Environmental assessments are qualitative or quantitative objective assessments of a specific property. They can be used to identify and evaluate potential sources of environmental liability. There are currently no standard definitions or scopes of work for an environmental assessment--assessments vary greatly in terms of details, cost and quality. Considerable efforts are being made by the ASTM, the EPA, and Congress to standardize the environmental assessment and the content of reports.
Typically, there are three phases to an environmental assessment. Phase I involves several activities including data collection and evaluation to develop a qualitative assessment of the site and identify potential environmental risks. Phase II activities involve quantitatively assessing any site contamination that may have been identified or suspected during Phase I. Phase III involves developing any site remediation plan that my be required to clean up existing contamination on site.