For the first time in 8 years, a new Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) standard is expected to be issued by ASTM International. In general, the proposed ASTM E 1527-E is not expected to be a dramatic change from the current Phase 1 ESA scope, and many of the potential changes simply clarify language. Nevertheless, there are two major proposed changes that will affect the scope and cost of Phase 1 ESAs: the evaluation of vapor migration risk and expansion of agency file review. These proposed changes are slated to take effect in the fall of 2013.
The most controversial new proposed change requires an evaluation of the risk of vapor migration to the project site. Under the current standard, vapor migration evaluations usually are treated as a non-scope consideration that a client may opt for, at an additional cost. But the proposal would make such an evaluation part of a standard Phase 1 ESA. Expanding the scope of the work to make vapor migration a standard consideration will add to the time required for and cost of the report.
The proposed standard also would expand the scope of agency file reviews to adjacent properties. Presently, most Phase I ESAs involve an examination of government agency files (e.g., a NJDEP file review) for the subject property only, and only in the event the files are reasonably available for timely inspection. However, the proposal expands this requirement to also include agency file reviews for adjacent properties, if such properties appear on the environmental database search report. As with vapor migration, this new requirement not only would increase the cost of the report, it also could significantly delay its timing, given the long delays frequently encountered in obtaining access to agency records.
Finally, the definitions of several key terms are proposed to be modified. The proposed new definition for “Recognized Environmental Condition” (REC) will more closely align the term to the All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) requirements for federal innocent purchaser requirements under CERCLA. “Historical Recognized Environmental Condition” (HREC) is proposed to be used only for past releases that have been remediated to unrestricted standards. Also, a new term has been proposed: A ”Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition” (CREC) will include RECs that have been remediated, subject to engineering or institutional controls, otherwise known as activity and use limitations (AULs).
EWMA is fully aware of the proposed new changes to the ASTM standard and our team of scientists and engineers can help clients navigate the new requirements and achieve full compliance with the new requirements once they are implemented. ■
About The Author:
For more information about the proposed changes to the ASTM standard, contact Don Richardson at EWMA; call 800.969.3159, ext 186, or email
Modern Contractor Solutions, June 2013
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