Environmental Due Diligence in Austin, Texas
Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are critical for identifying potential environmental risks and liabilities associated with a property. The first step in the environmental due diligence process is the Phase I ESA, which involves a thorough investigation of a property’s historical use and current conditions to determine the likelihood of environmental contamination. The Austin market, like any other market, has unique features that can affect the Phase I ESA process. However, in this blog, we will focus on why a Phase I ESA is different in the Austin market compared to other markets.
Austin has its own database for Historic USTs
USTs, or Underground Storage Tanks, are a common source of environmental contamination. While the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) maintains a database of registered USTs, Austin has its own database for Historic USTs, which is separate from the TCEQ UST database list. This database can help environmental consultants identify historical USTs onsite that may have been removed or abandoned. It is often made up of USTs that were documented in old city meeting minutes. This unique database provides valuable information for conducting Phase I ESAs in Austin.
The City of Austin maintains a great Property Profile tool
The City of Austin maintains a Property Profile tool, which is a one-stop-shop for environmental consultants conducting Phase I ESAs. This tool allows environmental consultants to easily search for properties and quickly jump to the Appraisal District property information and the building permit history for that site. This provides valuable information about the property’s history, use, and potential environmental concerns.
The TCEQ Headquarters are in Austin
The TCEQ Headquarters are located in Austin, which means the local office has easy access to review files in person if the files are available. This provides a significant advantage for environmental consultants conducting Phase I ESAs in Austin, as they can easily access relevant information and documents related to the property.
CAPCOG provides a map where we can search and find information on Closed Landfills
The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) provides a map where environmental consultants can search and find information on Closed Landfills. This map provides valuable information for identifying potential environmental risks associated with properties in Austin. Closed landfills can often be a significant source of environmental contamination, and having access to this information is critical for conducting thorough Phase I ESAs.
Austin is going through a development boom
Austin is going through a development boom, which means the city is changing and growing rapidly. This growth has resulted in a surge of construction and redevelopment, which has significant implications for environmental consultants conducting Phase I ESAs. However, environmental consultants who have been working in the Austin market for a long time have gained familiarity with how the city is changing and growing. They have first-hand knowledge of what properties were used for historically, which is critical for identifying potential environmental risks associated with those properties.
In conclusion, conducting a Phase I ESA in Austin requires a unique set of skills and resources that may not be required in other markets. The city’s unique databases, maps, and tools, as well as its rapid development and growth, make it an exciting market for environmental consultants. However, it also presents unique challenges that require specialized knowledge and expertise. Environmental consultants who are familiar with the Austin market and have the necessary skills and resources can provide valuable insights and guidance to clients looking to conduct Phase I ESAs in the city.