A Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) is defined by ASTM as “the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate an existing release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the property or into the ground, ground water, or surface water of the property. The term includes hazardous substances or petroleum products even under conditions in compliance with laws.” The term REC does not include de minimis conditions.
If a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) identifies a recognized environmental condition or the potential for soil contamination, then Phase II Environmental Testing is performed to evaluate the potential contamination. A Phase II involves soil, soil-gas and/or groundwater sampling and analysis to determine the presence, or absence of, petroleum products or hazardous waste in the subsurface of the site. The Phase II mostly focuses on finding the specific Areas of Concern and Chemicals of Concern discovered in the Phase 1 ESA report. The Phase 2 is very streamlined and serves only to answer the question “is there or is there not a release of hazardous materials at the site?” It may not address “how big is it?” To answer “how big is it” a Site Characterization or a “Phase 3” would be necessary.
When designing a Phase II ESA, the most important pieces of information necessary are:
- Areas of Concern
- Chemicals of Concern
- Local geology
- Site access issues
Drilling methods used most often during Phase II Environmental Testing projects:
- Push Probe
- Hollow Stem Auger
- Hand Auger
- Mud Rotary
- CPT Drilling
Other subsurface drilling technologies include; sonic drilling, telescope drilling, air rotary, and solid stem auger. When the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment is being done to investigate volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sampling for soil gas instead of, or in addition to, soil samples may be considered. Soil gas sampling is particularly advantageous in porous media such as sands.