Environmental Assessment of Real Estate Transfers

Policy

Environmental site assessments shall be completed prior to all real estate property transfers to or from the University of Chicago. 

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Purpose

This policy provides procedures for evaluating properties to ensure the University of Chicago does not unintentionally acquire real estate property subject to environmental liabilities, regulations, or requirements. 

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Authority and Responsibility

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is responsible for: 

  • Assisting project managers with selecting environmental consultants to conduct environmental site assessments; 
  • Advising project managers, consultants, and the Office of Legal Counsel on information from historical environmental site assessments, when available; 
  • Acting as the point of contact for consultants who are hired to conduct environmental assessments for the University;  
  • Acting as the manager of the central repository for the University’s environmental assessment reports and if warranted any soil sample results; 
  • Adding the environmental assessments and soil sample results to the ArcGIS campus map; 
  • Reviewing environmental site assessment reports; and 
  • Providing recommendations to the Office of Legal Counsel and the Project Manager based on the findings of the environmental site assessment report.  

Project Managers (Facilities Services, Biological Sciences Division, and Commercial Real Estate Operations) are responsible for: 

  • Notifying Environmental Health and Safety regarding projects which involve the transfer of real estate property; 
  • Providing Environmental Health and Safety with property information required by the environmental consultant to conduct the environmental site assessment; 
  • Coordinating and scheduling site visits for the environmental consultant; and 
  • Funding all costs associated from environmental assessments. 

Office of Legal Counsel is responsible for: 

  • Reviewing recommendations provided by Environmental Health and Safety regarding the acquisition of real estate property; and 
  • Providing the final approval for the acquisition of real estate property. 

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Procedure

Prior to any acquisition of real estate property, the procedures listed below shall be followed. 

  1. A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), conducted in accordance with ASTM E1527- 13, will be required whenever the University seeks to acquire a property. EHS will assist the Project Manager to select an environmental consultant to complete a Phase I ESA. The environmental consultant will provide the Project Manager and EHS with a report upon completion of the Phase I ESA. EHS will advise the Project Manager and Office of Legal Counsel on the results of the Phase I and provide recommendations, as necessary. 
  2. A Phase II ESA, conducted in accordance with ASTM E1903- 19, will be required if recommended by the environmental consultant based on the findings of a Phase I ESA and EHS and the Office of Legal Counsel concurs. EHS will assist the Project Manager to establish a scope of work for the Phase II ESA with the environmental consultant. The environmental consultant will provide the Project Manager and EHS with a separate report upon completion of the Phase II ESA. EHS will advise the Project Manager and Office of Legal Counsel on the results of the Phase II ESA and provide recommendations, as necessary.  
  3. The Office of Legal Counsel will determine whether to approve the acquisition of the real estate property based on the ESA findings and recommendation from EHS. No closing or transfer shall occur until the Office of Legal Counsel has approved the acquisition. 

Reviewed: July 2020 

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