The following post is provided by our guest author, Graham Crockford from TRC Environmental Corporation. Graham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On November 6, 2013, the final version of ASTM E1527-13: Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process was released with an effective date of November 6, 2013. On December 30, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule adopting ASTM E1527-13 as a standard satisfying All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Meeting the AAI requirements is essential so that an owner or operator can qualify for the bona fide prospective purchaser, innocent landowner or contiguous property owner’s defenses to CERCLA strict liability.
Differences between the 2005 and 2013 ASTM standards includes clarification of terminology and affirmation of existing due diligence practices, the timing and cost of the due diligence assessments can be impacted. Some specifics:
Vapor Intrusion – Previously the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) exclusion had been used as a rationale not to consider vapor migration/intrusion in a Phase I investigation. However, the IAQ exclusion has been clarified. The new standard indicates that the IAQ exclusion applies to issues that are unrelated to releases of hazardous substance or petroleum products into the environment. This implies that an issue with IAQ related to a release of a hazardous substance or petroleum products would be within the scope of the Phase I ESA.
Soil Vapor has been added as a type of contamination by definition within the updated standard.
Agency File Reviews – New section added – If the target property or any adjoining property is identified in the environmental database search, pertinent regulatory files and or records associated with the listing should be reviewed. If the Environmental Professional (EP) feels that that a file review is not needed, the EP must provide justification in the Phase I report. The EP may review records from alternative sources such as: user-provided information; on-site records; and interviews with regulatory officials. Information obtained in the file review shall be summarized within the Phase I report and the EP must provide an option of the adequacy of the information obtained.
Revisions to User Responsibilities
If the user does not supply information as required under the User Responsibilities section of the standard, the EP may need to consider and treat this as a data gap.