The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to amend the standards and practices for conducting all appropriate inquiries under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) to remove the reference to ASTM International’s E1527-05 standard practice. This 2005 standard practice recently was replaced with updated standard E1527-13 by ASTM International, a widely recognized standards development organization. Specifically, EPA is proposing to amend the “All Appropriate Inquiries o remove the reference to ASTM International’s E1527-05 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.”
When the new ASTM standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (E1527-13) came out, EPA’s initial response was to allow either ASTM Standard E1527-05 or E1527-13 to achieve All Appropriate Inquiry. EPA received negative comments on its approach to allow reliance on either standard. Specifically, many of the public comments predicted confusion regarding the applicability of the dual standards and predicted widespread reliance on the older and less stringent (but somewhat less expensive) standard.
In response to the public comments, EPA issued this latest proposed rule to clarify that Phase I Environmental Site Assessments going forward must rely on the newer, more stringent ASTM Standard E1527-13 which requires soil vapor mitigation analysis and new regulatory file review requirements. Once the new rule is adopted, reliance on ASTM Standard E1527-05 will no longer be acceptable under the All Appropriate Inquiries standard.
Requiring exclusive use of ASTM 1527-13 will result in consistent due diligence requirements and expectations.