Phase One Environmental Site Assessment
ASTM STANDARD 1527-00 DOCUMENT SUMMARY
Copyright 2003 ASTM International. All rights reserved.
E1527-00 Standard Practice for Environmental
Site Assessments: PHASE 1 Environmental Site Assessment Process
Developed by Subcommittee: E50.02
Book of Standards Volume: 11.04
1.1 Purpose -The purpose of this practice, as well as Practice E1528,
is to define good commercial and customary practice in the United States
of America for conducting an environmental site assessment of a parcel
of commercial real estate with respect to the range of contaminants
within the scope of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation
and Liability Act (CERCLA) and petroleum products . As such, this practice
is intended to permit a user to satisfy one of the requirements to qualify
for the innocent landowner defense to CERCLA liability: that is, the
practices that constitute "all appropriate inquiry into the previous
ownership and uses of the property consistent with good commercial or
customary practice" as defined in 42 USC [section]9601(35)(B).
(See Appendix X1 for an outline of CERCLA's liability and defense provisions.)
1.1.1 Recognized Environmental Conditions -In defining a standard
of good commercial and customary practice for conducting an environmental
site assessment of a parcel of property , the goal of the processes
established by this practice is to identify recognized environmental
conditions . The term recognized environmental conditions means the
presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum
products on a property under conditions that indicate an existing
release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any
hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the
property or into the ground, groundwater, or surface water of the
property . The term includes hazardous substances or petroleum products
even under conditions in compliance with laws. The term is not intended
to include de minimis conditions that generally do not present a material
risk of harm to public health or the environment and that generally
would not be the subject of an enforcement action if brought to the
attention of appropriate governmental agencies.
1.1.2 Two Related Practices -This practice is closely related to
Practice E1528. Both are environmental site assessments for commercial
real estate . See 4.3.
1.1.3 Petroleum Products - Petroleum products are included within
the scope of both practices because they are of concern with respect
to many parcels of commercial real estate and current custom and usage
is to include an inquiry into the presence of petroleum products when
doing an environmental site assessment of commercial real estate .
Inclusion of petroleum products within the scope of this practice
and Practice E 1528 is not based upon the applicability, if any, of
CERCLA to petroleum products . (See Appendix X1 for discussion of
petroleum exclusion to CERCLA liability.)
1.1.4 CERCLA Requirements Other Than Appropriate Inquiry -This practice
does not address whether requirements in addition to appropriate inquiry
have been met in order to qualify for CERCLA's innocent landowner
defense (for example, the duties specified in 42 USC [section]9607(b)(3)(a)
and (b) and cited in Appendix X1).
1.1.5 Other Federal, State, and Local Environmental Laws -This practice
does not address requirements of any state or local laws or of any
federal laws other than the appropriate inquiry provisions of CERCLA's
innocent landowner defense . Users are cautioned that federal, state,
and local laws may impose environmental assessment obligations that
are beyond the scope of this practice. Users should also be aware
that there are likely to be other legal obligations with regard to
hazardous substances or petroleum products discovered on property
that are not addressed in this practice and that may pose risks of
civil and/or criminal sanctions for non-compliance.
1.1.6 Documentation- The scope of this practice includes research
and reporting requirements that support the user's ability to qualify
for the innocent landowner defense. As such, sufficient documentation
of all sources, records, and resources utilized in conducting the
inquiry required by this practice must be provided in the written
report (refer to 7.1.8 and 11.2).
1.2 Objectives -Objectives guiding the development of this practice
and Practice E 1528 are (1) to synthesize and put in writing good commercial
and customary practice for environmental site assessments for commercial
real estate , (2) to facilitate high quality, standardized environmental
site assessments , (3) to ensure that the standard of appropriate inquiry
is practical and reasonable, and (4) to clarify an industry standard
for appropriate inquiry in an effort to guide legal interpretation of
CERCLA's innocent landowner defense .
1.3 Considerations Beyond Scope -The use of this practice is strictly
limited to the scope set forth in this section. Section 12 of this practice,
identifies, for informational purposes, certain environmental conditions
(not an all-inclusive list) that may exist on a property that are beyond
the scope of this practice but may warrant consideration by parties
to a commercial real estate transaction.
1.4 Organization of This Practice -This practice has several parts
and two appendixes. Section 1 is the Scope. Section 2 is Referenced
Documents. Section 3, Terminology, has definitions of terms not unique
to this practice and descriptions of terms unique to this practice and
acronyms. Section 4 is Significance and Use of this practice. Section
5 describes User's Responsibilities. Sections 6 through 11 are the main
body of the PHASE I Environmental Site Assessment, including evaluation
and report preparation. Section 12 provides additional information regarding
non-scope considerations (see 1.3). The appendixes are included for
information and are not part of the procedures prescribed in either
this practice or Practice E1528. Appendix X1 explains the liability
and defense provisions of CERCLA that will assist the user in understanding
the user's responsibilities under CERCLA; it also contains other important
information regarding CERCLA and this practice. Appendix X2 provides
a recommended table of contents and report format for a PHASE I Environmental
Site Assessment Report.
1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns,
if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user
of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices
and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
Description of Changes
In general, the standards have a stronger emphasis on business environmental
risk as a driving force for due diligence in order to reflect the specific
business needs and concerns of users.
Specifically, among the 74 revisions to the standards, major areas of
Additions and deletions in the terminology sections, including the addition
of such terms as business environmental risk, activity and use limitations,
engineering controls, institutional controls, historical recognized environmental
condition, and material threat.
Additions to users' responsibilities, such as the requirement to make
known the reason for performing the ESA if other than to qualify for the
innocent landowner defense under CERCLA.
The requirement to provide all supporting documentation in the report
or have it adequately referenced to facilitate reconstruction of the assessment
by another environmental profession
The addition of guidance to assist users in the preparation for and selection
of an environmental professional to conduct a PHASE I Site Assessment.
2. Referenced Documents
E1528 Practice for Environmental Site Assessments:
Transaction Screen Process
Assessment; Commercial real estate; Contamination; Environmental control/fate;
Environmental site assessment (ESA); Site reconnaissance; environmental
site assessments (ESA)-phase I: assessment process; 13.020.30
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