Environmental and Real Estate Transaction Due Diligence – Real Estate Refinancing, Property Acquisition, Business Risk, Permitting, Regulatory Compliance;

Environmental Project Management

On larger or more complicated urban brownfield redevelopment, new greenfield construction or utility corridor installation projects, GEOTHINK offers Environmental Project Management from start to the completion of the project. Our services would include development of a Project Plan and Budget to manage all natural resource assessments, environmental impacts and necessary regulatory permitting to allow the general contractor to commence construction, while protecting lands and waters. Our project team would be responsible for contracting and coordination of professionals to conduct archeological study, asbestos surveys, bio-assay assessments, ecological restoration, endangered species consultation, geotechnical investigation, GPR scans, groundwater assessment, Phase I and Phase II assessments, regulatory compliance, storm water design, site remediation, tree surveys, wetland delineations, wetland mitigations and/or UST removals.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA)

Site inspection and regulatory database review (State & Federal records) of subject property and adjoining properties to identify potential “recognized environmental concerns” (RECs) that could pose environmental/business liability risk to property owner, and/or financial institution using said property as loan “collateral”. Generally, Phase I ESA follows ASTM E-1527-13 (American Society of Testing and Materials) guidelines and does not include physical sampling of the building materials, and/or soils or groundwater. Report findings recommend further investigation (Phase II ESA) or no RECs identified (no further investigation).

Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (Phase II ESA)

Based on the REC finding and recommendations of the Phase I ESA report, a Phase II assessment may include physical sampling of building materials for lead, asbestos or mold testing, and/or subsurface investigation using boring and wells to collect soil, groundwater or soil gas samples for lab testing for potential contaminants of concern (COCs) the results are then compared to individual State cleanup limits. Phase II report identifies location(s) i.e. drums, USTs (underground storage tanks), ASTs (above ground storage tanks), floor drains, utility conduits and/or building materials; and provides recommendations for further investigation or mitigation/remediation of problem areas, or testing results did not identify contamination issues warranting further corrective actions.

Residential Habitat Management

Private land owners interested in making the most out of their woodland, prairie, or wetland can contract GEOTHINK to create a habitat management plan that is designed specifically for your property. GEOTHINK utilizes their 40+ years of combined experience in understanding native flora and fauna to carefully execute conservation practices in order to bring the client to their land management goals. Whether you are interested in creating habitat for a specific species of wildlife, or would like to establish a safe haven for pollinators (and anything in between), GEOTHINK can get it done.

Environmental Audit

is performed on an industrial or manufacturing facility that as part of its daily business operations generates, handles or recycles waste(s), waste byproducts, and/or produces raw or virgin chemicals for distribution. These kinds of businesses have special permits that require quarterly to annual reporting to state or federal regulators to document their compliance with applicable OSHA, NPDES, EPA and State agencies. GEOTHINK conducts the audit by observing all faucets of the business operations to audit waste generation and/or chemical production processes handling, storage containers, record keeping, reporting, emergency response, safety compliance actions, violation resolution, and health and safety training. An Audit report is generated for Client eyes only that identifies areas of concern that require corrective actions and budget considerations.

Brownfield Evaluation

A former industrial or commercial site that is abandoned, vacant or underutilized (Brownfield) and its future use is affected due to real or perceived threats of environmental contamination. The evaluation of the redevelopment potential for an unproductive site is performed through regulatory database and zoning search and by conducting soil/groundwater investigation testing to identify, if any, those areas requiring remediation to prepare the property for redevelopment.


is the reversing or stopping of environmental damage to soils, waters, air or building materials. This can involve various remediation options for Client consideration on a site specific basis depending upon contaminant type(s), concentrations, regulatory cleanup standards, local geology and groundwater conditions, access to utilities, property transaction deadlines, planned use or re-use of building or property, available time and financial stability of Client.


any new construction on a site that has had prior land uses and detrimental impacts may involve environmental remediation, building demolition, re-zoning, storm water design, and possible mixed use project construction to restore community tax base and economic vitality.

On behalf of our Clients, GEOTHINK collaborates with architects, developers, general contractors, civil engineers, attorneys and municipal / state officials to develop, design, permit and then build out the Redevelopment in compliance with applicable city, county, state and federal regulations.

Property Risk Evaluation for Redevelopment / Repurposing

Current property owners and/or prospective buyer (s) of existing commercial, industrial or special use sites need a property risk evaluation to identify real or perceived threats of environmental contamination. The evaluation of the redevelopment or repurposing potential for a specific property involves background and records research, regulatory database and zoning search while a drive-by reconnaissance is conducted and no physical testing of property building(s) and soils is performed. This evaluation includes no actual site visit and the property risk report identifies current site limitation(s) and recommendations for or against purchase, and whether Phase I and Phase II ESAs are needed to better quantify risk.

