May 18, 2022  
2021 - 2022 Catalog 
2021 - 2022 Catalog
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ENV 310W - Environmental Site Assessments

Credits: 3
Instructional Contact Hours: 3

Provides overview of standard methods for assessing recognized environmental conditions affecting commercial real estate. Covers standard procedures that aid in the environmental assessment of properties for potential legal and economic impacts of pre-existing environmental conditions. Includes legal responsibilities, financial penalties, safe working conditions, and legally accepted standard procedures for environmental site assessment. Emphasizes ASTM Phase I & II including analysis of case studies. Includes participation in an environmental site assessment.

Prerequisite(s): READING LEVEL 2 and WRITING LEVEL 2 and MATH LEVEL 2
Corequisite(s): None
Lecture Hours: 45 Lab Hours: 0
Meets MTA Requirement: None
Pass/NoCredit: Yes

Outcomes and Objectives
  1. Recognize the roles of bankers, buyers, and environmental professions in phase I assessment.
    1. Describe the importance of understanding environmental risks and financial impacts of property transfers.
    2. State risks the buyer assumes when purchasing property.
    3. Describe the role of environmental assessment professionals in assisting in property transfers.
    4. Apply the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) standard E 1527 to develop a scope of work.
  2. Use standard terminology related to environmental site assessment.
    1. Properly use the following terms: Due diligence, Phase I, Phase II, innocent landowner defense
  3. Demonstrate practical application of ASTM standard E 1527.
    1. Determine when use of standard E 1527 is appropriate and screening procedures that help  determine when use is appropriate.
    2. State the principles behind standard E 1527.
    3. Recognize that environmental site assessment documents must be current to be useful.
  4. State the responsibilities of the persons conducting environmental site assessment and the users of the service.
    1. Describe the responsibilities of users as:
      1. Providing information
      2. Selecting the environmental site assessment methodology,
      3. Checking for previously existing environmental leans,
      4. Disclosing specialized knowledge, and
      5. Explaining why property is being purchase below market value.
    2. Describe the environmental professional responsibilities as:
      1. Providing credentials,
      2. Reviewing records,
      3. Site reconnaissance,
      4. Interviewing appropriate persons, and
      5. Providing a final report.
  5. State the kinds of information from and significance of searching existing records.
    1. Describe the nature of reasonably attainable records.
    2. Identify sources of pertinent records and methods for documenting them.
    3. List federal and state sources of pertinent documents.
    4. State sources of documents that detail the use history of a physical property.
  6. Describe the elements of a site reconnaissance.
    1. Recognize the importance and risks associated with a thorough exterior and interior physical assessment of a site.
    2. List physical site characteristics that can influence the location, migration, or stability of environmental contaminants.
    3. List geographic features adjacent to the site that can influence the potential use of a site.
    4. List important exterior and interior observations necessary to a proper environmental site assessment.
    5. Demonstrate proper methods of taking field notes and using photography to document findings as well as proper labeling of information gathered.
  7. Identify safety and health issues associated with site investigations.
    1. Describe the kinds of hazards likely to be present on a site.
    2. Follow standard operating procedures for participating in environmental site assessment.
    3. Interpret and follow a site safety plan.
    4. Match potential safety hazards with appropriate training and protective procedures.
  8. Describe the requirements of a good interview procedure.
    1. Identify key persons who should be interviewed.
    2. Develop a list of questions that will elicit information appropriate to the inquiry.
    3. Develop transaction screen questions.
  9. Outline the necessary components of an environmental site assessment report.
    1. State the characteristics and significance of: findings, conclusions, opinions, and recommendations.
    2. Follow a standard report format in the preparation of a report.
    3. Apply appropriate legal language that establishes the validity of the report and clearly states who retains custody of the documents.
  10. Recognize that there may be issues that are beyond that scope of a specific environmental site assessment that should be addressed for the benefit of the client.
    1. State those issues that are beyond the scope of an environmental site assessment.
    2. Determine when a user may have special needs beyond the scope of a normal environmental site assessment.
    3. State reasons for clearly separating recommendations that are beyond the scope from the scope of an environmental site assessment.
  11. The student shall be able to state the differences between a phase I and phase I environmental site assessment.
    1. The student shall recognize that a phase II assessment focuses on specific issues identified during a phase I assessment.
    2. Students shall state the importance of developing a scope of services for a phase II assessment.
    3. The student shall recognize that a phase II assessment is to provide the user with the information about risks that will allow them to make informed decisions.
  12. Students shall be able to define appropriate terminology related to sampling, chain of custody and validity of information.
  13. The student shall recognize the value of using a standard procedure for phase II environmental site assessment as well as the limitations thereof.
    1. The student shall be able to describe the key elements of an innocent purchaser defense.
    2. The student shall be able to state the strengths and weaknesses of expert witnesses.
    3. The student shall be able to recognize that good site specific data is essential to the validity of expert testimony.
    4. The student shall be able to state how user behavior, limitations of the ability to collect information, and legal uncertainties can undermine the outcome of the value of an environmental site assessment for a client.
  14. The student shall be able to state the purpose and characteristics of contracts.
    1. The student shall recognize that contracts describe expectations of both parties.
    2. The student shall recognize that phase II contracts are more complicated than phase I contracts.
    3. The student shall be able to list the essential ingredients of a good contract.
  15. The student shall be able to state the essential components of a good workplan.
    1. The student shall recognize that a workplan is a very detailed description of the work to be done.
    2. The student shall recognize that the following are essential to a good workplan:
      1. User must understand the plan
      2. Recognize that user data may not be sufficient
      3. Identify site limitations
      4. Review of existing information
      5. Potential for contaminant migration
      6. Sampling program and protocol
      7. Development of a health and safety plan
      8. Detail the chemical testing plan
      9. Address quality issues
      10. Documentation methodology
  16. The student shall be able to describe the essential elements of a good sampling protocol.
    1. The student shall recognize that standard procedures are available for most sampling needs.
    2. The student shall be able to identify the purpose of several field screening and analytical techniques.
    3. The student shall be able to detail appropriate sample handling and documentation.
  17. The student shall be able to describe procedures that ensure valid data.
    1. The student shall be able to describe standard methodologies used for evaluating data.
    2. The student shall be able to state the importance of quality data.
    3. The student shall recognize that the data collected can eliminate recognized environmental conditions from further consideration.
  18. The student shall be able to state the value and risks associated with a written phase II report.
    1. The student shall recognize that a report is not required.
    2. The student shall be able to develop a table of contents for a phase II report.
  19. The student shall be able to describe pertinent issues that are beyond the scope of a phase II assessment.
  20. Perform writing tasks to promote learning.
  21. Write effectively for a specific audience and purpose.
  22. Demonstrate the learning of concepts through writing.


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