Environmental Due Diligence Phase I ESA and Phase II GI for a Complicated Target Site Dating from 1777
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Project Objective

Geosyntec was retained by a major food and beverage process engineering and machinery manufacturer to undertake environmental due diligence; the global target company manufactured seed processing machinery used to produce vegetable and plant-based food-grade oils. The facility, in Kingston-Upon-Hull, Yorkshire, England, had been at the same location since 1777 and had undertaken many building projects through the centuries, the latest of which was in response to the destruction of the facility, adjacent buildings, and infrastructure during the Hull Blitz in 1941.

Geosyntec’s Scope of Services

Geosyntec began by performing a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) of the site, knowing that the site and surrounding land had great potential for historic soil and groundwater contamination, due to nearby medieval river and sewer drainage locations, as well as iron ore processing and foundries from the start of the Industrial Revolution in England. In addition, the site adjoined the former Canon Street Goods Railway Station. Heavy bombing and resulting destruction in 1941 led to approximately 5 to 10 feet of ground cover (flatten, fill, and compact material) containing blast and fragmented building materials, including asbestos and potential low-grade radioactive foundry wastes, on which the rebuilt facility was constructed.

The Phase I ESA identified likely hydrocarbon contamination and a plume spreading eastward toward the River Hull, with another potential plume coming on-site from a historic drain/sewer that had been filled with waste materials and capped in the 1960s. The site walk identified that the undeveloped ground of the staff parking lot at the property contained asbestos fragments and foundry wastes. The Phase I ESA also found that an environmental soil and groundwater contamination baseline document required for a change of lease in 2008 with the target did not contain an environmental contamination baseline; this fact limited the target company’s environmental liability and, if the deal was successful, could present our client with historic environmental liabilities. Phase II Ground Investigation (GI) work was commissioned inside and outside the facility to screen for soil and groundwater contamination and create a baseline for our client and any future legal requirements. To undertake the Phase II GI work and reduce risk to drillers and to business and staff on-site, full unexploded ordinance procedures were followed during drilling and sampling. Electrically powered drilling equipment and dust suppression procedures were used to eliminate harmful fumes and expensive ventilation processes for internal work.

Notable Accomplishments

Geosyntec, and therefore our client, developed a thorough understanding of sitewide environmental conditions, part of the legal documentation required to make the deal a success for our client and eliminate liability, high remediation costs, and potential prosecution for historic soil and groundwater contamination. Sharing our Phase II GI findings with the local planning authority also meant that our client could immediately invest further in the Site because the Phase II GI information was able to feed into a reliable and factual health and safety construction-phase work plan and building specification and design, safeguarding the health of construction workers, occupants, and the public.

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Project Summary

  • Location: Kingston-Upon-Hull, Yorkshire, England
  • Client: Confidential
  • Project Practice Areas: Contaminated Sites, Environmental Management, Building Health, Geotechnical
  • Type of Facility: Manufacturing, Food and Beverage
  • Services Provided: Environmental Due Diligence, including Phase I ESA; Phase II Ground Contamination Investigation; Historic Site and Adjacent Listed Buildings; Unexploded Ordinance Investigation; Environmental Risk Management Planning
  • Type of Work: Transactional Due Diligence