Phase I Environmental Assessment

As part of a refinancing initiative, a casino and harness track applied for a loan from a regional lending institution. Aztech performed a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) at the approximately 160-acre property.

This sprawling site contained over 60 buildings, including jockey’s dormitories, barns, veterinary offices, offices, paddock buildings, grandstands, restaurants, lottery/casino buildings, blacksmith shops, maintenance building, harness/tack shops, bagging plant, commissary, laboratory, 35 barns, and other structures.

Within expedited deadlines, Aztech performed all necessary inspections, documentation, interviews, historical research, and environmental/regulatory literature reviews for the project. The results of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) identified potential environmental liabilities that could impact the property.

Potential Liabilities

A number of potential environmental liabilities were identified during the Phase I ESA. These environmental liabilities included, (but were not limited to), storage of numerous 55-gallon drums, the use of several aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), the presence of floor drains, former pesticide storage, and similar items of concern. After further research, a number of these liabilities were deemed not to pose a significant hazard.

For the remaining and potentially more significant liabilities, Aztech performed follow-up work to investigate and mitigate the issues. These activities included sampling underneath a former pesticide storage shed, sampling underneath two (2) active ASTs (under which staining was noted during the site inspection), and removal of out-of-service tanks and drums.

A Hidden Surprise

During the initial inspection of the 160-acre parcel, two out-of-service fuel oil underground storage tanks (USTs), not previously identified by other consultants, were identified by Aztech. Most surprising was that one of the USTs was located underneath the main administrative building and was unknown even by the employees at the property. These two USTs were properly closed, confirmatory samples were obtained, and the UST areas were no longer considered environmental liabilities.

Cleaning up the Paperwork

As part of the Phase I ESA, Aztech reviewed applicable permits and regulatory details associated with the casino and harness track. The facility possessed permits as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, and was registered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) as a petroleum bulk storage (PBS) facility.

Aztech identified discrepancies between the NYSDEC PBS documentation and the documentation identified during the Phase I ESA, and recommended updating the PBS documentation with the NYSDEC.

The results of the Phase I ESA and subsequent environmental work indicated that the items and areas of concern no longer posed an environmental liability risk at the property. The lending institution was satisfied, and the commercial client was able to obtain the financing they had sought to further expand and improve the facility.

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