The Phase 1 ESA is the standard for due diligence to reduce risk and provide an owner the EPA innocent landowner defense from environmental liability. The current ASTM standard of 2005 supersedes the 2000 ASTM standard. The most significant changes to the standard can be summarized as follows.
1) Increases the number and scope of interviews that may be necessary;
2) Must perform appropriate historical research to search for liens or other controls associated with environmental conditions and/or the presence or cleanup of contamination;
3) Increases the historical sources of information for the Property that must be reviewed. Additional possible sources of information include additional interviews, specifically of government official or others who have knowledge of the past uses of the Property;
4) Data gaps of historical information must be specified, along with a professional evaluation of their significance. The new standard for ESA projects essentially provides new guidance to help the environmental professional performing ESA projects to obtain necessary information. However, the professional still has the responsibility to decide what the necessary research information is to evaluate environmental conditions.
The standard provides specific new guidance to environmental professionals to follow to minimize risk for owners of real property. ERAS does not believe the new standard will greatly affect the cost or turnaround time for ESA projects. ERAS has always met or exceeded the current standards. Additional research or investigation has and will be recommended, if necessary, to adequately assess environmental risk.