Environmental & GIS Services
The firm has earned a reputation for providing innovative and cost-effective environmental solutions by combining sound scientific study criteria with economic, environmental, and community considerations. As a corporate philosophy, our professional efforts are focused on protecting the environment, for the betterment of public health and welfare. We are accustomed to working under circumstances of stringent timelines, fixed budgets and strict confidentiality requirements. These three elements often are central in planning and executing real estate evaluations and transactions.
Our professional staff has completed nearly a thousand Phase I and Phase II ESAs, as well as several hundred Transaction Screens, subsurface hydrogeologic investigations, landfill studies, and environmental remediation designs. Our staff has performed similar work throughout the eastern and central United States, and maintains appropriate licensure in Maryland and many neighboring jurisdictions. Our staff has performed over 900 ESA projects, collectively, within Maryland and a surrounding radius of over 500 miles.
Stormwater, TMDL, and MS4 Support
Surface Water & Groundwater Interactions
Nutrient Credit Generation and Trading
Sinkhole Assessments and Restoration
Utility & Asset Maping
GIS Database Management
Phase l & ll Environmental Site Assessments
Sampling, Reporting, and Permitting
Fuel Storage Site Characterization/Closure
Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Studies
Contaminant Fate and Transportation Modeling
Forensic Investigation and Expert Witness
Phase I ESAs and Transaction Screens - Most pre-transactional evaluations of properties begin with an environmental consultant performing a Phase I ESA or Transaction Screen. The methodology ALWI typically uses in performing a normal Phase I ESA follows ASTM Standard No. E 1527-13, and our customary Transaction Screen follows ASTM Standard No. E 1528-06. The advantage of following published standards is in ensuring greater objectivity and defensibility of the work. ESAs generally include personal interviews, a site reconnaissance, a site history review and a review of available and applicable state and local government records. Transaction Screens are similar to Phase I ESAs but are more streamlined in the degree of historical research required. ESAs and Transaction Screens supplement, but do not replace, engineering and other technical evaluations, which are intrinsic to pre-acquisition evaluations of commercial properties.
ESAs and Transaction Screens are preliminary in nature, carry no intrinsic or expressly stated warranty of environmental integrity, and are not comprehensive environmental assessments or audits of properties. Due to the non-invasive nature of this preliminary assessment, environmental consultants who perform ESAs and Transaction Screens cannot confer an absolute assurance of the absence of RECs remaining from prior uses and activities or otherwise associated with a given site.
Phase II ESAs - Sometimes a Phase I ESA will identify RECs or potential RECs, and additional work is recommended. Advance information about conditions on a given site may warrant immediate consideration of more a more in-depth and/or invasive evaluation. The environmental consulting profession uses the term Phase II ESA for those evaluations and investigations that supplement and/or follow Phase I ESAs and provide a more accurate characterization of potential issues of environmental concern. ALWI’s Phase II ESA services generally follow ASTM Standard No. E 1903-97 as well as other standards as the specific scope may warrant. Our Phase II ESAs can include more detailed record reviews or historical evaluations as well as various types of drilling and sampling programs.
Experience and Credentials in Complex Projects - contracts valued upwards of $1,000,000 for the benefit of public and private sector clients such as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bell Atlantic (now Verizon), the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. These contracts have included successful, rapid-response completion of various Phase I, II and III work elements. With success, we have completed numerous complex environmental projects for similar entities over the last several years.
We possess all of the required experience and expertise to perform Phase I and II ESAs, as well as related environmental investigation, remediation and regulatory closure services. We have management and organizational systems in place to complete all needed work well within the budget and timetable constraints typically required of environmental projects supporting real estate transactions.
The firm’s environmental managers receive regular training and professional development to maintain our position of leadership in environmental consulting services. Sources of such training include the National Groundwater Association, ASTM, and various other industry and trade groups. This commitment to maintenance of this position of technical leadership is evidenced through our long list of satisfied ESA clients.
Typical Phase I ESA Scope of Services - The firm’s Phase I ESAs typically are performed following applicable provisions of ASTM Standard No. E1527-13, and include the non-invasive collection and qualitative analysis of readily available physical and historical data. Neither Phase I ESAs nor Transaction Screens typically include invasive or quantitative sampling or analyses. Typical work scope elements follow the ASTM standard, and (for Phase I ESAs) include the following:
Site Reconnaissance – The firm conducts a visual reconnaissance to observe the physical characteristics of the site and surrounding properties. We make visual observations to assess the potential for the presence of environmental contamination by hazardous materials or petroleum products that could affect the air, soils, surface water, or groundwater associated with the site. We also make observations of surrounding areas from the subject site and public rights-of-way regarding land uses or activities of concern on other properties near or adjacent to the site. These observations help identify potential environmental impacts (again, by hazardous materials or petroleum products) to the site.
Historical Evaluation – We perform historical evaluations of apparent past land uses of the site and vicinity by (1) reviewing available fire insurance maps and/or aerial photographs dating back to 1940 or the first developed use of the property; (2) interviewing persons with direct, first-hand familiarity with the history of the site; and (3) reviewing and integrating the results of a Chain-of-Title search provided to us.
Regulatory Database Review – The firm typically acquires and reviews federal and state database listings to obtain information concerning environmental incidents of record on site or in the local vicinity of the site.