Phase I and II ESA of Ethanol Production Facility
An existing client looking to expand its operations into the production of ethanol through distillation and fermentation of unused and off-spec commercial products such as soft drinks and perfumes, contracted Cox-Colvin to conduct a Phase I environmental site assessment (ESA) of a property previously used for a similar business. The due diligence work determined that the property had a long history of prior industrial use including chemical manufacturing. The Phase I ESA also identified the potential for flooding, poor drainage, and wetland features on the property. Discussions with local government agencies indicated that the outfall to the local POTW had been welded shut due to a history of exceedances by the previous operator and suggested that overcoming the previous poor relations would be difficult for a new owner and operator.
Following completion of the Phase I ESA, Cox-Colvin conducted Phase II assessment work, including soil sampling, sediment sampling, well installation, and groundwater sampling. A large sump, used to keep groundwater from entering the basement was also sampled. This work was completed under a very aggressive schedule. As anticipated, the Phase II results verified the presence of historical sediment, soil, and groundwater contamination. Groundwater pumped from the sump contained several VOCs and SVOCs. This water was pumped on an ongoing basis directly to surface without a permit. With the sump off, the basement quickly filled with water. Through monitoring of groundwater and surface water levels, Cox-Colvin demonstrated the onsite discharge of shallow groundwater to surface water and the offsite migration of surface water.