phase i environmental site assessment astm

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment ASTM Standard

Do you have an upcoming construction project that may be located on a contaminated site?

Developers and property owners must assess potential contaminations before finalizing any construction projects. The most common way of doing so is with an Phase I Environmental Site Assessment ASTM . This type of assessment helps identify environmental liabilities at a given site. It also helps protect professionals, buyers, lenders, and owners from legal issues down the road.

Any planned construction project should initiate an ASTM Phase I ESA to check the extent or range of the possibility of pollutants or hazardous materials at the potential work site. Knowing the details and examples of this standard can help you choose the best surveyor or professional for your project’s needs and save costs in personnel and equipment while still protecting your worksite from unforeseen hazards. We will discuss what comprises a typical ASTM Phase I ESA to properly assess locations prior to any engagements taking place.

The New Standard Procedure for Phase I Environmental Site Assessment ASTM E1527-21, Has Been Released (ESA)

The new ASTM E1527-21 Standard Practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) is an important step forward in helping to ensure the quality and integrity of such assessments. This new standard provides a more comprehensive and objective definition of what constitutes a “Recognized Environmental Condition” or”REC, which helps environmental professionals (EPs) identify potential hazards associated with properties under consideration for purchase, lease, or development. The focus on confirming the presence, likely presence, or material threat of hazardous substances or petroleum products allows environmental consultants to conduct their Phase 1 ESA with confidence.

Beyond the expanded definition of RECs, other modifications in the new ASTM E1527-21 Standard Practice include improved data collection and analysis techniques aimed at providing robust information for decision making regarding real estate transactions. Furthermore, this new standard provides clarity on acceptable due diligence techniques related to levels of inquiry into previous ownership history and activities approved by the federal EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). These changes outline what constitutes appropriate practice in conducting ESAs and gives legal standing under CERCLA to those acting reasonably when evaluating potential environmental concerns with certain property purchase decisions.

A Synopsis Of The New ASTM Standard Procedure E1527-21 For Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

The new ASTM E1527-21 standard practice for Phase I environmental site assessments replaces the existing ASTM E1527-13 Standard Practice. The revised standard is designed to simplify and improve Phase I Conducting, clarifying ambiguities from prior editions. A key modification of the new standard is the revised definition of a recognized environmental condition (REC). According to E1527-21, a REC must include one instance in which likely release is found: false positives or unknowns no longer count as RECs. This improved definition allows for more precise and accurate assessment of potential property contamination.

Additional changes have been made to the new standards including strengthening language around documentation requirements and responsibilities between parties involved in transactions. Furthermore, guidelines for gathering visual evidence have been developed for each step of a Phase I ESA, allowing inspectors to make accurate conclusions with greater confidence and deductive accuracy than before. These improvements help to protect property owners and lenders from unsuspected environmental conditions while at the same time not overlooking any potential risks that can lead to serious liabilities should they remain undetected or untested.

What You Should Know About the Changes

The changes made by the ASTM E1527-21 standard do not require a complete overhaul of the Phase I ESA process. However, this new version of the standard does come with a few key changes that should be taken into consideration when selecting an environmental consultant to conduct your Phase I ESA report.

First and foremost, the new version requires a stronger mandate for consulting firms conducting regulatory file reviews before compiling their reports. Although experienced professionals are allowed to forgo such reviews if they deem it unnecessary, they must provide an explicit explanation as to why it was left out from their respective report. The updated standards also stress more on assessing potential vapor migration damage to the subject property before completing their assessment and providing recommendations about appropriate steps to take for risk management.

All in all, it is important for clients to ensure that their policy documents reference either the “most current” ASTM E1527 standard or explicitly ASTM  E1527-21 as the agreed upon version for observance. With this added assurance, clients can be certain that they stand to benefit from its improvements and updated regulations when procuring environmental consulting services to determine property hazards and risks posed by contamination sources.

ASTM International Revises Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments

ASTM International’s environmental assessment, risk management and corrective action committee (E50) recently revised its standard practice for Phase I environmental site assessments (E1527). This updated standard sets the “good commercial and customary practice” for conducting ESAs and was approved on November 1, 2021. It provides key terminology revisions such as Recognized  Environmental Conditions (REC), Controlled Recognized Environmental Conditions (CREC) and Historical Recognized Environmental Conditions (HREC). This helps reduce misclassifications of hazardous material or petroleum products that may be present in a property. The revisions also come with an appendix offering guidance on the REC/HREC/CREC decision process, featuring a flow chart plus representative examples to enhance accuracy.

Phase I ESAs are used to aid mortgage loan underwriting, inform business decision-making, and satisfy the US EPA All Appropriate Inquiries Rule as defined by Superfund law. Over 150 industry professionals collaborated together over a period of three years to reach a consensus on this revision in order to ensure it meets both industry needs and certifies exact terminology for assessing sites. This allows more accurate reports on hazardous materials or releases present; protecting those who use the ESA standards from potential harm associated with contaminated land purchases.

Shelf Life of a Phase I ESA

The shelf life of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is an important factor to consider when acquiring property, since these reports are required by the EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) rule. Although this rule requires these documents to be completed within 180 days of acquisition, some components, such as the site visit, interviews, search for environmental clean-up liens, review of government records and EP conclusions must be completed within 180 days of acquiring property or before one year has elapsed. Traditionally, the date for these requirements was assumed to start from when the report was created. However, with the revised ASTM standard now including a requirement for the inclusion of relevant parts and the completion date of investigations on Phase I ESA, it has become easier to recognize when updates are needed.  This ensures that buyers receive information that is up-to-date and accurate while placing more responsibility on their shoulders in terms of maintaining accurate records to review at certain points in time. Being mindful of the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment cost and its associated timeframe is essential for effective property acquisition decision-making.

If you need any assistance with your Phase I Environmental Site Assessment ASTM Standard please email We look forward to hearing from you.