ASTM E1528-00

    Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Transaction Screen Process

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    1. Scope

    1.1 Purpose -The purpose of this practice, as well as Practice E1527, is to define good commercial and customary practice in the United States of America for conducting an environmental site assessment of a parcel of commercial real estate with respect to the range of contaminants within the scope of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and petroleum products . As such, this practice is intended to permit a user to satisfy one of the requirements to qualify for the innocent landowner defense to CERCLA liability: that is, the practices that constitute "all appropriate inquiry into the previous ownership and uses of the property consistent with good commercial or customary practice" as defined in 42 USC [section]9601(35)(B). (See Appendix X1 for an outline of CERCLA's liability and defense provisions.)

    1.1.1 Recognized Environmental Conditions -In defining a standard of good commercial and customary practice for conducting an environmental site assessment of a parcel of property , the goal of the processes established by this practice is to identify recognized environmental conditions . The term recognized environmental conditions means the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate an existing release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the property or into the ground, groundwater, or surface water of the property . The term includes hazardous substances or petroleum products even under conditions in compliance with laws. The term is not intended to include de minimis conditions that generally do not present a material risk of harm to public health or the environment and that generally would not be the subject of an enforcement action if brought to the attention of appropriate governmental agencies.

    1.1.2 Two Related Practices -This practice is closely related to Practice E1527, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment . Both are environmental site assessments for commercial real estate . See 4.3.

    1.1.3 Petroleum Products-Petroleum products are included within the scope of both practices because they are of concern on many parcels of commercial real estate and current custom and usage is to include an inquiry into the presence of petroleum products when doing an environmental site assessment of commercial real estate . Inclusion of petroleum products within the scope of this practice is not based upon the applicability, if any, of CERCLA to petroleum products .

    1.1.4 CERCLA Requirements Other Than Appropriate Inquiry -This practice does not address whether requirements in addition to appropriate inquiry have been met in order to qualify for CERCLA's innocent landowner defense (for example, the duties specified in 42 USC [section]9607(b)(3)(a) and (b) and cited in Appendix X1).

    1.1.5 Other Federal, State, and Local Environmental Laws -This practice does not address requirements of any state or local laws or of any federal laws other than the appropriate inquiry provisions of CERCLA's innocent landowner defense . Users are cautioned that federal, state, and local laws may impose environmental assessment obligations that are beyond the scope of this practice. Users should also be aware that there are likely to be other legal obligations with regard to hazardous substances or petroleum products discovered on property that are not addressed in this practice and may pose risks of civil and/or criminal sanctions for non-compliance.

    1.2 Objectives -Objectives guiding the development of this practice and Practice E1527 are (1) to synthesize and put in writing good commercial and customary practice for environmental site assessments for commercial real estate , (2) to facilitate high- quality, standardized environmental site assessments , (3) to ensure that the standard of appropriate inquiry is practical and reasonable, and (4) to clarify an industry standard for appropriate inquiry in an effort to guide legal interpretation of CERCLA's innocent landowner defense .

    1.3 Considerations Beyond the Scope -The use of this practice is strictly limited to the scope set forth in this section. Section 11 of this practice identifies, for informational purposes, certain environmental conditions (not an all-inclusive list) that may exist on a property that are beyond the scope of this practice but may warrant consideration by parties to a commercial real estate transaction.

    1.4 Organization of This Practice -This practice has several parts and two appendixes. Section 1 is the Scope. Section 2 refers to other ASTM standards in the Referenced Documents. Section 3, Terminology, has definitions of terms not unique to this practice, descriptions of terms unique to this practice and acronyms. Section 4 is Significance and Use of this practice. Section 5 is the Introduction to the Transaction Screen Questionnaire. Section 6 sets forth the Transaction Screen Questionnaire itself. Sections 7 through 10 contain the Guide to the Transaction Screen Questionnaire and its various parts. Section 11 provides additional information regarding non-scope considerations (see 1.3). The appendixes are included for information and are not part of the procedures prescribed in either Practice E1527 or this practice. Appendix X1 and Practice E1527 explain the liability and defense provisions of CERCLA that will assist the user in understanding the user's responsibilities under CERCLA; it also contains other important information regarding CERCLA and this practice. Appendix X2 provides information referred to in the guide to the transaction screen questionnaire.

    1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    Description of Changes

    In general, the standards have a stronger emphasis on business environmental risk as a driving force for due diligence in order to reflect the specific business needs and concerns of users.

    Specifically, among the 74 revisions to the standards, major areas of change include:

    • Additions and deletions in the terminology sections, including the addition of such terms as business environmental risk, activity and use limitations, engineering controls, institutional controls, historical recognized environmental condition, and material threat.
    • Additions to users' responsibilities, such as the requirement to make known the reason for performing the ESA if other than to qualify for the innocent landowner defense under CERCLA.
    • The requirement to provide all supporting documentation in the report or have it adequately referenced to facilitate reconstruction of the assessment by another environmental profession
    • The addition of guidance to assist users in the preparation for and selection of an environmental professional to conduct a Phase I Site Assessment.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E1527 Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process

    E2247 Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process for Forestland or Rural Property

    Federal Statutes

    ComprehensiveEnviron as amended by Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) and Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002 (Brownfields Amendments), 42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.

    EmergencyPlanningand 42 U.S.C. 11001 et seq.

    FreedomofInformation as amended by Public Law No. 104-231, 110 Stat. 3048

    ResourceConservation as amended (RCRA), 42 U.S.C 6901 et seq.


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.020.30 (Environmental impact assessment)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 77101500(Environmental impact assessment)


    DOI: 10.1520/E1528-00

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