Just when you think you understand what “due diligence” means, somebody goes and changes the rules.
The standard the environmental community has used for the past 8 years for conducting Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments was revised recently by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). US EPA has now formally adopted the new standard (ASTM E 1527-13) as satisfying the “all appropriate inquiry” rule for parties seeking protection from liability under CERCLA or the Superfund law.
US EPA will remove the prior standard, ASTM 1527-5, from All Appropriate Inquiry Rule in the near future.
ASTM E 1527-13 is more stringent and adopts additional environmental conditions that must be reported. These generally deal with past remediation efforts where some contamination remains in place and the property is subject to engineering or institutional controls. Vapor intrusion must also be investigated and the impact of subsurface contamination on indoor air quality must be considered. Air quality concerns have typically been excluded from prior Phase 1 environmental audits.
Purchasers seeking liability protection under CERCLA should now instruct your environmental consultant to use ASTM E 1527-13.