The “all appropriate inquiry” rules published by U.S. EPA will probably be updated by the end of the year to include a new standard for Phase I Assessments. The new standard will reflect a publication dated November 6, 2013 by ASTM International, ASTM- E1527-13. This replaces the current standard known as ASTM-E1527.

The new standard provides clarification for environmental professionals and Phase I ESA users. Included within the changes are the following concepts:

  1. Simplification of the definition of “recognized environmental condition”.
  2. New defined term “controlled recognized environmental condition” (CREC) to address continuing obligations and limitations on use.
  3. Vapor migration evaluations are mandatory under the new standard.
  4. Environmental professionals must explain in greater detail their rationale for reviewing or not reviewing a regulatory file.

In summary, it is likely that the EPA’s “all appropriate inquiry standard” will change to reflect the new ASTM-E1527-13 Standard published in November. The new standard should be become law sometime in late December or early January. It is important that all environmental documents be updated to reflect this new standard and care should be taken to ensure implementation of it in your business endeavors.