Increased Attention To Dry Cleaners Likely Under New Property Due Diligence Requirements

Written by Steve Henshaw, President & CEO, EnviroForensics

As seen in the December 2013 issue of Cleaner & Launderer

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On November 6, 2013 ASTM E1527-13 became official as the guidance standard used by environmental consultants for conducting Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments.  Environmental Site Assessments are required by banks and lenders before those entities loan money on real estate holdings and they are designed to identify potential or existing environmental liabilities associated with the subject properties.  The reason that this is important to dry cleaners is that the new guidance puts greater emphasis on assessing the potential impacts from vapor intrusion and vapor migration on the property.  In fact, the definition of a “release” within the guidance has been changed to include contamination in the subsurface vapor phase, in addition to the soil and groundwater.

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Here Comes the Next Game Changer; Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

Written by Darci Cummings, L.P.G., Project Manager, EnviroForensics

Revisions to the standard by which Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are performed are currently in review by the U.S. EPA with some significant proposed modifications that are expected to have a considerable impact on the environmental due diligence process as we know it.  In 2005, we saw a major revamping of the Phase I ESA process in response to the 2002 enactment of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act.  Under this law, the US EPA was charged with establishing by rule the “generally accepted good commercial and customary standards and practices” that had to be followed by a party seeking immunity to CERCLA liability.  The EPA responded by establishing the All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) rule, which went into effect on November 1, 2006. Prior to establishment of the rule, Phase I ESAs were generally performed to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E 1527 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.  To meet the requirements of the EPA’s AAI rule, ASTM rolled out E 1527-05.  The varied interpretations of portions of the rule have sparked debate amongst Environmental Professionals (EPs) and other interested stakeholders over the past 7 years.  These debates have ranged from determining what really constitutes a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC), to whether or not soil vapor should be considered as a potential source of impact, to when EPs are required to do a file review.  The ASTM E 1527 standard is currently undergoing revisions that will serve to clarify the process and comply more closely with the AAI rule as it was intended.  The revised standard, to be known as ASTM E 1527-13, is currently under review by the EPA and is expected to be finalized within the first half of 2013, when it will officially replace E 1527-05.  Continue reading “Here Comes the Next Game Changer; Phase I Environmental Site Assessments”