Whether as part of a real estate transaction, the refinancing of a property or a real estate development project, an environmental site assessment is usually required by financial institutions to be able to properly assess the risk of the project. Indeed, no financial institution can afford to lend large sums to its customers without an evaluation of the risk of contamination. But a property where the soil or groundwater is contaminated is not always easy to identify visually. To know the state of the ground, and therefore its real value, you should reach out for the services of a recognized expertise.

If you are planning a refinancing or a sale, it is best not to wait until the end of the process to apply for an environmental assessment. Indeed, it usually takes 3-4 weeks to complete a Phase I, which will have the effect of delaying the signing of the deed of sale. Northex Environnement is accredited to several financial institutions and can advise you on the steps at the environmental level from the planning stage of your transaction. Contact us for more information.


Commonly called soil survey, it aims to determine whether the activities of the site and the area (past and present) could lead to a deterioration of the quality of the site and even a contamination thereof. The Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Phase I researches mainly potential or actual pollution signs. The methodology for the environmental assessment / Phase – I meets recognized requirements (CSA-Z768-01 – Canadian Standards Association, Characterization guide land of the Ministry of Environment of Quebec, interpretation Phase Guidelines – I ESA CMHC).

An ESA Phase I includes the evaluation of existing and relevant information gathered during the study of records, the visit of the property and interviews. The Phase I does not require the realization of measurement, sampling, analysis and restoration. Our environmental assessment includes the following four steps:

1) Documentation search (title properties, plans, aerial photographs, city archives);
2) The inspection of the site;
3) interviews and surveys;
4) The production of a written report.

When the ESA Phase 1 indicates that there is a risk of contamination that can affect the environmental quality of a site, the Environmental Site Assessment – Phase 2 is necessary.

Soil and/or groundwater samples are taken at strategic locations. They are then analyzed in a laboratory to determine if there really is the presence of contaminants and in which case, if their concentrations exceed the regulation limits.

Sampling techniques vary depending on the material to be removed, access to the site, the depth of the required sampling, structures, etc. For example, a drill and/or an excavator shovel are often used.

In reviewing the results of the Phase 2, qualified personnel at Northex will inform stakeholders concerning the need of remediation of the site.

When a remediation plan is required, an ESA – Phase 3 may be desirable and serves mainly to collect more data to clarify the extent of the contamination. This additional study is based on the results of the Phase 2. Soil types, structures in place, the direction of groundwater flow and many other factors determine the spread of contaminants. Knowing them, a new set of samples is taken at strategic locations, and additional analyzes are conducted with new samples as well as those collected in the previous phase.

This new study is used to evaluate more accurately the extent of contamination and the amount of soil affected by contaminants to provide an accurate estimation of the costs of the remediation of the land.