Before purchasing, mortgaging, or investing in a piece of property, it is sometimes prudent or required that a Preliminary (Initial) Environmental Site Assessment be performed to see if there is any potential for the site being classified as a “Spill Site” under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (310 CMR 40.0000). This has to do with the investigation, reporting, and clean-up of contaminated soils or ground waters.
We perform property research of the Town Assessor’s records and the Registry of Deeds to obtain information on current and previous owners of the site, and to determine the approximate size and shape of the property. This research also includes, as much as can be determined, the former uses of the property, i.e. whether it was virgin woodlands, farmland, or used for agricultural, residential, commercial, or manufacturing purposes; and the types of uses that were conducted in any buildings or other areas on the property to include storage of any chemicals or hazardous substances.
The research, aside from the above historical research, also includes a research of local records from the local Fire Department, Board of Health, Building Inspector’s Office, and any other office that may contain information about the history of a “spill” or a release of hazardous materials on the site.
Research is also performed on a “Spills” database, which we can now complete over the Internet, for records at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to see if the site had ever been cited as a site of a spill or release. Also, an examination of records of properties in the proximity of the locus is performed. It is important to know if any adjacent properties located “up gradient” from the property ever had recorded a spill or hazardous release, which could have an impact on the water table under the locus.
A site inspection is made of the property to examine any storage of hazardous materials on site or evidence of previous storing of any such materials, and also to determine if there are any signs of stress in the vegetation or the soils that might indicate a spill may have occurred. During the inspection, soil and groundwater samples (if available) are taken with the aid of a backhoe.
Soil samples and/or groundwater samples are tested; using a Photo-ionization Detector (PID) for any VOC’s that would indicate that a spill or release has occurred on the site.
On completion of all the above services, an Initial Environmental Site Assessment is prepared indicating our conclusions, as of the date of our inspection and sampling, as to whether or not the site should be further evaluated under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan “21E”. If it has been determined that there has been a spill or a release on the site, we will make recommendations on the next steps that should be undertaken by the client.