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ASTM Issues New Phase I Standard; All Appropriate Inquiries Rule in Flux


On Wednesday, November 6th, ASTM International announced that it has officially approved and published the latest revision of its Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Protocol, E 1527-13, Standard Practice for Environmental Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.  The new standard supersedes the 2005 standard, ASTM E 1527-05, which had been deemed to satisfy EPA’s “all appropriate inquiry” (AAI) rules.  As reported in a prior edition of the Environmental Letter, EPA issued a direct final rule on August 15, 2013, that would have amended 40 CFR Part 312 to add ASTM E 1527-13 as a new and alternative standard for conducting AAI in a Phase I Environmental Site assessment.  Under the terms of the direct final rule, EPA would have allowed the 2013 ASTM standard to be used as well as the existing and less onerous 2005 ASTM standard, ASTM E1527-05, as an additional method for satisfying the rule’s requirements.

Because adverse comments were submitted on the direct final rule, EPA officially withdrew the rule on October 29th.  EPA expects to confirm whether ASTM E1527-13 is compliant by the end of 2013, which is expected to address the criticisms of the direct final rule.  Note that E 1527-13 is not officially recognized by EPA as sufficient to meet AAI until EPA issues its final rule.

The 2013 amendments to E 1527 clarify the definitions of Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) and Historical Recognized Environmental Condition (HREC).  ASTM added a new term, Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition and addressed the potential assessment for vapor migration risk.

To view a complete PDF of the September/October 2013 issue of the Environmental Letter, click HERE.

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