Location: Audubon, NJ
Brickhouse Environmental was retained to perform a combination Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) at a commercial retail building prior to a real estate transaction. Previous ESAs identified recognized environmental conditions (RECs) related to historic automotive facilities and underground storage tanks both on-site and off-site. While some prior soil sampling was conducted to address these RECs, elevated tetrachloroethylene (PCE) was more recently discovered in onsite wells. The wells were installed as part of the site characterization process at an adjoining downslope property. The detection of PCE was not suspected to be from the downslope gas station, and indicated a source area either on the subject property or another upgradient property. The area is currently under an area-wide investigation by NJDEP to identify a potential source area.
Given the potential liability and exorbitant costs associated with the PCE plume and the potential that the Subject Site could be a source, Brickhouse was retained to perform an investigation to characterize the existing Site conditions. The investigation included a thorough review of historical sources, the advancement of soil borings, construction of temporary well points, and the collection of representative soil and groundwater samples for laboratory analysis. The investigation also included additional sampling data to fill in remaining data gaps associated with the historic automotive facilities.
Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) was detected in groundwater samples at concentrations above applicable standards with the highest concentrations located along the Site’s upgradient property boundary. The soil data in conjunction with the groundwater data supported evidence that the Subject Site was not a contributing source to the regional groundwater plume and that an off-site upgradient source contributed to the elevated PCE in groundwater.
Through the investigations, Brickhouse was able to fully evaluate potential environmental issues and provide our client with the necessary data to make informed decisions and to proceed with the transaction after confirming that they could quality for the innocent landowner defense under CERCLA, since neither the prior owner nor our client had contributed to the groundwater contamination.