE a Phase 1 is ordered
  2. to determine the necessity of and the required scope of a Phase 2 subsurface investigation.

Recommendation - ERAS recommends that customers allow ERAS to perform initial FREE research of their property or FREE preliminary review of previous environmental reports to determine the applicability of a Technical Review Project.

Remember the eight P’s for a successful outcome: proper prior project planning provides perfect project performance.

The California State Resources Control Board has developed criteria and tools for case closure of leak cases that are considered “low risk” or “low threat”. These criteria can be used to demonstrate that many leak cases can be closed usually with a deed restriction. Although deed restrictions limit some activities that can be conducted on a given Property, if the Property use will remain as commercial/industrial, the closure can allow the Property to be sold or refinanced. The closure process is implemented locally by the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB). Links to the policy documents are provided below.

ERAS has recently worked with the RWQCB to close sites in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale based on the Low Threat Closure Assessment Tool for VOC (solvent) leak sites. The closure policies are being considered for applicability for a fuel leak case in San Jose (Photo above shows UST fill pipe inside sidewalk at the San Jose site, a REC) and for a chemical leak site in Richmond.

Recommendations - ERAS recommends that you contact us to evaluate your Property for the applicability of low threat closure. We might recommend a Technical Review or Regulatory Review project depending on the history and complexity of the leak case.

Petroleum Case Closure - http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/board_decisions/adopted_orders/resolutions/2012/rs2012_0016atta.pdf

Solvent Case Closure http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/sanfranciscobay/water_issues/programs/sitecleanup/Low_Threat_Closure_Assessment_Tool.pdf