EPA Issues New Regulation for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

site assessmentEngineers should be aware that the EPA issued a final rule amending the “All Appropriate Inquiries Rule” concerning environmental site assessments of potentially contaminated sites. The EPA ruled that Phase I assessments should now reference ASTM International’s E1527-13 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process” in order to comply with the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule. The Rule provides steps that parties must take during the assessment, such as investigating the prior use and ownership of sites that may be contaminated, in order to qualify for liability protections under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Among other revisions, the new standard now requires environmental professionals to review the validity of information about properties found in agency databases rather than simply taking the info at face value. According to Lisa Rushton of the law firm Paul Hastings LLP, what this essentially means to users of the new standard is that Phase I reports may cost more money and take more time to properly perform.

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    For a company or an individual to get property in the Unified States an environmental site assessment report must be prepared. This report recognizes existing or potential environmental contamination liabilities that may be present on the property.

    This analysis, which is also known as an ESA, typically requires a look at the physical improvements that may have been done to the property over time as well as the main land. Some sites that are contaminated are known as “brownfield sites.

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