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  Preliminary Environmental Site Screening

A Preliminary Environmental Site Screening (PESS) or Transaction Screening is a scaled-down version of a full Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), and is often used it as a first step in identifying potential environmental concerns which could trigger the more in-depth Phase I ESA. Unlike the Phase I ESA, a Transaction Screen does not meet the requirements of the EPA’s "All Appropriate Inquiry," and will not offer the user protection from CERCLA liability.

  The following changes have been made to the ASTM 1528 14e1 revised standard summarized by EDR:

The updated Transaction Screen Process provides increased guidance in a number of areas. Modifications worth mentioning include:

1. Emphasis on the applicability of the Transaction Screen process in cases where the user “wishes to conduct limited environmental due diligence (that is, less than a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment)” and is not seeking to qualify for CERCLA liability protection (Section 1.1).

2. Clarification that the Transaction Screen does not contemplate the level of site assessment provided by a Phase I environmental site assessment (E 1527-13) that seeks to identify “recognized environmental conditions” (Section 4.2.2).

3. Inclusion of historical aerial photographs as one of three sources of data for determining the historic uses of the property (along with fire insurance maps and local city directories), using an iterative process as follows:

“If reasonably ascertainable, one of three sources of historical data must be examined: fire insurance maps, local street directories or historical aerial photographs. If the first source examined yields insufficient information from the present back to 1940, then the second source, if reasonably ascertainable, must be selected and examined. If this source also yields insufficient information, the then the third source, if reasonably ascertainable, ust be examined. If all three sources yield insufficient information or are not reasonably ascertainable, lack of historical information is presumed to be a potential environmental concern subject to 5.6 through 5.7.” (Section 10.2.1).

4. Removal of language from the previous E 1528-06 that required explanation of any disparity between the fair market value and a lower purchase price (on the assumption that a below-market price may be indicative of the presence of contamination on the property). There was a consensus among E50 members that those conducting the Transaction Screen were not likely to possess the qualifications necessary for performing this comparison.

How much does a Transaction Screening Cost ?

The cost to perform a Transaction Screening is based on the location, size, and number of buildings on the Property and generally costs a fraction of a full Phase I ESA.

Please contact us by phone at 207-838-3168 to speak with a knowledgeable member of our team.

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