Environmental Site Assessments Section

"Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) section staff apply geologic principles and environmental knowledge to identify problems and hazards created by previous use of the land or by natural conditions, and to determine how these might affect plans for future use of the land." - (portion of the ESA Section mission statement)

What is Special about the ISGS PESA Program?

Environmental site assessments (ESAs) have become an important component of real estate transactions, especially for commercial and industrial property. The interagency relationship that the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) have forged over the years has proven to be a highly effective and yet unique program.

There are few transportation agencies around the country that even approach the level and scope of cooperative efforts that have existed between IDOT and the ISGS since 1989. This annually renewed service contract relationship has helped bring the best geoscience and environmental information to bear uniformly on the transportation planning challenges throughout all of Illinois. Otherwise, without this program and its institutional memory, the IDOT offices throughout the state would have to shoulder more of the burden without the technically unbiased expertise of the ISGS.

In support of IDOT planning efforts, the ISGS has developed and maintained valuable relationships with other agencies, contractors, industry and landowners. Rapid access to resources kept by sister agencies, such as the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of the State Fire Marshal, help the ISGS bring the latest and best information to help spur smart growth while limiting liability even while working on projects in the most contaminated portions of the state.

While industry-standard ESAs can be rapidly completed, they typically only apply to a single property and do not include any testing to physically help screen for potential contaminants. ISGS PESA (PESAs) have historically been completed over the entire IDOT project, which can range in scope from a single property/parcel to include entire towns and include screening/testing of soil. The ISGS PESA program also does not just satisfy the industry minimum ESA requirements, but has proven to be at the cutting edge of ESA work in the state of Illinois. The ISGS PESA group is constantly developing and publishing new resources and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) datasets. Outreach programs supporting educational efforts from elementary school programs on up to graduate-level curicula are conducted annually.

Some ISGS PESA Background and Statistics

  • PESA reports completed to date (July 2013): more than 3,500
  • Number of PESAs completed on average annually: 200-300 reports
  • Longest PESA completed to date: 70 miles long


21 full-time professionals (includes geologists, physical geographers, civil engineers, environmental scientists, geophysicists, hydrogeologists, engineering geologists, and environmental health expertise)

Office Locations

Savoy (HQ-near the University of Illinois campus)
615 E. Peabody Drive
Champaign, IL 61820 
Phone: (217) 244-0028

Carterville (Southern Field Office, near the Southern Illinois University campus)
5776 Coal Drive
Carterville, IL 62918
Phone: (217) 265-8989

Chicago (Chicago Field Office)
8 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 814
Chicago IL 60603
Phone: (217) 300-1169

Lisle (Northern Field Office)
550 Warrenville Rd, Suite 250
Lisle, IL 60532
Phone: (217) 265-6581