Phase I Environmental Site Assessment—Probabilities and Possibilities

Apr 12, 2020

Environmental Enlightenment #245

Probability is the extent to which something is probable; the likelihood of something happening or being the case. (Google)

Probability is a scale of certainty:

How certain is it that an undeveloped piece of land will be contaminated from spills of industrial hazardous substances?

A possible event is able to be done; it is within the power or capacity of someone or something, it can happen, can be done.

How possible is it for the soil in the above site to be contaminated from spills of industrial hazardous substances?

Throw leaking drums on the land and watch!

Probability is a scale.

Possibility is a yes or no.

While it is possible for a piece of land to be contaminated, the question remains as to how probable it is.

In the Phase I environmental site assessment we deal with probabilities.

We research records, inspect the site, and arrive at an estimation of the probability for environmental infliction to have occurred.

Where we judge the probability to be beyond a certain degree of comfort, we move into Phase II: sampling of the soil, soil-vapor, or groundwater, to better ascertain that probability.

Because there are no absolutes, and because economics never justify sampling every inch of land, a degree of probability will always remain and enter our conclusions.


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