Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are conducted in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in accordance with the ASTM E1527-21 standard. However, there are some specific differences in how Phase I ESAs are conducted in Fort Lauderdale that are worth noting:
- History of industrial activity: Fort Lauderdale has a long history of industrial activity, which means that there is a greater potential for environmental contamination on properties in the area. As a result, Phase I ESAs in Fort Lauderdale typically involve a more extensive review of historical land use records than Phase I ESAs in other parts of Florida.
- Proximity to water bodies: Fort Lauderdale is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, and there are many canals and waterways in the area. This means that there is a greater potential for environmental contamination from spills or leaks of hazardous materials into water bodies. As a result, Phase I ESAs in Fort Lauderdale typically include a more extensive review of records related to water quality and water bodies.
- Regulations: Fort Lauderdale is subject to a number of local, state, and federal environmental regulations. As a result, Phase I ESAs in Fort Lauderdale must be conducted in a way that complies with these regulations.
Overall, Phase I ESAs in Fort Lauderdale are more complex and require a more comprehensive review of historical records than Phase I ESAs in other parts of Florida. This is due to the area’s history of industrial activity, proximity to water bodies, and regulatory environment.
Here are some of the specific steps involved in a Phase I ESA in Fort Lauderdale:
- Review of historical land use records: The environmental consultant will review historical land use records for the property, including zoning maps, aerial photographs, and property tax records. This will help to identify any past uses of the property that may have involved hazardous materials.
- Review of environmental regulatory records: The environmental consultant will review environmental regulatory records for the property, including permits, inspections, and enforcement actions. This will help to identify any potential environmental problems with the property.
- Site reconnaissance: The environmental consultant will visit the property and conduct a visual inspection of the site. This will help to identify any potential sources of contamination, such as leaking underground storage tanks or contaminated soil.
- Interviews with knowledgeable individuals: The environmental consultant will interview individuals who are knowledgeable about the property, such as previous owners, tenants, and neighbors. This will help to gather additional information about the property’s history and any potential environmental problems.
- Report preparation: The environmental consultant will prepare a report that summarizes the findings of the Phase I ESA. The report will identify any potential environmental problems with the property and recommend any necessary follow-up actions.
Local experts weigh in on what makes Phase I ESAs unique in Fort Lauderdale:
- If the site is within the city limits of Ft. Lauderdale, contending with the groundwater plume stemming from Port Everglades can have wide-spread varying impacts across the area.
- Broward county sites (like Ft. Lauderdale) require one to be familiar with the FDEP and BCDEP databases in order to properly research sites. While ERIS gives links to the FDEP database documents, the BCDEP database must be independently searched. The county database has more or different documents than the state database, especially in reference to drycleaners.
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIAs) requests for the City of Ft. Lauderdale must be emailed to a list of certain city employees, as there is no central online portal for FOIA requests. Through trial and error, as well as the years’ experience having worked in the city, experts will often compile a list to assist if someone is trying to ghostwrite a report for a Ft. Lauderdale site, or they have difficulty in requesting FOIAs.
- A common occurrence unique to Ft. Lauderdale is when a property is on a major waterway, ERIS reports may have dozens of Emergency Response Notification System (ERNS) or Spills listings for the subject property and adjoining properties. This is because people will notice a sheen on the water and call to report them in case, they are a sign of a spill, and the entry made regarding the sheen will be attributed to the nearest address or the address called from. On heavily trafficked public waterways this happens very often, so you end up with dozens of calls made over decades, where the call does not lead to any further action and may have 38 database listings for your subject property with no additional information.
A Phase I ESA is an important tool for identifying environmental risks associated with a property. If you are considering purchasing or developing property in Fort Lauderdale, it is important to have a Phase I ESA conducted to help you make an informed decision.