Environmental Services

DMI-EMK and Phase I Assessments


What many clients don’t know is that under the requirements of ASTM E1527-05 an individual with only a minimum number of years of experience can conduct a Phase I study. In contrast, most reputable Phase I providers maintain professional registrations (Professional Geologist, Professional Engineer, etc.) and have the education, training, and work experience required to do the job right.

DMI-EMK sets itself apart from other consultants in that:

  • DMI-EMK staff have over 20 years experience in conducting Phase I investigations. Along with our expertise in soil and groundwater contamination assessments and remediation, we have the qualifications necessary to complete a thorough Phase I investigation.
  • A seven person firm, DMI-EMK has three Professional Geologists on-staff who are involved in all aspects of conducting a Phase I investigation.
  • DMI-EMK is fully qualified, licensed, and experienced in all aspects of Phase II and Phase III activities if/when they become necessary.
  • DMI-EMK takes pride in our experience and ability to conduct a proper Phase I investigation, understand the meaning of the information generated, and communicate the findings of a Phase I to advise our clients on potential contamination issues.

DMI-EMK also understands that identifying contamination, or potential contamination, at a property does not have to stop a property transaction from moving forward.  The results of a Phase I simply become a tool in the decision-making process and an important part of the negotiation activities.  DMI-EMK specializes in helping their Clients understand the technical and financial risks involved in purchasing contaminated property, identifying the impact of these issues with respect to the Client’s specific plans for the property, and giving the Client the information they require to intelligently negotiate the purchase price and conditions to meet their specific needs.  As your consultant, DMI-EMK becomes an integral part of your team.

The projects below highlight the value-added services DMI-EMK provides and how they benefited the client.

Cryogenic Vessel Repair Facility – Adelanto, CA

Under a previous owner and land use, the site received regulatory closure of multiple underground storage tanks.  The current owner did not have a Phase I done at the time of their purchase, and were under the assumption that this regulatory closure meant there were no potential problems at the site.  However, DMI-EMK’s investigation on behalf of the new buyer indicated the potential presence of: additional, undocumented underground storage tanks; an abandoned clarifier; and a leach field that likely received chemical solvents for several decades.  DMI-EMK identified these features, evaluated the liability with the buyer, designed a Phase II investigation to further evaluate the potential issues, and discussed the buyer’s specific risk tolerance.  The buyer took this information back to the seller as a tool to negotiate their conditions with the seller in order for the transaction to proceed.

Commercial Building – Oxnard, CA

Working on behalf of the property owner, DMI-EMK discovered that due to the tenant’s operations and record keeping, the site was incorrectly identified on State and Federal Databases as being a generator of dangerous hazardous wastes which would have resulted in the recommendation for additional investigation.  DMI-EMK worked with the owner, tenant, and the State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control to correct historical waste manifests to the owner’s satisfaction.  In turn, this negated the need for additional investigation and helped to clarify the history of waste generation at the site.  Once completed, the owner and tenant were able to finalize the completion of their lease.

Auto Dealership – Santa Maria, CA

During the process of preparing the Phase I ESA, DMI-EMK identified multiple environmental concerns including underground and aboveground storage tanks, leaking hydraulic lifts, and clarifiers.  These represented numerous potential concerns which the buyer did not want to be responsible for, but which neither party wanted to investigate further, until directed by a regulatory agency.  Working on behalf of the buyer, DMI-EMK evaluated and prioritized the environmental concerns, assisted the buyer in understanding these concerns, and worked with the buyer and their agents to negotiate appropriate indemnification agreements with the seller in order to allow the property transaction to continue on schedule.

Chevron Station – Atascadero, CA

Following years of assessment related to leaking underground storage tanks, the site had received regulatory closure in 2006.  The owner, who purchased the property without obtaining a Phase I review, did so under the assumption that “site closure” meant that there were no environmental issues remaining at the site.  However, DMI-EMK’s 2012 Phase I investigation on behalf of the new lender revealed that the site had not been fully assessed, the site had been closed with significant documented soil and groundwater contamination in place, and that the regulatory agencies closed the site with land use restrictions that would require future soil excavation in the event the site was redeveloped.  After discussing our preliminarily findings with the lender, and evaluating the potential liabilities, the lender’s risk tolerance prevented them from completing the transaction.  In this instance, DMI-EMK’s work successfully helped the lender avoid the potential future liabilities associated with this “closed” site property.

Chevron Station – Los Alamos, CA

After receiving the results of a Phase I investigation for a lender refinancing, the owner came to DMI-EMK to assist in “focusing” the Phase II investigation.  The Phase I provider, having met the “minimum requirements” under ASTM1527-05, noted that former tank locations could not be identified, and that they could not find chemical test data for tanks removed in the 1990’s.  As a result, the Phase I provider recommended Phase II investigation consisting of a geophysical survey across the entire property followed by an extensive and costly ($35,000) drilling and sampling investigation.  DMI-EMK quickly realized that narrowing down the former tank locations could significantly help focus the Phase II investigation and save the seller a great deal of time and money.

Within about four hours of research and reviewing additional sources of information, DMI-EMK:

  1. found the former station owner/operator, (who lived nearby), and identified the exact location of the former tanks; and
  2. contacted the tank removal contractor and obtained the chemical test data and sample location plans for the reported tank removal.

Based on this additional data, DMI-EMK was then able to redesign and complete a “focused” Phase II investigation to the satisfaction of the owner’s lender at a cost of only $17,000.  As a result, we were able to save the owner about $16,000 and clear the way for the lender to refinance the gas station property.