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Phase 1 Environmental Standards: What Do Users Want?

Revisions to the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Standards are under discussion

The scope of work for Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments is largely defined by ASTM Standard E1527-05 (American Society of Testing and Materials). The E1527 Standard was published first in 1993 and was updated in 1997, 2000, and 2005. The Standard is due for an update. But before the ASTM committee gets too far along, I think the most important question is: What do the users of these reports want? Do Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments generally meet your needs? I am writing this blog to collect these comments.

A few ideas that are in play:

Environmental Professional Does Site Visit

Who should do the site visit? The current standard is flexible and flexible means that for low-cost providers the site visit could be done by a 22-year-old. Would clients like to see a requirement that an environmental professional (currently defined as 5 years' experience plus an appropriate degree) do the site visit? This change would no doubt increase quality, but would likely increase price too.

Vapor Intrusion

A lot of contaminants are volatile chemicals that can migrate not only in liquid phase, but in vapor phase. These vapors can migrate up into a structure, potentially causing a minor (or less commonly, major) health risk to the tenants.

Science and regulations have advanced considerably on this subject in the past 10 years. An update to the standard will likely consider requiring more diligence on neighboring properties in support of vapor intrusion.

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