Phase I ESA - Cement Distribution Facility

Location: Duluth, MN
Date: June 6, 2012

On behalf of the facility owner, Allied conducted a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) of an industrial distribution facility located in Duluth Harbor along the banks of Lake Superior. At the time of assessment, the facility was being used for the storage and distribution of dry Portland cement. Although the current use of the facility did not present a significant environmental concern, exhaustive research into the history of the Subject Property and surrounding area revealed multiple recognized environmental concerns (RECs).

Allied researched several historical sources including aerial photographs, city directories, Sanborn maps, local municipal records, review of Minnesota Department of Environmental Protection files, previous assessment reports, and extensive interviews with local and state officials.


This research revealed the following RECs:

  • The Subject Property was used for industrial purposes since development in the late-1800s. Industrial operations included the storage and packaging of powder cement and lime, operation of lime kilns, and manufacturing of crates/barrels (cooperage). Information obtained through review of historical fire insurance maps indicated that lime kilns were fueled with "waste materials". Because waste materials often contain hazardous and/or petroleum-based components, the handling and burning of unspecified waste materials, and the related handling and/or disposal of waste ash, on the Subject Property was identified as a concern.
  • The Subject Property was comprised entirely of fill material of unknown origin. Filling of the Subject Property and surrounding area began in 1900 and continued through the 1970s. Previous subsurface investigations of adjoining properties indicated fill materials consisting of brick, concrete, wood, asphalt and ash. Elevated concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), metals, and petroleum hydrocarbons were detected within fill materials on the adjoining properties.
  • Previous subsurface investigations of adjoining properties indicated elevated concentrations of chromium. Due to the potential for contaminant migration to the Subject Property, the documented presence of chromium contamination on adjoining properties was identified as a concern.
  • Localized and limited oil staining was observed on concrete floors of the facility below hydraulic equipment pump, air compressors, several electric motors/pumps, and oil storage drums. However, no floor drains, cracks, penetrations, or other potential pathways to the subsurface were observed near the stained areas. This condition was identified as a de minimis condition.
  • The current occupant of the Subject Property was listed as a RCRA Generator of ignitable hazardous waste (waste oil). Based upon the absence of reported violations and the site conditions observed at the time of Allied's reconnaissance, the RCRA-CESQG database listing was not suspected to represent an existing release, past release, or material threat of release of hazardous substances or petroleum products on the Subject Property.
  • Eight PCB-containing electrical transformers were identified on the Subject Property. No staining or other indications of a release of dielectrical fluids from the transformers was identified. The presence of PCB-containing electrical transformers was considered a de minimis condition.
  • A previous asbestos inspection of the Subject Property (also conducted by Allied) identified significant quantities of asbestos-containing cement board (transite), asphaltic roofing, and floor tile.

Allied completed a comprehensive environmental site assessment of the industrial facility. By providing detailed and accurate information, Allied's assessment allowed the client to make informed decisions regarding the current property condition and a pending real estate transaction.

Back to Portfolio
Ask A Question