Abstract of ASTM E1527-05
Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments:
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process
The purpose of this practice is to define good commercial and customary practice in the United States of America for conducting an environmental site assessment of a parcel of commercial real estate with respect to the range of contaminants within the scope of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) (42 U.S.C. 9601) and petroleum products.
As such, this practice is intended to permit a user to satisfy one of the requirements to qualify for the innocent landowner, contiguous property owner, or bona fide prospective purchaser limitations on CERCLA liability (hereinafter, the "landowner liability protections," or "LLPs"): that is, the practice that constitutes "all appropriate inquiry into the previous ownership and uses of the property consistent with good commercial or customary practice" as defined at 42 U.S.C. 9601(35)(B). (See for an outline of CERCLA's liability and defense provisions.)
Controlled substances are not included within the scope of this standard. Persons conducting an environmental site assessment as part of an EPA Brownfields Assessment and Characterization Grant awarded under CERCLA 42 U.S.C. 9604(k)(2)(B) must include controlled substances as defined in the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802) within the scope of the assessment investigations to the extent directed in the terms and conditions of the specific grant or cooperative agreement. Additionally, an evaluation of business environmental risk associated with a parcel of commercial real estate may necessitate investigation beyond that identified in this practice (see Sections 1.3 and 13).
1.1.1 Recognized Environmental Conditions
In defining a standard of good commercial and customary practice for conducting an environmental site assessment of a parcel of property, the goal of the processes established by this practice is to identify recognized environmental conditions.
The term recognized environmental conditions means the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate an existing release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the property or into the ground, ground water, or surface water of the property. The term includes hazardous substances or petroleum products even under conditions in compliance with laws. The term is not intended to include de minimis conditions that generally do not present a threat to human health or the environment and that generally would not be the subject of an enforcement action if brought to the attention of appropriate governmental agencies. Conditions determined to be de minimis are not recognized environmental conditions.
1.1.2 Petroleum Products
Petroleum products are included within the scope of this practice because they are of concern with respect to many parcels of commercial real estate and current custom and usage is to include an inquiry into the presence of petroleum products when doing an environmental site assessment of commercial real estate. Inclusion of petroleum products within the scope of this practice is not based upon the applicability, if any, of CERCLA to petroleum products. (See X1.7 for discussion of petroleum exclusion to CERCLA liability.)
1.1.3 CERCLA Requirements Other Than Appropriate Inquiry
This practice does not address whether requirements in addition to all appropriate inquiry have been met in order to qualify for the LLPs (for example, the duties specified in 42 U.S.C. 9607(b)(3)(a) and (b) and cited in Appendix X1, including the continuing obligation not to impede the integrity and effectiveness of activity and use limitations (AULs), or the duty to take reasonable steps to prevent releases, or the duty to comply with legally required release reporting obligations).
1.1.4 Other Federal, State, and Local Environmental Laws
This practice does not address requirements of any state or local law.