Many buyers or sellers of property try to limit their costs by undertaking a scaled down Stage I Preliminary Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) which may include a few soil samples and limited or no groundwater assessment. This is prone to error and often misses many potential contamination problems. The site’s groundwater offers clues to the presence of wastes. Also groundwater can move contamination from your site to another site. You will be responsible for the cleanup of any contamination which originates from your property regardless of where it ends up. This could in the most extreme event be quite an expensive venture.

A Stage I ESA is a desktop audit for researching the site’s historical potential contaminating land uses; identifying the nature and probable contaminants and possible locations in either soil or groundwater. If the initial research identifies a potential case of contamination then initial sampling should be undertaken to confirm the potential risk. If contamination is established, then a Stage II ESA investigating should be carried out to identify in far greater detail the potential contaminants that may exist on a site. If the Stage II ESA fails to establish further contamination, then the seller will have a complete record of the condition of the site prior to handover to the new owner.

Or, if contamination is found it can be cleaned up and reported in the final assessment report. The benefit of this approach is the new owner will now have an established baseline on the environmental condition of the site prior to their use, and the seller (vendor) can rest assured that their environmental liabilities (risks) have been addressed (or known) before departing the site.

If you are thinking of purchasing a service station for residential redevelopment or possible residential rezoning, then above anything else, we recommend that you investigate the site for groundwater contamination first. The reason being, that hydrocarbon contaminated groundwater may have moved a considerable distance off site, i.e. under roads or other adjacent buildings. You will be required to undertake a clean-up of the groundwater table both on-site and off site before an EPA Accredited Environmental Auditor will allow a Statement or Certificate of Environmental Audit to be issued for your site's residential redevelopment. Clean-up could be expensive and time consuming taking many months to achieve what is termed "Clean-up to Extent Practicable" (CUTEP) which is EPA Victoria's acceptance standard for groundwater. Other states will have similar requirements.

If a groundwater investigation indicates little or no contamination then an on-site soil investigation should follow to determine the level of contaminants in the underlying soils and any remediation options for the site.

The groundwater assessment gives you the option of ceasing further works and appraising your environmental and financial position rather than spending considerable funds on a soil and groundwater assessment that may end up not meeting your expectations.

SRS was called in to clean up a site where the new owner had discovered a large tar pit on his building site. He had purchased the property with only a basic preliminary investigation report based on a few scattered soil samples. SRS had reviewed the initial report and for-warned the client of possible pollution on the site based on several findings in the report. The initial investigation had completely missed a large tar pit buried below the site.

A site inspection revealed that the property had previously been used for pole banding for telegraph poles and railway sleepers to preserve them. The site cleanup added a significant addition to the property development costs. A Stage I and II ESA would have clearly identified the problem well before the property sale.

Most sites are required to be audited by an EPA Accredited Environmental Auditor where zoning is being changed from one use (i.e. Industrial), to a more sensitive category (ie. residential or child care centre, etc.)

We can assist in the entire process by liaising with the client, the auditor and relevant authorities and subsequently implementing any remediation works where required by the auditor. Our total turn-key project management system ensures a smooth and trouble-free process.

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Site investigation & cleanup

SRS is currently operating in all states of Australia with a highly mobile crew for undertaking investigations and remediation works. Recent Projects

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