The fifth edition of this popular ASTM publication includes ASTM E1527-05 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I ESA Process and the EPA AAI document (40 CFR Part 312) with foreward and table of contents, as well as ASTM E1528-06 Standard Practice for Limited Environmental Due Diligence: Transaction Screen Process.
The EPA has determined that ASTM standard E1527-05 is in FULL COMPLIANCE with the requirements for conducting AAIs specified in the recently published EPA rule, "Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries."
The recent Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act sets forth as law specific eligibility conditions for achieving CERCLA liability protections know as "All Appropriate Inquiries" (AAIs). E1527 demonstrates how to conduct "all appropriate inquires . . . into the previous ownership and uses of the site in accordance with generally accepted good commercial and customary standards and practices.
Changes included within E1527-05:
The first primarily relates to expanding definitions to include new terms introduced in the 2002 act, and citing the environmental professional definition and declaration required by the EPA AAI regulation act.
The second includes specific action items required by the EPA AAI regulation. For example, an environmental professional must conduct interviews with at least one nearby property owner in the case of an abandoned property with evidence of uncontrolled access. Another example would be the specific components of a Phase I that must be conducted within 180 days prior to acquisition of a property."
The final category of revisions provides a framework and guidance on the more abstract requirements in the EPA AAI regulation, such as language about the environmental professional providing opinions regarding additional appropriate investigation, as well as data gaps affecting the environmental professional's ability to identify concerns.
In light of the new EPA AAI Regulation, the new E1528-06 has been targeted for low risk sites where CERCLA liability protection is not a concern. This should result in more transactions being subject to environmental due diligence where no environmental assessment of any kind would have occurred in the past.
Changes to E1528-06 include:
Amending the term "recognized environmental condition" to a "potential environmental concern." The new term considers the possible presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate the possibility of an existing release, a past release, or a threat of a release into structures on the property or into the ground, ground water, or surface water of the property.
ASTM Standards on ENVIRONMENTAL SITE ASSESSMENTS for COMMERICAL REAL ESTATE, 5th Edition (PRINT)