The “E” in Teamwork

August 3, 2023
2 min read
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We announced our acquisition of ePhase a little over a month ago, but I’ve been working with ePhase behind the scenes since the beginning of the year, and I’ve seen my fair share of interesting sites these past few months. A beer distributor, a couple of grocery stores, some farms, nothing too crazy… but I did just wrap up an auto repair shop, which is a little more concerning, but why? What makes one site more of a “red flag” than another?

The purpose of these Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) is to determine the likelihood of environmental impacts and analyze risk for prospective buyers or lenders of a property. Cleaning up a dirty property costs money, so you want to know what you’re getting into. Properties that use or produce hazardous substances or petroleum products are usually what we’re concerned about. Some common red flag sites include:

  • Auto repair shops: typically store motor oil, produce waste oil, and use hydraulic lifts. 
  • Gas stations: large underground diesel and gas tanks that often leak.
  • Orchards: historic use of pesticides often leaves residual heavy metals in the soil.
  • Dry cleaners: dense solvents used in the cleaning process sometimes get spilled and sink deep into aquifers.

Just because your site might be one of the above doesn’t automatically mean you have a problem. These places are just well-known to have recognized environmental conditions (RECs) identified during the Phase I ESA. My job is to thoroughly analyze the current operations and history of the site and adjacent sites to identify RECs. I am not here to be a nuisance and point out all your problems. I have your best interest in mind, and I want you to understand your risks so that you can make informed decisions and plan appropriately.

We at Howell excel at providing our clients with quality engineering, surveying, and environmental services. ePhase is a natural extension of this and allows us to be a part of your project from the very beginning to help you through due diligence. What’s next? Howell Real Estate?

Shout out to the team who moved the boatload of boxes in the basement and our intern Joey for working so hard on organizing the project list! Check out the video below for a behind-the-scenes look at that process. 


West Chester

1250 Wrights Lane
West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: 610-918-9002
Fax: 610-918-9003


5020 Ritter Road #203 Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

A Howell Company

53 Old Solomons Island Rd. Suite I
Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: 410-266-1160

A Howell Company

1250 Wrights Lane
West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: 610-692-7007

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