New 2022 standards for Phase 1 ESAs may cause higher fees and reports to take longer, as the new ASTM standards will increase cost and workload to the environmental companies. Although the new ASTM E1527-21 standards have been written, the EPA has not enacted them yet, which gives environmental companies some time to train and make report changes.
Below, are three changes that stand out most, IMO:
1. Reports are now required to include Topographical, Aerial, City Directory and Historical Fire Maps, plus Environmental Liens back to 1980, whereas before, it was up to the discretion of the environmental company what resources were used to meet ASTM standards.
2. Definition change to "Recognized Environmental Condition" (REC). The new change of definition is supposed to better clarify what constitutes a REC, although the change doesn't seem to be any less ambiguous than before, in my opinion.
Old REC E1527-13: (1) the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on, or at a property: (1) due to any release to the environment; (2) under conditions indicative of a release to the environment; or (3) under conditions that pose a material threat of a future release to the environment.”
New REC E1527-21: (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.”
3. Although not a scope of work of a Phase 1 ESA, PFAS compounds may be considered a hazardous substance like mold or asbestos. PFAS compounds are used in basic consumer goods such as, Teflon pots and pans, carpet water repellent treatment and cosmetics. One could say that any tract with a building on it could be reported as having PFASs.
It's predicted that the new E1527-21 standards won't be implemented until the end of 2022. Until then, or until lenders request the new changes, we will continue following the current E1527-13 standards. Our fees remain the same and reports still delivered within 10 days.