Phase II Environmental Site Assessment costs for brownfield projects

Phase II Environmental Site Assessments for brownfield projects require environmental professionals to collect soil samples.
For brownfield redevelopment projects, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) might uncover evolving environmental concerns, including leaking underground storage tanks, contaminated soil or water and illegal waste disposal, among others. If a Phase I ESA identifies Recognized Environmental Conditions, including emerging contaminants of concern, the site will require a second round of environmental due diligence or a Phase II ElSA.

The aim of Phase II ESAs for brownfield projects is to assess whether hazardous substances have been released on a property and take steps to limit exposure to them.

The key difference between the two Environmental Site Assessments is that a Phase I ESA assesses the likelihood of site contamination while a Phase II ESA evaluates the presence of contamination at the site.

Below, we discuss factors influencing Phase II ESA costs for brownfield projects and how partnering with an experienced environmental professional can ensure accurate assessment results for successful redevelopment projects.

Factors affecting Phase II ESA costs 

Phase II ESAs are performed in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E1903-19 standard. When municipalities or developers are required to complete a Phase II ESA, the associated cost of this additional environmental due diligence becomes a key concern. Let's examine the factors contributing to Phase II Environmental Site Assessment costs for brownfield projects.​


Factors influencing Phase II Environmental Site Assessment costs



Investigative scope

As the primary factor for determining costs, an assessment scope is site- and context-specific, based on:

  • The type of contaminants/environmental concerns under investigation.

  • Land use and size of the site.

  • Parameters of laboratory analysis.

  • Technology/equipment required to complete the investigation.


  • Underground utility mark-outs indicating the location of service lines for water, sewer, gas, electric and telephone.

  • Geophysical testing for evidence of buried tanks and drums.

  • Excavating areas marked by geophysical testing to assess soil and water samples for contaminants.

  • Testing operational underground storage tanks (USTs) for integrity and, reviewing permits, previous test and inventory records for evidence of leaks or discharges.  

  • Drilling monitoring wells to investigate possible groundwater contamination.


  • Collecting water samples from monitoring wells, drinking water wells and surface water bodies. 

  • Collecting soil samples to assess the extent of contamination. 

  • Collecting air samples for biological and chemical analysis.

Final report

  • Customizing required content for the final report based on the specific needs of the developer/ property owner/ buyer. 

Based on these elements, Phase II Environmental Site Assessment costs usually range from $10,000 to $30,000 but can be more expensive, stretching to $100,000 and more. Although a Phase II ESA is cost- and time-intensive, cutting assessment costs usually reduces investigation scope. A reduced assessment scope generates less site information, creating a greater margin for error. For land redevelopment or brownfield projects, limited information may lead to higher clean-up costs, legal issues and penalties later.

Pictured above is a soil sample from a Phase II ESA.

Gathering the most comprehensive information about the presence of potentially hazardous or toxic substances at brownfield sites is also instrumental in helping land redevelopment projects qualify for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brownfield remediation grants. Additional EPA funding opportunities include community-wide assessment grants worth up to $500,000 to cover environmental assessment expenses on sites contaminated with hazardous substances and pollutants.

Partnering with an experienced team of environmental professionals helps ensure accurate Phase II ESAs and can help secure funds for brownfield redevelopment projects.

Partnering with environmental professionals for a Phase II ESA 

The Fehr Graham team of experienced environmental professionals provides end-to-end assistance to municipalities and private entities with land redevelopment projects. We produce highly customized Phase II ESAs to address the challenges and concerns of transforming brownfields. From conducting ESAs, writing grants and managing and remediating to coordinating the cleanup program coordination and managing waste, we ensure successful outcomes for brownfield and other land development projects.

To learn more about Phase II Environmental Site Assessment costs and how Fehr Graham can help you with environmental due diligence, contact us or call 920.453.0700.