Pinnacle has assisted a number of clients in evaluating potential contamination and environmental compliance issues associated with acquisitions of industrial properties, including ethanol facilities. 

In evaluating a potential acquisition, Pinnacle recommends first conducting an ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) and Environmental Compliance Assessment (ECA) of the proposed facility and operations to determine whether any land or water based environmental issues need to be addressed in the acquisition negotiations.  The goal of the Phase I ESA is to identify recognized environmental conditions (i.e., the presence or likely presence of hazardous substances or petroleum products under conditions that indicate an existing release, past release, or material threat of release into structures on the property or into the ground, groundwater, or surface water of the property).  The goal of the ECA is to evaluate the air, water and waste permitting and compliance status of the facility to be acquired in order to determine whether any current or past environmental permitting and compliance issues exist that might impact the operational status of the facility.

This information provides a “full environmental picture” of the property, enabling the client to make knowledgeable decisions regarding the proposed acquisition.  Additionally, the due diligence efforts identify follow-up tasks to be completed concurrent with startup.

As an example, services conducted by Pinnacle at the time of transfer for a client that was purchasing an idled ethanol production facility included:

  • Timely transfer of environmental permits to the new owner;
  • Negotiations with State and Federal environmental authorities on permitting terms and emissions testing timeframes;
  • Development of environmental and record-keeping programs (including SPCC, FRP, SWPPP, PSM and RMP) to ensure compliance upon re-start of the facility;
  • Engineering review of pollution control equipment to ensure emissions testing readiness; and
  • Training on environmental matters for new and current employees at the facility.