Phased Site Investigation Process

The following phased process is to be used for the assessment of toxic and hazardous substances when purchasing or receiving gifts/bequests of any University real estate. The due diligence process serves as a risk assessment and management tool for environmental liabilities associated with all UC real estate transactions. It is a flexible process - the level of investigation is not the same for every property, and will vary depending upon: nature/type of property; historical use; type of transaction; proposed use of the property; and information obtained in the course of the investigation. Similar procedures are in place for sales and leasing of University property. Contact Robert Charbonneau at (510) 987-9594 or Email Bob.

Risk assessments must be made at the conclusion of each phase of this process. A generalized decision tree of this process follows:

Phase I - Preliminary Site Assessment Decision Process

Property appears free of contamination. Evaluate need for further investigation. Proceed with Phase II or acquisition as appropriate.


Potential for contamination is identified. Proceed to Phase II site sampling investigation.


Known or confirmed contamination on site. Re-evaluate benefits of acquisition. Terminate acquisition if risks outweigh advantages.

Phase II - Site Characterization Decision Process

Property appears free of contamination. Proceed with acquisition.


Contamination confirmed. Proceed with additional site sampling to determine full nature and extent of problem. Negotiate terms for remediation.


Nature and extent of contamination poses significant liabilities. Terminate acquisition.

Phase III - Remediation

The last phase of this process (if necessary) consists of the cleanup (remediation) of any contamination found during the Phase II site investigation. Generally, site cleanups are performed according to the methodology set forth by a Risk-Based Corrective Action process administered by the appropriate environmental regulatory agency. Consult with RESG, OGC, and OPRS if remediation is required.

There is some degree of potential risk involved with every property transaction. Environmental due diligence will always be a condition of any purchase contract unless performed by the University prior to executing the purchase contract. The Phase I Preliminary Site Assessment (PSA) may be performed by Risk Services or the campus if qualified EH&S personnel are available.

If potential for contamination is identified during the campus Phase I assessment, a qualified professional environmental consulting firm should be contracted to conduct Phase II site sampling if necessary. If the property is commercial or industrial or otherwise poses a high risk for contamination, consult with Risk Services.