Real Estate Environmental Risk Management

Environmental Due Diligence for Individual Properties and Portfolios

AKT Peerless is committed to providing quality, streamlined, and cost effective environmental due diligence services.  We are positioned to support every type of real estate transaction, throughout the Midwest, from individual property transactions to multi-property portfolio transactions.  AKT Peerless understands the needs of our clients and provides them with the information necessary to make an educated investment decision prior to redevelopment, acquisition, or foreclosure.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is an important part of the due-diligence process prior to property acquisition, redevelopment, or foreclosure.  AKT Peerless identifies and evaluates potential environmental liabilities associated with the current and historical use of property, which if undiscovered could present costly dilemmas for our clients.  We present our findings in a concise, factual, and confidential report without speculation.  AKT Peerless conducts these assessments to meet or exceed industry standards, federal liability protection, and specific lender requirements.

Our team of Environmental Professionals specialize in providing comprehensive assessments in accordance with (1) ASTM International’s E1527 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process,” which define good commercial and customary practice for conducting a Phase I ESA, and establishing “due-diligence,” and (2) the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 40 CFR Part 312 “All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) Rule.”

AKT Peerless understands the value of time in real estate transactions. We regularly update our clients during assessments so that business decisions can be made in real time. AKT Peerless provides recommendations that allow our clients to calculate potential environmental liabilities.  If the results of a Phase I ESA indicate that additional investigation of an environmental concern is needed, a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment may be warranted.

Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

Our Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are designed to meet our client’s needs and evaluate the materiality of the environmental concern identified during the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.  A typical Phase II investigation may include collecting soil, groundwater, and/or soil gas samples in the area of most likely impact. More involved investigations may include geophysical surveys to evaluate potential abandoned underground storage tanks and utilities, hydro-geologic evaluations, vapor intrusions investigations, and contaminant migration surveys.

Our team designs comprehensive investigations in accordance with ASTM International’s E1903 “Standard Practice for Environmental Assessments: Phase II Environmental Site Assessments: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process.” The goal of our investigations is to meet the needs of our client’s, fulfill lender requirements, foster liability protection, calculate risk, and identify potential continuing obligations for every property we assess.

Limited Environmental Reviews

AKT Peerless understands that certain property transactions do not require the full spectrum of environmental assessment in order to be successful. Many lenders utilize a limited evaluation of properties that meet certain criteria (e.g., value of the loan or the NAICS code associated with the use of the property). In these circumstances, a Limited Environmental Review may be appropriate.

AKT Peerless designs specific scopes of service that meet the needs of our clients. The goal of a Limited Environmental Review is to gather enough information necessary for those parties to make an informed decision regarding the transaction at a limited cost. The Limited Environmental Review is often used when the known uses of the property are considered “low risk”. Our Limited Environmental Reviews may consist of an Environmental Transaction Screen Assessment (ASTM Standard E1528), Desktop Review, Peer Review, or SBA Records Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA). 

Although Limited Environmental Reviews can be cost-effective tools, this scope of services may not be appropriate for certain property transactions. AKT Peerless will recommend the appropriate scope for your transaction.

Lender Risk Reviews

We’ve been successfully providing our clients with detailed and thorough environmental risk review services since 2004. Lenders can count on us to clearly describe the environmental condition of commercial and industrial properties for loan originations, property acquisitions, refinance, participation loans, and foreclosures so that calculated environmental risk determinations can be made.

With a unique perspective honed through years of continuous service to banks and other lenders and unsurpassed technical knowledge, we save time and money by identifying potential liabilities that may not be readily obvious. Understanding client needs is of the utmost importance. Many lender clients have taken advantage of our expertise and retained us to develop or revise their internal environmental risk policies. 

Baseline Environmental Assessments and Liability Protection

When purchasing contaminated property, new owners and operators need to consider developing and maintaining an exemption from liability for existing contamination. Liability protection may be established by conducting appropriate environmental due diligence to demonstrate innocent landowner, contiguous property owner, and bona fide prospective purchaser defenses as described in the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). 

Liability protections can also be established at the state level through programs or agreements with state regulatory authorities. For example, in Michigan, an entity can buy, lease, or foreclose on contaminated property and be protected from liability for cleanup of existing contamination by conducting a Baseline Environmental Assessment (BEA) and disclosing the BEA to EGLE and the subsequent purchaser or transferee as allowed under Part 201 and Part 213 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), Public Act 451, 1994, as amended.

AKT Peerless staff trained in liability protection strategies can help establish the appropriate approach for your property acquisition to ensure project success. 

Site Investigations

Site characterization is necessary to evaluate the existence of subsurface contamination or to define the extent of known contamination.  Having investigated several thousand sites regulated under various federal and state programs across the country, AKT Peerless has the experience to deliver effective solutions for environmentally distressed properties. 

Using state-of-the-art data collection and analysis techniques, our experienced environmental professionals develop innovative solutions to achieve our client’s objectives.  Our staff excels in a broad range of subsurface and hydrogeologic investigation methods including:

Key services include:

Due Care and Continuing Obligations

Owners and operators of contaminated property have certain obligations – often referred to as due care obligations – to prevent unacceptable exposure, avoid exacerbation, notify appropriate third parties, maintain engineering controls, and assure compliance with land use restrictions. Regulatory closures and liability protection agreements often include stipulations that continuing obligations are maintained. The methods for documenting and maintaining compliance with continuing obligations vary based on the type and levels of contamination, current and intended use of the property, routes of potential exposure, and engineering or administrative controls used to prevent exposure. 

For redevelopment projects, continuing obligations must be revisited during each phase (predevelopment, construction, long term operation) of the development process. Compliance during these phases may be demonstrated by the preparation of Response Activity Plans, Remedial Action Plans, Soil and Groundwater Management Plans, Environmental Construction Management Plans, Documentation of Due Care Compliance, and Operation and Maintenance Plans. Projects seeking funding through state or local housing authorities and the Small Business Administration (SBA) will likely require regulatory review and approval of these documents.

AKT Peerless specializes in developing strategies to satisfy continuing obligations and maintain liability protection for contaminated property owners and operators.

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