Contamination Characterization

investigative sampling and testing of soil, water or air mediums to determine types of contamination and its concentrations, depths, and locations above regulatory limits; what are the potential exposure pathways and what are the risks of contamination exposure to human health and the environment.

Remediation Options

Upon completion of Site Investigation or Groundwater Assessment Report(s) that has identified the contaminants of concern (COCs) and defined the extent of soil, soil vapor and/or groundwater contamination limits, GEOTHINK reviews prior data and prepares several remediation options and their associated budget costs and limitations. Options may include on-site treatment and encapsulation beneath engineered barriers, on-site soil vapor extraction, on-site groundwater treatment, in-situ bio-chemical treatment, direct injection of oxidizers or bioremediation agents, and/or excavation and landfill disposal. Once a remediation option is selected, then a Remediation Work Plan is generated and submitted to the necessary regulatory agency for approval before commencement of corrective actions.

Wetland Delineation

is the physical mapping and survey of wetland community boundary limits based upon the soil types, hydrology and vegetation conditions that meet the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) 1987 Manual and Regional Supplements definition. Land use determinations can then be made based on wetland locations and their associated protected buffer zones. Wetland delineation is the first step towards generating regional or individual permit application to Corps.

Permit Applications / Completions for Wetland, Storm Water and Ecological Impacts

As part of the process to redevelop, develop or repurpose agricultural, residential, commercial or industrial property, a project team comprised of property owner or developer, architect, civil engineer, environmental-ecological consultant, general contractor and/or financial institution, develop a Site Plan that identifies the necessary permits to allow construction to proceed that provides sustainable healthy lands and waters on the project site. We collaborate with the project team to apply and obtain necessary Permits from federal, state and county regulators for wetland impacts and mitigation, storm water impacts and construction, grading changes, pollution prevention, environmental cleanup, and green space.

Flora and Fauna Assessments / Surveys

is the physical survey of site(s) to determine the existing flora (vegetation types, plant density and communities) and fauna (wildlife types, habitat and density) on the primary property. The floristic quality index provides a low to high quality ranking of the native or non-native plant communities that may indicate disturbed to exceptional natural resources like woodlands, prairie, wetlands and dunes. This information can be used for specific wetland, storm water, environmental, and/or redevelopment Permit Applications.

Wetland Restoration

Involves the direct management of an already existing degraded, low quality or non-functional wetland habitat(s) that can be restored to healthier, more diverse and functional wildlife habitat through development and regulatory approval of Wetland Restoration Plan. The Plan identifies the delineated wetland areas regulated by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or local county storm water ordinance and details the restoration steps of invasive species removal, improving hydrology and drainage conditions with excavation and grading work, removal of debris, seeding of native plant mixes and cover crops, installation of vegetative plugs, or prescribed fire burns, and selective herbicide treatments, and follow-up site monitoring and wetland maintenance work for 3 to 5 years.

Wetland Mitigation

Involves the on-site creation of wetland habitat in suitable or created conditions to comply with Wetland Mitigation Plan. The Plan identifies the proposed wetland impacts that need to be mitigated through federal or county regulatory permit(s) for on-site designated mitigation area. The wetland mitigation Plan is regulated by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or local county storm water ordinance and details the mitigation steps of invasive species removal, improving hydrology and drainage conditions with excavation and grading work, removal of debris, seeding of native plant mixes and cover crops, installation of vegetative plugs, or prescribed fire burns, and selective herbicide treatments, and follow-up site monitoring and wetland maintenance work for 3 to 5 years.

Threatened and Endangered Species Consultation

In the Permitting process to obtain U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Illinois DNR, Wisconsin DNR, and/or Indiana DNR regulatory compliance, and/or comply with local county storm water ordinance regulations; Threatened and Endangered (T & E) species consultation is performed for potential subject site impacts to locally listed federal and state T & E species. Depending upon the consultation results and agency responses, some form of corrective action may be required or the Permit may be modified to prohibit certain activities to protect the T & E species.

Land History Determination

employ methods and tools to supply timely, relevant and site specific information about the land use history and business operations for agricultural, residential, commercial, and/or industrial property going back potentially to the late 1800s. A historical determination of the ecological and natural resource land history of the subject property can be done by researching the Public Land Survey System records from the US Government surveys conducted in the Mid-West region in the 1820s to 1840s, based upon the township, range and section location of subject property by state.

Underground Storage Tank Removals and Closure

Commercial and Industrial property may contain underground storage tanks (USTs) used for chemical storage of petroleum fuels to chlorinated solvents to waste products. The presence of these USTs and their distribution systems are an environmental liability to the subject site from their potential leaks and spills. If the USTs are no longer necessary to the business operation, they are removed with proper state or local permits with a licensed contractor under GEOTHINK supervision. Tanks, tank contents and associated contaminated soils are handled with proper testing and documentation to improve environmental conditions at site. A number of soil confirmation samples at limits of excavation and backfilling are taken for laboratory testing to document successful closure in report to state regulators.