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Phase II by any name is still Soil Testing

Entry by JoeDerhake


What is the industry standard name for a Phase II?  Candidate names:  Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, Phase II Subsurface Investigation, Phase II Environmental Testing, Soil Testing?     Does it even matter?   Well, perhaps not much, but I think we are better off to use a common vocabulary.


According to ASTM E1903-97 (2002), Phase IIs are called, “Phase II Environmental Site Assessment “ and are conducted “to evaluate the recognized environmental conditions identified in the Phase I ESA or transaction screen process for the purpose of providing sufficient information regarding the nature and extent of contamination to assist in making informed business decisions about the property; and where applicable, providing the level of knowledge necessary to satisfy the innocent purchaser defense under CERCLA”.


I prefer the term Phase II Subsurface Investigation over Phase II Environmental Site Assessment as Phase I ESAs and Phase IIs are very different scope of work.   I like to give simple definitions to clients:  a Phase I ESA is basically all the reasonable research that you can do on a site; a Phase II is drilling holes in the ground.  

Can asbestos testing, indoor air testing, or stormwater testing qualify as a Phase II?   These activities are often done as a follow-up to a Phase I and I have seen these activities called a Phase II; however, I think no.   Our clients would be mislead if we called these activities as Phase IIs—call them something else.


What do you think?  Am I on the right track? 


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