Key Conclusions: A “baseline” Phase 2 investigation can be used to determine and document the subsurface environmental conditions on a property prior to occupancy. It may be used in a situation where a future occupant will be using and storing hazardous materials and is concerned that pre-existing contamination is not present.

Proper care must be taken to determine the scope of proposed work of this or any Phase 2 project so that meaningful and defensible results and conclusions are obtained.

Baseline Phase 2 investigations can be useful to provide an assessment of environmental conditions on a property prior to its occupancy.
One example of a baseline investigation might be for a company that wants to install a diesel above ground storage tank (AST) for fueling its trucks. A baseline assessment could be performed that would include shallow soil sampling in the area of the proposed AST.

Another example of a baseline investigation might be for a company that will package and distribute liquids that have chemicals that could cause contamination to underlying soil and groundwater and there is known contamination with similar chemicals on are near the Property.

As is the case with all Phase 2 investigations, it is critical to define specific goals. That is, where is the location that is important to investigate and what would the expected contaminant(s) be? What will be the result to the owner and buyer if contamination is found? Is the investigation focused enough to provide a true and complete assessment of subsurface environmental conditions?

Recommendation - ERAS recommends that if a baseline subsurface investigation is requested or required that it be evaluated technically. The goals of the proposed investigation should be strongly justified in considerations of all local, state and federal environmental regulations and current standard of care and practice. The scope and goals should be clearly defined and understandable by all involved parties whether or not they are technically trained.