• Michael O'Connor

Will the Phase 1 ESA ASTM Standard Be Updated in 2022?

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

ASTM E1527-13 Sunsets this year. But will we actually see an updated standard before 2023?

Nicole TK Moore at is betting on it. She serves as the National Technical Director for the Environmental Consulting Practice at Partner Engineering and Science.

According to EPA's website, the 2002 Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (the “Brownfields Amendments”) to the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund), required EPA to promulgate regulations establishing standards and practices for conducting AAI. The AAI final rule was published in the Federal Register on November 1, 2005 (70 FR 66070) and went into effect on November 1, 2006.

The ASTM E1527 committee is a group of volunteers from the national environmental science community that are reviewing the ASTM E1527-13 standard to determine how that standard has held up over the past six years in the face of a continually evolving environmental industry and regulatory community. The group met several times in 2018 with the goal to incorporate any emerging industry-wide concerns, issues, trends and developments as they relate to environmental due diligence into the new standard.

Ms. Moore adds that the committee's focus is to distill concerns within the lending and consulting communities into meaningful revisions of the standard to maximize accuracy, relevance, and usefulness of the Phase 1 ESA process. Warehousing for online retailers and affiliates has expanded dramatically over the past decade, along with the attendant data centers to manage the digital side of this disruptive departure from brick-and-mortar retail outlets.

Another market sector that has seen a huge expansion on the West Coast and in the Sun Belt is multifamily housing. Long considered lower-risk than industrial properties, many of these types of developments are being proposed and built in higher-risk locations, such as former rail yards, petroleum bulk storage terminals, and factory sites, necessitating an understanding of best practices for bringing sites with contaminated soil, groundwater, or soil vapor into compliance with stricter residential environmental cleanup standards. Moore continues that adequate due diligence for these types of developments could require a closer look at their historical industrial processes, a more robust level of inspection, and a simplification of the management tools for lower-risk sites that can be brought into compliance by way of controlling recognized environmental conditions, rather than attempting to eliminate them altogether. Keep an eye on this space for updates throughout 2021.

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