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Recognized Environmental Condition – REC

Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) is one of the terms used to identify environmental liability within the context of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. ASTM defines the recognized environmental condition in the E1527-21 standard as “(1) the presence of hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on, or at the subject property due to a release to the environment; (2) the likely presence of hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on, or at the subject property due to a release or likely release to the environment; or (3) the presence of hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on, or at the subject property under conditions that pose a material threat of a future release to the environment.”

The new ASTM 1527-21 definition for REC includes a discussion for further clarification:

  • “For the purposes of this definition, “likely” is that which is neither certain nor proved, but can be expected or believed by a reasonable observer based on the logic and/or experience of the environmental professional, and/or available evidence, as stated in the report to support the opinions given therein.”
  • “A de minimis condition is not a recognized environmental condition.”

The E1527-21 standard modified the Recognized Environmental Condition definition from that within the previous E1527-05 and -13 versions, with the intention of making it clearer and simpler to understand. In addition, the new ASTM Standard 1527-21 offers a simplified Logic Diagram in the appendix to help in breaking down the designation of a REC, CREC, HREC, or De Minimis.

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