Map Showing the New House Numbering System in the City of Chicago, 1910 (courtesy of Chicago Public Library via chicagology.com)
When conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessment research, Gabriel reviews old building permits, Sanborn fire insurance maps, and other historical sources. Sometimes reviewing this information can get confusing when the streets in question no longer have the same names.
Chicago’s city street addresses didn’t become standardized until 1908. Even after that time, many streets were renamed to honor individuals or end lingering confusion stemming from pre-1908 street names (generally to eliminate duplicate street names).
For example, a building permit from the 1930s on “Garfield Avenue” would be pertinent to Phase I research for a property located on today’s “Dickens Street.” We’d have to review maps listing “Robey Street” when researching sites located along “Damen Avenue.”
Information about streets with the same name require additional scrutiny by our researchers: Lincoln Street and Lincoln Avenue; Clybourn Place and Clybourn Avenue; Washington Street, Washington Avenue, and Washington Boulevard; and Park Avenue and South Park Avenue, just to name a few.More information on these Chicago street name changes can be found on a Chicago Now blog and Chicagology.com.
During the course of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, Gabriel reviews government records from a variety of federal, state, local, and tribal agencies. We will review all pertinent records available, including, but not limited to: underground storage tanks (USTs); hazardous materials stored, used or disposed; environmental violations; building permits; occupancy permits; fire inspection records; construction permits; demolition permits; and closure projects.
These records help us determine if hazardous substances or petroleum products are currently or were previously located on the site.
Recently, Gabriel was conducting a Phase I ESA at an auto repair facility in Chicago. The current owner/occupant did not have any knowledge of USTs on the property.
However, during a search of Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) records, it was discovered that three tanks were installed at the property between 1972 and 1979, prior to the current owner purchasing the property. The previous owner had operated the property as a gas station in addition to the repair shop, so a diesel tank, gasoline tank and used oil tank had been installed.
None of these tanks had any record of removal, which means there is a strong likelihood that the tanks are still on site and possibly leaking due to their age and material.
If you have questions about how Gabriel uses government records reviews in our Phase I research, contact Natalie Neuman, Group Leader Assessment Services, at 773-486-2123 or nneuman[at]gabenv.com.