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EPA Approves 2013 Phase I ESA Standard – Agency Says Not to Use 2005 Standard

Effective December 30, 2013, parties may use the 2013 Phase I Environmental Site Assessment standard ASTM E1527-13 to satisfy the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule, according to the EPA. And while the agency has not yet removed references to the 2005 standard in the final rule, 78 Fed. Reg. 79319 (Dec. 30, 2013), EPA clarified that it intends to issue a proposed rule to remove the references to the 2005 standard.

As stated at 78 Fed. Reg. 79320-79321, “Although today’s action will not remove the current reference in the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule to the ASTM E1527-05 standard, EPA agrees with commenters that the revised ASTM E1527-13 standard includes improvements to the previous standard and its use will result in greater clarity for prospective purchases with regard to potential contamination at a property. Therefore, EPA recommends that environmental professionals and prospective purchasers use the ASTM E1527-13 standard. In the near future, EPA intends to publish a proposed rulemaking to remove the reference to the ASTM E1527-05 standard in the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule. By taking such action the Agency’s intent will be to promote the use of the current industry standard and reduce confusion associated with the regulatory reference to a standard no longer recognized as current by ASTM International and no longer marketed by the standards development organization as reflecting its current consensus-based standard.”

Additional differences between the 2005 and 2013 Phase I ESA standard are discussed in the final rule preamble and EPA’s “Summary of Updates and Revisions to ASTM E1527 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process: How E1527-13 Differs from E1527-05” posted in EPA Docket ID No.  EPA-HQ-SFUND-2013-0513.