Property Transactions & Redevelopment


Assessments are a critical process in evaluating the risks associated with potential environmental impacts to a property prior to purchase, divestiture, redevelopment, or leasing.  Environmental impacts that are not identified prior to sale or redevelopment can adversely affect development of the property or result in unexpected liability placed on the purchaser for cleanup. Higgins specializes in the following services:

Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are designed to evaluate any potential environmental risks associated with a specific property. Higgins has conducted hundreds of assessments, ranging from vacant lots to oil and gas production fields with hundreds of wells. Our extensive experience has allowed us to develop procedures and checklists that allow us to perform assessments quickly and still be cost effective.

Environmental impacts may adversely affect the planned use of a property or result in unexpected liability to a property owner/operator. We make sure to give our clients the information they need to make informed decisions. Most Phase I assessments adhere to a scope of work set by the industry standard methods of ASTM E1527-13. However, Phase I assessments can come in many forms and scopes of work, which are prepared based on the unique needs of the client.

Phase II Investigations

Higgins qualified staff has performed hundreds of Phase II investigations across the United States at facilities such as gas stations, bulk fuel terminals, dry cleaners, oil and gas production sites, and heavy industrial sites. The scope of each Phase II Investigation varies based on the client’s risk tolerance, the geology and hydrogeology, the site’s prior uses and size, environmental regulations, and planned future site use. The appropriate scope may range from limited sampling to extensive investigations involving geophysical methods, vapor points, wells, and/or test pits.

Business Risk Evaluations

Assessing risk is critical to evaluating if a property is suitable for it’s planned use. The Higgins EHS team specializes in mitigating client risk for potential exposure to environmental impacts, regulatory involvement, and cleanup costs. Higgins experienced and trained staff assists our clients with the evaluation of risks so that clients can make informed business decisions. Contamination on a property does not necessarily mean that a site cannot be developed. However, risk must be managed in order to mitigate liability.

Higgins staff works with clients to develop site-specific management strategies based on applicable regulations, the type of chemicals or compounds present in the subsurface, the potential exposure routes, and our client’s overall objectives. We then develop comprehensive plans for the management of environmental risk, which may involve implementation of engineering controls or institutional controls (or both when needed).

Remediation Cost Estimates

Property transactions often require remediation cost estimates to support negotiations between the property buyer and seller. Higgins senior staff develops conceptual remedial solutions and reasonable cost estimates based on experience and reasonable assumptions. Our experience with hundreds of different cleanup projects allows us to provide this strong support.

Litigation and Regulatory Support

Higgins can provide expert testimony defending and supporting our clients' position throughout the legal process, including expert testimony in court proceedings. Our experience covers environmental issues such as environmental impairment due to accidental releases of chemicals, and health and safety issues, including litigation associated with fatalities.

Higgins extensive experience working with regulatory agencies allows us to quickly assess the problem and to negotiate/communicate with regulatory agencies to determine the next steps to achieve the best possible outcome.