Environmental Due-Diligence

Peer and Desk Top Reviews

Fulcrum’s team of experts are at your disposal to review or ask of a second opinion on another consultant’s report or work scope. We at Fulcrum pride ourselves on honesty and integrity when providing a scope of work, or providing opinion of others work.

It is important to make sure the work the client is paying for is honest and accurate. Therefore, many banks utilize our services to review another consultant’s work if they are not an approved vendor, or if they simply desire a second opinion.

Fulcrum can provide a peer and/or desktop review for a minimal cost. Fulcrum can also provide a Desktop Report, which differs from a peer review in that we can provide a pre-screen to evaluate environmental risk on a prospect property for our clients. Fulcrum will evaluate what level of due-diligence the client prefers, and present options to review any of the following items presented below:

Historical records consisting of one or any combination of the following:

  • Historical Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps; Aerial Photographs; City Directories; Building Permits; Tax Records; Title Reports; or Topographic Maps.
  • Environmental Database Review, which consists of ordering a government database report that meets ASTM Standards, or customized search radius of client’s choice.
  • Review and summary of another environmental consultant’s report(s).

Records Search Risk Assessments (RSRA)

An RSRA Report is typically performed for a lender as a pre-screening tool. These reports are also accepted by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for properties that fall into a “low risk” category. An RSRA must have a completed environmental questionnaire by the property owner, or person(s) most familiar with the property use and history in order to be acceptable. The benefit to a RSRA is that they are inexpensive, and can be completed without having to visit the site in most cases.

Fulcrum completes RSRAs throughout the U.S. in a very inexpensive and timely matter. An additional benefit is that in the event the property in the RSRA Report is deemed as “high risk”, Fulcrum can credit the cost of the RSRA Report towards a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report.

Fulcrum will evaluate a property as follows in an RSRA Report:

  • Determine if the property is at a low or acceptable risk
  • If determined as high risk, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is often triggered, which provides the additional due-diligence and research necessary to determine if additional assessment is warranted.

Records Search Risk Assessments (RSRA)

An RSRA Report is typically performed for a lender as a pre-screening tool. These reports are also accepted by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for properties that fall into a “low risk” category. An RSRA must have a completed environmental questionnaire by the property owner, or person(s) most familiar with the property use and history in order to be acceptable. The benefit to a RSRA is that they are inexpensive, and can be completed without having to visit the site in most cases.

Fulcrum completes RSRAs throughout the U.S. in a very inexpensive and timely matter. An additional benefit is that in the event the property in the RSRA Report is deemed as “high risk”, Fulcrum can credit the cost of the RSRA Report towards a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report.

Fulcrum will evaluate a property as follows in an RSRA Report:

  • Determine if the property is at a low or acceptable risk
  • If determined as high risk, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is often triggered, which provides the additional due-diligence and research necessary to determine if additional assessment is warranted.

Transaction Screen Assessment (TSA)

A Transaction Screen Assessment, also often referred to as an Environmental Transaction Screen, is essentially a limited Phase I Environmental Assessment Report, which is used to assist in identifying Potential Environmental Concerns (PECs) associated with properties. The term Potential Environmental Concerns means the possible presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate the possibility of an existing release, a past release, or a threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the property or into the ground, groundwater, or surface water of the property.

The Transaction Screen Assessment is performed per the requirements of the ASTM 1528-06 Standard Practice for Limited Environmental Due-Diligence. The Transaction Screen Assessment is the most popular accepted limited product performed and accepted by lenders. However, it should be noted that a Transaction Screen Assessment does not carry the weight of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report in that it does not meet the requirements of the EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiry, and will not offer the user protection from CERCLA Liability.

Below are a list of steps performed when completing a Transaction Screen Assessment:

  • Research and obtain major historical sources consisting of any three of the following (historical aerial photographs, topographic maps, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, City Directories, Title report, and/or Building records)
  • Perform a site inspection of the subject property
  • Conduct an interview along with completed environmental questionnaire with owner, property manager, or one with confirmed historical knowledge of the subject property
  • Complete Transaction Assessment Report to determine the presence of PECs, and if the subject property is at low or high risk
  • Fulcrum can apply the cost of a Transaction Screen Assessment to the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment report should the user chose to upgrade

Fulcrum performs Transaction Screen Assessments throughout the U.S. Many times a client will consult with Fulcrum to determine if a Transaction Screen Assessment will be the best fit for a particular property type. For example, for property types that are listed on the NAICS list, the SBA dictates that the user must begin with a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report. It is always a good idea to consult first with a trusted partner as Fulcrum can evaluate the property type and determine if going straight to a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report is the better option for a particular deal.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Reports

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is common thread and staple involving a property transaction. The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is used to identify any potential environmental risks associated with the subject property, and to protect a potential buyer, lender, investors, or other active interested parties on the transaction from any environmental liability. A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment report is the most common report typically required by a lender who is involved in the financing of a property.

