For all its popularity as a cheerful beach state, Florida can be surprisingly filthy below the ground. In fact, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the USEPA will cheerfully list out the several hundreds of contaminated properties spread across the state.
These may be caused due to industrial pollutants, fuel leaks, damaged septic tanks, hazardous oil or gas stations, and plenty more. Surprisingly, not all contaminated properties have been comprehensively identified. And yet, if you do end up owning such real estate, even without your knowledge, you will still be held responsible for any land remediation, cleanup, or damage mitigation associated with it, after you purchase the property.
For this reason, an increasing number of banks across the state protect their investments by insisting on a Phase-1 Environmental Study for loans/mortgages associated with Florida properties.
What Does the Study Address?
A Phase-1 study is visual in nature and essentially addresses REC – recognized environmental conditions – associated with your land, based on a thorough investigation conducted by a certified environmental service company (like EPAC Environmental Services, Inc.). This will include understanding:
- Historical records like original plans, aerial maps, identification of key buildings, fuel tanks, etc. that may impact the quality of the soil/land.
- Any incidents reported of hazardous waste associated with the land and properties within a quarter-mile (such as oil spills, etc.). For this, the investigating expert may need to interview previous property owners and surrounding neighbors.
- A visual inspection of the land itself, including interior and exterior of buildings, quality of soil, and any potential safety hazards that can be visually noted.
What Next after Phase 1
The Phase-1 inspection is visual only, without any technical tests or sampling that requires special equipment. However, certified environmental service companies can use this first-level information to point out REC red-flags, if any, in the resultant report. In this case, you may be advised to perform a more detailed Phase-2 study, which may or may not lead to any land remediation/damage control.
In the absence of clear RECs, a sign-off on the Phase-1 study will ensure that the bank treats your property as safe, and free of known environmental hazards. In some cases, the bank may refuse loans/mortgage on your property without a successful Phase 1 Study sign-off (that is, with RECs).
On the other hand, a successful sign-off can also increase the value of your real estate. Either way, it is always advisable (although not always mandated) for potential property owners to conduct a Phase-1 study before investment.
Find a Certified Expert for a Phase-1 Environmental Study in Florida With EPAC Environmental Services, Inc.
EPAC’s services in the state of Florida include conducting Phase 1 studies for your property. Our certified team of experts will ensure that the whole process is stress-free for you, as we walk you through the details of inspection, timelines, and possible outcomes. When you sign up with EPAC, you can rest assured of signing up for a hassle-free experience. To know more, complete our contact form or call us at (954) 974-7055.