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U.S. EPA Incorporates Latest Revision to ASTM Environmental Site Assessment Standard in All Appropriate Inquiry


On Dec. 30, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a final rule that incorporates the latest version of ASTM International standard E1527-13, Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process, in the performance of all appropriate inquiries when conducting environmental site assessments.

The EPA’s Final Rule, which went into effect upon publication, amends the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule in 40 CFR Part 312 to reference E1527-13, in order to make clear that persons conducting all appropriate inquiries under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act may use the procedures included in the recently revised E1527-13 to comply with the AAI rule.

ASTM standard E1527 describes the Phase I ESA process, which is used in conducting research to identify the potential for releases of hazardous substances or petroleum products that could lead to liability to new property owners if not identified, evaluated, addressed and properly managed.

According to the Federal Register notice, “Parties potentially affected by this action are those who may choose to use the newly referenced ASTM standard to perform all appropriate inquiries and include public and private parties who, as bona fide prospective purchasers, contiguous property owners, or innocent landowners, are purchasing potentially contaminated properties and intend to claim a limitation on CERCLA liability in conjunction with the property purchase.” Other impacted parties include those conducting site characterization or assessment with a brownfields grant. With this ruling, the EPA still permits use of the previous version of the standard, E1527-05.

Approved on Nov. 6, 2013, by ASTM International Subcommittee E50.02 on Real Estate Assessment and Management, part of ASTM Committee E50 on Environmental Assessment, Risk Management and Corrective Action, the latest revision of E1527 clarified language where there was inconsistency in interpretation and strengthened the deliverable that is produced at the end of the Phase I ESA process. Among the latest revisions were updates to definitions of Recognized Environmental Condition and Historical Recognized Environmental Condition. A new term, Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition (CREC), was added to the standard and defined as “past releases that have been addressed but allow contamination to remain in place subject to the implementation of required controls.

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ASTM Committee E50 Next Meeting: April 7-10, 2014, April Committee Week, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Technical Contact: Julie Kilgore, Wasatch Environmental Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, Phone: 801-972-8400;
ASTM Staff Contact: Kathleen McClung, Phone: 610-832-9717; 
ASTM PR Contact: Barbara Schindler, Phone: 610-832-9603;

Release #9542

January 2, 2014

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