The standard for the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment, ASTM E1527-05, is up for renewal.  We’ve known that this was coming for quite some time, but now the decision time is upon us. 

This week ASTM met in Atlanta and the committee tasked with reviewing and updating the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Standard discussed the potential changes on the table.  After this week one or more rounds of voting will finalize the new standard.  The deadline for finalizing the new standard, with or without any changes, is 2013 – thus the new standard will be called ASTM E1527-13

Some of the suggested E1527-13 revisions could impact the industry’s understanding of environmental risk and the process for conducting Phase 1 ESAs.  A few of the more significant potential changes include:

Controlled REC:  A new type of Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) called a “Controlled REC.”  This term would apply to past or closed release incidents where the site still has low concentrations of contamination present and is subject to activity and use limitations.  This definition would be distinct from past releases that no longer represent a concern (Historic REC) versus those that impose continuing obligations on the property owner (Controlled REC).  

Vapor Encroachment:  A stronger emphasis on assessing Vapor Encroachment risk by clarifying that the definition of a “release” does include contamination in vapor phase (not just in soil or groundwater).

File Reviews:  A stronger imperative to conduct regulatory file reviews on adjacent properties.

There are several other changes on the table, including clarifications and additions to definitions.  Some of these changes could impact the cost and turnaround of the Phase 1 ESA Report, but could also raise the quality of reports across the board.  We’ll keep you posted as the new E1527 Standard shapes up and takes form.