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Why Phase I ESAs Are Different in the Austin, Texas

Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are performed to evaluate the potential environmental contamination of a property. The process typically includes a review of historical documents, site inspections, and interviews with knowledgeable parties to determine whether a property has any recognized environmental conditions (RECs) that may impact the use or value of the property.

In Austin, Texas, Phase I ESAs are typically performed in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard E1527-21, which outlines the process for conducting a Phase I ESA. The ASTM standard is widely recognized as the industry standard for Phase I ESAs in the United States, including in Austin. However, local regulations and guidelines may also apply, and it is important to consult with a qualified environmental professional familiar with the requirements in Austin and the surrounding area.

Phase I environmental site assessments (ESAs) are conducted to identify potential or existing environmental contamination at a property. A Phase I ESA aims to assess the likelihood that a site has or had contaminants that could impact the soil, groundwater, or air quality and to identify potential sources of contamination.

Phase I ESAs in Austin, Texas, would follow the same general process as Phase I ESAs in other locations. The assessment would involve reviewing available information and a site visit to gather data and assess the property’s environmental conditions. The scope of the assessment would depend on the specific site and the purpose of the assessment.
During the assessment, the environmental consultant conducting the Phase I ESA would typically review available information about the site, such as historical land use, potential sources of contamination, and any previous environmental assessments or remediation efforts. The consultant would also conduct a site visit to gather additional information about the property, including visual inspections and possibly sampling soil, water, and air samples.

Based on the information gathered during the assessment, the consultant would prepare a report summarizing the findings and conclusions of the assessment, including any potential environmental concerns or liabilities. The report would inform decisions about the property, such as whether additional assessment or remediation is needed.  

Top Reasons: 

  1. Austin has its own database for Historic underground storage tanks (USTs), which is separate from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ) UST database list, that can help identify historical USTs onsite. This database is often made up of USTs that were documented in old city meeting minutes. 
  2. The City of Austin maintains a great Property Profile tool, where one can easily search for properties and quickly jump to the Appraisal District property information and the building permit history for that site. 
  3. The TCEQ headquarters is in Austin, so the local office has easy access to review files in person if the files are available. 
  4. Capital Area Planning Council of Governments (CAPCOG) provides a map where we can search and find information on Closed Landfills ( 
  5. Austin is going through a development boom, so our 11-year Partner Office in Austin has given us familiarity with how the City is changing and growing, and we have first-hand knowledge of what properties were used historically 

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