Effective February 14, 2024, the landscape of environmental site assessments will witness a shift with the implementation of the ASTM E1527-21 Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) standard. This updated standard brings forth several changes aimed at enhancing the accuracy, consistency, and relevance of environmental assessments in today's ever-evolving regulatory environment. 

Here's a breakdown of what these changes mean and how they may impact property stakeholders: 

Modified Definitions: ASTM E1527-21 introduces modified REC, CREC, HREC and BER definitions as well as including a definition for significant data gap and the introduction of a new term, property use limitation. These changes provide the user a clearer framework for classifying environmental conditions enhancing the reliability and consistency of assessments. 

Introduction of Emerging Contaminants: One notable change in the updated standard is the inclusion of emerging contaminants to the list of non-scope considerations that users may choose to address as part of a Phase I. This allows users to evaluate potential risk should substances that have not yet been classified as hazardous under CERCLA be identified at their properties.

Expanded Historical Research: ASTM E1527-21 provides a clearer framework for conducting historical research, emphasizing the “Big 4” (fire insurance maps, aerial photographs, topographic maps and city directories) for not only the Subject Property but also adjoining sites.  The new standard provides an expanded list of other types of historical sources that can be used and expands AUL/Lien search requirements from at least 1980 to the present. These changes provide a more comprehensive picture of the historical use of an area and bring consistency to research in assessments.  

By understanding the changes and taking proactive steps to adapt, together we can uphold the highest standards of quality, compliance, and environmental stewardship.  

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