EPA Publishes Direct Final Rule on New ASTM Standard for Phase I All Appropriate Inquiries

On December 15, 2022, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Final Rule to amend EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiries Rule (AAI Rule) effective February 13, 2023.   The new rule mandates use of ASTM International’s E1527-21 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments” to comply with EPA’s AAI Rule. Compliance with the AAI Rule is required to establish certain defenses pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

The AAI Rule takes effect sixty days from the date of final action, on February 13, 2023.  The former ASTM E1527-13 Phase I ESA standard will no longer be accepted by the EPA as meeting the AAI requirement after February 13, 2024 – one year after publication of this rule. Even though EPA will allow for use of the ASTM 1527-13 standard until 2024, the ASTM 1527-21 standard represents the best practices for conducting environmental assessments. As noted in our previous post, the ASTM E1527-21 standard contains numerous improvements including clarifications of key terms, an expansion in the scope of historical research, clarification of the report’s shelf life, and a recognition of emerging contaminants which the ASTM E1527-13 does not include.


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