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New Year’s resolution: Use the correct ASTM standard for Phase I environmental site assessments

On February 13, 2024, the ASTM 1527-13 standard for Phase I environmental site assessments will phase out and no longer satisfy All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI), as defined by the EPA. Instead, consultants should perform Phase Is after this date pursuant to the newer ASTM 1527-21 standard to meet the requirements of AAI.

In addition to identifying environmental issues at a subject property, Phase Is are often used by buyers in real estate transactions to satisfy their compliance with AAI and avail themselves of CERCLA defenses to liability. Additionally, lenders often require Phase Is performed in accordance with the correct standards, and other state programs that require Phase Is may update guidance or revise regulations to adopt the new ASTM 1527-21 standard. 

From a practical standpoint, there should not be a significant learning curve or delay after the old standard sunsets.  Many consultants began performing Phase Is pursuant to ASTM 1527-21 in 2023.  However, it is an easily overlooked component of a Phase I that buyers and other parties to real estate transactions should closely scrutinize in the months following the phase out date.  

Specifically, this final rule amends the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule (AAI rule) to reference ASTM International's E1527–21 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process” and allow for its use to satisfy the requirements for conducting all appropriate inquiries under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and to remove after one year recognition of the previous version of that standard, ASTM E1527–13, as compliant with the AAI rule.


esg, astm, phase 1, environmental site assessment