U.S. EPA approves ASTM E1527-21 for All Appropriate Inquiries

On Your Mark

ASTM International published its revised industry standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments Designation E1527-21 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments:  Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process in November 2021.  The revised standard included new definitions for key terminology, increased historical and regulatory research requirements, expanded requirements for identifying environmental liens and land-use limitations, addition of substances not defined as a CERCLA hazardous substance (i.e., emerging contaminants, most notably per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances [PFAS]), and suggested enhancements to Phase I ESA report format.

Get Set

On December 15, 2022, the U.S. EPA published its Final Rule amending its All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) Rule at 40 CFR Part 312 to allow the use of ASTM E1527-21 to satisfy AAI requirements for parties seeking landowner liability protection relief under CERCLA and for recipients of brownfields grants for conducting site assessments.  The Final Rule is effective on February 13, 2023.  The Final Rule states that the reference in 40 CFR 312.11 to the use of ASTM E1527-13 (current standard) will be removed in one year (February 13, 2024).

It is important to remember that, although ASTM E1527 is a widely recognized standard for establishing good and customary practice for conducting Phase I ESAs, 40 CFR Part 312 is the U.S. EPA “standard.”  The U.S. EPA developed a document (EPA Comparison) comparing the differences between the AAI Rule and both ASTM E1527 standards (-13 and -21).   

When to “Go”

Here are some dates to remember:

15 December 2022 to 12 February 2023:

  • ASTM E1527-13 is the recognized standard that can be used to satisfy AAI.
  • PFAS may be considered at request/for certain types of sites and in states where regulated; contact our PFAS experts if you have any questions including PFAS in a Phase I ESA.

13 February 2023 to 12 February 2024:

  • ASTM E1527-13 and E1527-21 can be used to satisfy AAI.
  • If using ASTM E1527-21, PFAS can be included as a non-scope issue at request.
  • If and when (estimated 2023-2024) the U.S. EPA adds PFOS and PFOA to its list of hazardous substances, those PFAS will be considered like any other hazardous substance (e.g., PCE, TCE, benzene, arsenic) in a Phase I ESA.

13 February 2024: 

  • ASTM will “sunset” E1527-13 and U.S. EPA will remove the standard from 40 CFR 312.11
  • ASTM E1527-21 will be the industry standard defining good and customary practice for conducting Phase I ESAs.

EnSafe’s Phase I Leads are staying abreast of these changes. If you’re interested in learning more about the revised ASTM E1527-21 standard, contact us today.

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