What is a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) and Why Does it Matter?

Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs): Understanding This Key Environmental Assessment Term

When it comes to real estate and property development, there’s an important environmental assessment term you need to be familiar with: Recognized Environmental Condition (REC). But what exactly is a REC, and why does it matter?

A Recognized Environmental Condition, or REC, is a term used in the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) process to describe the presence, or likely presence, of any hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on, or at a property due to a release to the environment. In other words, a REC indicates there is evidence that a harmful substance has been released and may still be present on the property.

Identifying RECs is a crucial part of evaluating the environmental risks and liabilities associated with a property. Finding a REC means that further investigation, known as a Phase II ESA, is needed to determine the extent of any contamination and potential risks.

If you are concerned that you may have a REC on your property, reach out to MORAN ROCKS and we will be able to assist you.

How are RECs Identified?

RECs are identified through the comprehensive review conducted during a Phase I ESA. This process involves:

  • Historical record reviews – Examining past uses of the property and surrounding area to identify any activities that may have involved hazardous materials.
  • Site inspections – Physically evaluating the property for any visible signs of contamination, storage of hazardous materials, or evidence of spills/releases.
  • Interviews – Talking to current and past owners, occupants, and other knowledgeable parties to gather information about the property’s history.
  • Regulatory database reviews – Checking government records for any reported spills, leaks, or other environmental incidents associated with the property.

If the Phase I ESA uncovers evidence of a past release or material threat of a future release of hazardous substances, this is documented as a REC. Common examples of RECs include:

  • Underground storage tanks
  • On-site hazardous materials storage
  • Past industrial or commercial uses involving chemicals
  • Spills or leaks identified in records

Why Do RECs Matter?

Recognized Environmental Conditions are an important consideration for anyone involved in real estate transactions or property development projects. Identifying RECs is crucial because it:

  • Helps assess environmental liability and risk
  • Triggers the need for further environmental investigation
  • Impacts the value, use, and redevelopment potential of a property
  • Can lead to requirements for cleanup or mitigation efforts

Ultimately, properly identifying and addressing RECs is essential for protecting human health, the environment, and your investment in a property. By understanding what a REC is and how it’s identified, you can make more informed decisions and better manage environmental risks.

Nicholas Moran

Nicholas Moran

Nicholas Moran grew up in sunny south Florida and lives in Boca Raton. He studied geologist and is a licensed professional geologist. He helps environmental and engineering companies implement software solutions to improve their efficiency and effectiveness and is Senior Geologist at MORAN ROCKS LLC, a boutique environmental consulting firm that uses the latest technology and workflow solutions to deliver personalized service at competitive prices.