In November 2021, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) published an update (ASTM E1527-21) to the standard governing Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs). On December 15, 2022, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) published a Final Rule amending Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)’s All Appropriate Inquires (AAI) Rule to accept ASTM E1527-21 as the standard that meets AAI requirements. This Final Rule goes into effect on February 13, 2023*.
What Are the Significant Changes?
Significant Changes from ASTM E1527-13 to E1527-21 include the following:
- Revised and clarified definitions for Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs), Historic Recognized Environmental Conditions (HRECs) and Controlled Recognized Environmental Conditions (CRECs).
- New requirements for research regarding the historical usage of the subject property and the surrounding area. This includes an emphasis on identifying historical uses of adjoining properties to identify the likelihood that past uses of these properties may lead to RECs for the subject property.
- Clarifications and revisions to what information must be included in the Phase I ESA report, including specific information that must be included in the site plan and photographic log.
- Clarifications to the 180-day shelf life for a Phase I ESA report, including specifying dates at which the 180-day period begins.
- Includes emerging contaminants, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) or other compounds not currently defined as “hazardous substances” under CERCLA as a common non-scope consideration to be evaluated during commercial real estate transactions.
- A formal definition for “significant data gaps”. Discussion of significant data gaps was included in the previous standard; however, the term was not defined.
How Does This Affect PWGC’s Clients?
Overall, PWGC’s clients will likely not notice major differences in our Phase I ESAs prepared under the new standard, other than minor modifications on how some of the information in the report is presented. Fortunately, PWGC has always gone above and beyond the bare minimum level of effort to meet ASTM requirements, so most, if not all the additional information required under the new standard is already included in PWGC’s Phase I ESAs.
*As part of the Final Rule, the previous ASTM standard for Phase I ESA’s (ASTM E1527-13) has been granted a one-year sunset period through February 2024.
Please contact Tom Melia, PG, Vice President, at 631-589-6353 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.