A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is a standardized process conducted to evaluate the environmental conditions of a property. While the basic principles and guidelines of a Phase I ESA are consistent across the United States, there are a few key differences between a Phase I ESA in Nashville, Tennessee, and a Phase I ESA in other parts of the country
- Asbestos: Asbestos-containing materials are not typically surveyed during a Phase I site inspection in Nashville, but suspect building materials may be noted. This is because asbestos is not considered to be a hazardous substance under Tennessee law.
- Regulatory Requirements: The regulatory requirements for Phase I ESAs in Nashville are more stringent than in some other parts of the country. For example, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) requires that all Phase I ESAs include a review of state environmental records.
- Industry Standards: The industry standards for Phase I ESAs in Nashville are more rigorous than in some other parts of the country. For example, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has developed a specific standard for Phase I ESAs in Tennessee (ASTM E-1527-21).
These differences can make it more challenging to conduct a Phase I ESA in Nashville than in other parts of the country. However, by working with an experienced environmental consultant, you can be sure that your Phase I ESA is conducted in accordance with the highest standards.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind when conducting a Phase I ESA in Nashville:
- The Property’s History: The property’s history is one of the most important factors in determining whether there is a potential for environmental contamination. Be sure to gather as much information as possible about the property’s past uses, including any industrial or commercial activities that may have taken place on the site.
- The Surrounding Environment: The surrounding environment can also play a role in determining the potential for environmental contamination. Be sure to consider the presence of any potential sources of contamination, such as industrial facilities, landfills, or Superfund sites.
- The Regulatory Environment: The regulatory environment in Nashville can be complex. Be sure to consult with an environmental attorney to ensure that your Phase I ESA complies with all applicable laws and regulations.
By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your Phase I ESA is conducted in a thorough and professional manner.
Nashville has several unique environmental factors that can affect how Phase I assessments are handled:
- Nashville is considered a high radon zone, identified as Zone 1 by the EPA.
- Nashville had a major flood in 2010.
- Drinking water in Nashville comes from surface water, the Cumberland River, provided by Metro Water Services.
- Shallow bedrock is found in the Nashville area. Bedrock is limestone and shale. Soils are typically clayey.
- Soil throughout much of Tennessee has naturally high arsenic.
- The Printer’s Alley area of Nashville was historically developed with printing facilities and later was developed for adult entertainment.
- Parts of downtown Nashville are still serviced by piped steam and cooling water provided by Nashville District Energy System Services.
- Nashville historically had manufactured gas facilities in which coal gas was produced.
- UST and DOR file reviews are simple to obtain within the State of Tennessee through the TDEC public records request portal, and many of the permits for a property (at least those within relatively recent years) are readily available with the click of a button on the Nashville Planning Department GIS website – you just must be patient while the documents load.
Hiring an experienced professional for your commercial real estate due diligence is important.