Fulcrum performs all Phase I Environmental Site Assessment with seasoned Environmental Professionals who meet the requirements of the EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) Rule. The AAI Rule was set forth to provide specific scope requirements for a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report to meet the requirements of CERCLA’s innocent landowner defense. Fulcrum’s reports are generally accepted by most lenders throughout the nation as Fulcrum’s team are more than qualified to meet the criteria set forth by lending institutions.

Fulcrum also performs all Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Reports to the latest revised standards set forth by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) (ASTM E1527-13), which took into effect on November 6, 2013, and replaced the previous standard (ASTM E1527-05). The changes include the following within the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report:

  • Vapor Migration Potential-The risk of vapor intrusion from subsurface contamination originating from onsite or offsite has been a question challenged for some time, but was previously subject to opinion of the environmental professional to include in the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report. The latest ASTM revision specifically requires the Environmental Professional to determine if the subject property would meet the criteria to be considered a vapor encroachment condition. Fulcrum’s team of environmental professionals are experts in this field, and will determine if a vapor encroachment condition is or is not likely to exist at the subject property.
  • Agency File Reviews-The Environmental Professional must discuss all available regulatory file reviews within the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report. A stricter standard is now set on the environmental professional to conduct regulatory file reviews.
  • Revised Definition(s)-The term “Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition” is now used within a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report. A controlled recognized environmental condition is a subset to the recognized environmental condition category.

The ASTM definition of CREC in the E1527-13 standard is as follows: “a recognized environmental condition resulting from a past release of hazardous substances or petroleum products that has been addressed to the satisfaction of the applicable regulatory authority (for example, as evidenced by the issuance of a no further action letter or equivalent, or meeting risk-based criteria established by regulatory authority), with hazardous substances or petroleum products allowed to remain in place subject to the implementation of required controls (for example, property use restrictions, activity and use limitations, institutional controls, or engineering controls).”

This discussion is generally found within the executive summary section of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report.

Fulcrum performs Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Reports frequently throughout the country. By having qualified Environmental Professionals in strategic areas throughout the U.S. gives Fulcrum an edge to our competition as our Environmental Professionals are more familiar with local geography and local regulatory authority.

Phase II Site Assessments

When a Phase I Assessment identifies a potential contamination risk which should be investigated in greater depth, Fulcrum will perform a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Report. The Phase II Environmental Site Assessment is used to confirm the presence of hazardous materials on a subject property, helping protect a potential buyer, lender, investor, or other interested party on the transaction from environmental liability. Each property is unique and requires specific sampling and laboratory analysis, based upon the issue identified. Some of the tests that may be performed include:

  • surficial soil and water samples
  • subsurface soil borings
  • groundwater monitoring well installation, sampling, and analysis (may be appropriate on neighboring properties as well to determine the presence of contamination)
  • drum sampling (if any were left on the property)
  • sampling of dry wells, floor drains and catch basins
  • transformer/capacitor sampling for Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
  • geophysical testing for buried tanks and drums
  • testing of underground storage tanks

Depending on the results of the samples, Fulcrum’s Phase II Environmental Site Assessment will outline additional site investigation needs, and potential remedial actions that may be required to clean up the property.

Fulcrum understands that hiring a firm with insufficient experience or training can only compound your risk if it fails to provide you with accurate data, so we pride ourselves in providing the highest quality work in the marketplace.

Geophysical Evaluations

Fulcrum performs Geophysical Evaluations to help organizations develop maps of parcels which identify areas favorable for the accumulation of hydrocarbons. In a Geophysical Evaluation, Fulcrum will analyze Geological and Geophysical surveys and technical information to develop a basic knowledge of the geologic history of an area and its effects on hydrocarbon or strategic/critical minerals generation, distribution, and accumulation within the planning area. This analysis enables Fulcrum to provide a report mapping hydrocarbon probabilities for clients.

CEQA and NEPA Assessments

In 1970, President Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Governor Reagan signed the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). These laws require Federal, state, and local agencies to analyze and disclose the potential environmental impacts of their decisions, and, in the case of CEQA, to minimize significant adverse effects to the extent feasible. These agencies often need help analyzing the impacts and devising plans to minimize impact. Fulcrum assists municipalities and other government agencies with their CEQA and NEPA needs, by providing assessments which identify the potential environmental impacts of their decisions and when appropriate identify paths to minimizing these effects.

CEQA and NEPA Assessments

In 1970, President Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Governor Reagan signed the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). These laws require Federal, state, and local agencies to analyze and disclose the potential environmental impacts of their decisions, and, in the case of CEQA, to minimize significant adverse effects to the extent feasible. These agencies often need help analyzing the impacts and devising plans to minimize impact. Fulcrum assists municipalities and other government agencies with their CEQA and NEPA needs, by providing assessments which identify the potential environmental impacts of their decisions and when appropriate identify paths to minimizing these effects.

