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Phase 1 Environmental Assessment in the USA including enhanced services at no additional charge in Houston and all of Harris County, Galveston, Beaumont, Port Arthur and all flood areas.    

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In spite of everything, most sites will "pass" environmental assessment

In spite of everthing most sites will "pass" environmental assessment.

Houston lies at the center of the nation’s oil and chemical industry and is home to almost 500 industrial sites. There are more than two dozen severely contaminated Superfund sites. Damaged refineries and other oil facilities released millions of pounds of hazardous substances into the air. Small and large quantities of hazardous substances spilled and combined and flowed in every direction. When the flood waters receded a lot of that contamination was left behind with impact or potential impact to a majority of sites.

And in spite of all that, most sites can still “pass” Phase 1 Environmental Assessment. The majority of sites have contamination and/or are at increased risk of known or suspected contamination on other sites within and even beyond standard search distances. On the whole and on the average, new contamination on sites will not meet the definition of recognized environmental condition. It’s still necessary to know about it and assess it to determine it does not constitute recognized environmental condition. Likewise, known and suspected and flood-borne contamination on other many other sites within and beyond standard search distances must be investigated to eliminate or reduce the uncertainty of adverse impact to a subject property from others.

Most sites can still “pass” Phase 1 Environmental Assessment. It’s a lot more work for the Environmental Professional. When floodwaters recede there’s a tendency to assume any potential environmental impact receeds with them. That’s an incorrect and dangerous assumption for many, many sites, but for the majority of sites the lasting environmental impact will be negligible.

The problem is knowing which is which. Houston and Harris County is home to almost 500 industrial sites and more than two dozen Superfund sites and so environmental risks from flooding in Houston far exceeds that of every other U.S. metro area. As a result of this flood event some sites certainly have recognized environmental condition now they did not have before the flood, but the majority of sites do not.

Phase 1 Environmental Assessment is not designed to determine if a site is contaminated or at risk of contamination. It’s certain that every site everywhere is contaminated and/or at risk of contamination. The uncertainty is the degree of risk. “Phase 1 Environmental Assessment cannot wholly eliminate uncertainty regarding the potential for recognized environmental conditions in connection with a property” (ASTM E1527-13) but is designed to eliminate a most of the uncertainty.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and because of the vastly greater number of potential risks in Houston and Harris County than elsewhere, there is far more uncertainty to eliminate than ever before. Which means for the foreseeable future Environmental Professionals will be working harder and longer than ever before – more investigation, longer assessments, more detailed reports – to produce “clean” Phase 1 Environmental Assessment reports.

I’ll be working harder and longer and because of that most sites will “pass” environmental Assessment.

EJD offers more investigation, longer assessments, more detailed reports at no additional charge.


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Architects engineers, builders and inspectors look at buildings in slightly different ways. Drawing on his university degrees, industry training and over 31 years experience in all four disciplines Edward Devine developed a proprietary inspection and assessment protocol that considers property condition from all four perspectives.

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