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Why is a Phase 1 ESA different in St. Louis, Missouri?

A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is a standard process conducted to evaluate the environmental condition of a property. While the basic principles and guidelines for Phase 1 ESAs are generally consistent across the United States, there can be regional variations due to factors such as local regulations, geological conditions, historical land use, and environmental concerns.

In the case of St. Louis, Missouri, there are a few reasons why a Phase 1 ESA might have some unique considerations:

  1. Industrial Legacy: St. Louis has a significant industrial history, with a variety of manufacturing facilities, chemical plants, and other industrial operations. Many of these industries have left a legacy of potential environmental contamination, such as soil or groundwater pollution from hazardous substances. Therefore, a Phase 1 ESA in St. Louis would likely pay particular attention to historical land uses and potential sources of contamination associated with past industrial activities.
  2. Underground Storage Tanks (USTs): Like many cities, St. Louis has a history of underground storage tanks (USTs) used for storing petroleum products. USTs can pose a risk of leaks and soil or groundwater contamination. Therefore, a Phase 1 ESA in St. Louis would typically involve evaluating the presence, location, and compliance of any USTs on the property, as well as assessing the potential impact of nearby USTs on the subject property.
  3. Regulatory Compliance: St. Louis may have specific local or state regulations pertaining to environmental assessments and remediation. These regulations may impose additional requirements or standards for Phase 1 ESAs, such as reporting formats, specific contaminants of concern, or the need to address certain environmental risks that are more prevalent in the region. Consultants conducting Phase 1 ESAs in St. Louis would need to be familiar with these regulations and incorporate them into their assessments.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements of a Phase 1 ESA can vary depending on the circumstances of each individual property and the professional judgment of the environmental consultant conducting the assessment. If you need more detailed or specific information about Phase 1 ESAs in St. Louis, it would be advisable to consult with an environmental professional or the local regulatory authorities.

Local experts weigh in on why St. Louis’s Phase I ESAs are unique:

  1. Too Many Municipalities: The vast number of municipalities located within St. Louis County are estimated to be around 90 or more, making information gathering that much more challenging.
  2. Boundary Lines: St. Louis City is not part of St. Louis County. It is a completely separate municipality. St. Louis City is not part of any county.
  3. A Dirty City: St. Louis is an old city so there’s always going to be something dirty on your site or next to your site to investigate.
  4. Freedom of Information Act requests (FOIAs): For some reason, St. Louis City is still working in the past when it comes to Freedom of Information Act requests (FOIAs). Assessors are required to mail in the payment check and then physically go down to city hall to pick up the files you requested.

Hiring an experienced professional for your commercial real estate due diligence is important.