Portfolio and Master Environmental Site Assessments

Some clients have a portfolio of sites they need assessed. Fulcrum can provide Portfolio or Master Environmental Site Assessments where Fulcrum provides reports across a portfolio of sites.

Vapor Encroachment Assessments and Modeling

A Site Assessment sometimes reveals the likely presence of vapors in the sub-surface of a target property caused by the release of vapors from contaminated soil or groundwater wither on or near the targeted property. In these cases, ASTM E1527-13 requires assessing the potential for hazardous vapors to migrate onto or within the target property. To assist clients in assessing a Vapor Encroachment Condition, Fulcrum will perform a Vapor Encroachment Assessment according to Guide E2600 standards and if necessary model projected vapor encroachment to help a client ensure that all appropriate inquiry standards are met.

Vapor Encroachment Assessments and Modeling

A Site Assessment sometimes reveals the likely presence of vapors in the sub-surface of a target property caused by the release of vapors from contaminated soil or groundwater wither on or near the targeted property. In these cases, ASTM E1527-13 requires assessing the potential for hazardous vapors to migrate onto or within the target property. To assist clients in assessing a Vapor Encroachment Condition, Fulcrum will perform a Vapor Encroachment Assessment according to Guide E2600 standards and if necessary model projected vapor encroachment to help a client ensure that all appropriate inquiry standards are met.

Methane Testing

Many municipalities require methane testing on sites. Fulcrum has experience providing methane testing and can provide and perform the testing necessary to meet the various municipal regulations. Not sure if your project will need it, contact us and let one of our skilled engineers help you understand whether testing is required on your site.

Human Health Risk Assessment

When organizations want to understand the nature and probability of adverse health effects in humans who may be exposed to environmental stressors, such as chemicals and radiation, a Human Health Risk Assessment is performed. The common questions which are addressed in a Human Health Risk Assessment are:

  • What types of health problems may be caused by environmental stressors?
  • What is the chance that people will experience health problems when exposed to different levels of environmental stressors?
  • Is there a level below which some chemicals don’t pose a human health risk?
  • What environmental stressors are people exposed to, at what levels and for how long?
  • Are some people more likely to be susceptible to environmental stressors because of factors such as age, genetics, pre-existing health conditions, ethnic practices, gender, etc.?
  • Are some people more likely to be exposed to environmental stressors because of factors such as where they work, where they play, what they like to eat, etc.?

Human Health Risk Assessments includes 4 basic steps:

  • Hazard Identification- Examines whether a stressor has the potential to cause harm to humans and/or ecological systems, and if so, under what circumstances.
  • Dose-Response Assessment- Examines the numerical relationship between exposure and effects.
  • Exposure Assessment- Examines what is known about the frequency, timing, and levels of contact with a stressor.
  • Risk Characterization- Examines how well the data support conclusions about the nature and extent of the risk from exposure to environmental stressors.

Human Health Risk Assessment

When organizations want to understand the nature and probability of adverse health effects in humans who may be exposed to environmental stressors, such as chemicals and radiation, a Human Health Risk Assessment is performed. The common questions which are addressed in a Human Health Risk Assessment are:

  • What types of health problems may be caused by environmental stressors?
  • What is the chance that people will experience health problems when exposed to different levels of environmental stressors?
  • Is there a level below which some chemicals don’t pose a human health risk?
  • What environmental stressors are people exposed to, at what levels and for how long?
  • Are some people more likely to be susceptible to environmental stressors because of factors such as age, genetics, pre-existing health conditions, ethnic practices, gender, etc.?
  • Are some people more likely to be exposed to environmental stressors because of factors such as where they work, where they play, what they like to eat, etc.?

Human Health Risk Assessments includes 4 basic steps:

  • Hazard Identification- Examines whether a stressor has the potential to cause harm to humans and/or ecological systems, and if so, under what circumstances.
  • Dose-Response Assessment- Examines the numerical relationship between exposure and effects.
  • Exposure Assessment- Examines what is known about the frequency, timing, and levels of contact with a stressor.
  • Risk Characterization- Examines how well the data support conclusions about the nature and extent of the risk from exposure to environmental stressors.

Environmental Expert Witness

When cases need unbiased third party opinion, Fulcrum can provide its unbiased expertise. Contact us for more information.

Compliance Audits

Fulcrum provides comprehensive reviews of an organization’s adherence to regulatory guidelines. Seeking a Compliance Audit- Contact us and Fulcrum will tailor a plan to meet your needs.

Compliance Audits

Fulcrum provides comprehensive reviews of an organization’s adherence to regulatory guidelines. Seeking a Compliance Audit- Contact us and Fulcrum will tailor a plan to meet your needs.

Telecom Assessments

Fulcrum can provide Telecom Assessments for clients who are seeking them.

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