Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process for Forestland or Rural Property
|Publication Date:||10 November 2002|
|ICS Code (Environmental management):||13.020.10|
Purpose - The purpose of this practice is to define good commercial and customary practice in the United States of America for conducting a Phase I environmental site assessment of a property 120 acres or greater of forestland or rural property or with a developed use of only managed forestland and/or agriculture with respect to the range of contaminants within the scope of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and petroleum products. The property need not be adjoining; however, the separate areas should have substantially the same general land use and be part of the same transaction. The property may contain isolated areas of non-forestland and non-rural property. As such, this practice is intended to permit a user to satisfy one of the requirements to qualify for the innocent landowner defense to CERCLA liability; that is, the practices that constitute "all appropriate inquiry into the previous ownership and uses of the property consistent with good commercial or customary practice" as defined in 42 USC § 9601(35)(B). (See Appendix X1 for an outline of CERCLA's liability and defense provisions).
Recognized Environmental Conditions - In defining a standard of good commercial and customary practice for conducting an environmental site assessment of a parcel of property, the goal of the processes established by this practice is to identify recognized environmental conditions. The term recognized environmental conditions means the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate an existing release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the property or into the ground, groundwater, or surface water of the property. The term includes hazardous substances or petroleum products even under conditions in compliance with laws. The scope of the work in Section 12 (Non-Scope Considerations) also applies to conditions that would affect the quality of water and threatened and endangered species on a property (as defined in the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act specific to non-point source BMP deviations and the taking of threatened and endangered species). The term is not intended to include de minimis conditions that generally do not present a material risk of harm to public health or the environment or that generally would not be the subject of an enforcement action if brought to the attention of appropriate governmental agencies.
Three Related Practices - This practice is closely related to Practices E 1527 and E 1528. Both E 1527 and E 1528 are environmental site assessments for commercial real estate (see 4.3). This practice also shares similar protocols with Appendix guidance documents X3 and X4: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Guides for Clean Water Act Non-Point Source Considerations and Threatened and Endangered Species Considerations on Forestland or Rural Property.
Petroleum Products - Petroleum products are included within the scope of this practice because they are of concern with respect to many parcels of forestland or rural property and current custom and usage is to include an inquiry into the presence of petroleum products when doing an environmental site assessment of forestland or rural property. Inclusion of petroleum products within the scope of this practice is not based upon the applicability, if any, of CERCLA to petroleum products. (See Appendix X1 for discussion of petroleum exclusion to CERCLA liability.)
CERCLA Requirements Other Than Appropriate Inquiry - This practice does not address whether requirements in addition to appropriate inquiry have been met in order to qualify for CERCLA's innocent landowner defense (for example, the duties specified in 42 USC § 9607(b)(3)(a) and (b) and cited in Appendix X1).
Other Federal, State, and Local Environmental Laws - This practice does not address requirements of any state or local laws or of any federal laws other than the appropriate inquiry provisions of CERCLA's innocent land-owner defense. Users are cautioned that federal, state, and local laws may impose environmental assessment obligations that are beyond the scope of this practice. Users should also be aware that there are likely to be other legal obligations with regard to hazardous substances or petroleum products discovered on a property that are not addressed in this practice and that may pose risks of civil and/or criminal sanctions for non-compliance.
Documentation - The scope of this practice includes research and reporting requirements that support the user's ability to qualify for the innocent landowner defense. As such, sufficient documentation of all sources, records, and resources utilized in conducting the inquiry required by this practice must be provided in the written report (refer to 7.1.8 and 11.2).
Objectives - Objectives guiding the development of this practice are (1) to synthesize and put in writing good commercial and customary practice for environmental site assessments for forestland or rural property, (2) to facilitate high quality, standardized environmental site assessments, (3) to ensure that the standard of appropriate inquiry is practical and reasonable, and (4) to clarify an industry standard for appropriate inquiry in an effort to guide legal interpretation of CERCLA's innocent landowner defense.
Considerations Beyond Scope - The use of this practice is strictly limited to the scope set forth in this section. Section 12 of this practice identifies, for informational purposes, certain environmental conditions (for example, threatened and endangered species and non-point source considerations) that may exist on a forestland or rural property that are beyond the scope of this practice but may warrant discussion between the environmental professional and the user about a forestland or rural property transaction.
Organization of This Practice - This practice has several parts and two appendixes. Section 1 concerns the Scope. Section 2 relates to Referenced Documents. Section 3, Terminology, contains definitions of terms not unique to this practice, descriptions of terms unique to this practice, and acronyms. Section 4 describes the Significance and Use of this practice. Section 5 describes User's Responsibilities. Sections 6-11 contain the main body of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, including evaluation and report preparation. Section 12 provides additional information regarding non-scope considerations (see 1.3). The appendixes are included for information and are not part of the procedures prescribed in this practice. Appendix X1 explains the liability and defense provisions of CERCLA that will assist the user in understanding the user's responsibilities under CERCLA; it also contains other important information regarding CERCLA and this practice. Appendix X2 provides a recommended table of contents and report format for a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report. Guidance Documents X1 and X2 provide guidance to address the evaluation of non-point source and threatened and endangered species considerations, respectively.
This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
This practice offers a set of instructions for performing one or more specific operations and should be supplemented by education, experience, and professional judgment. Not all aspects of this practice may be applicable in all circumstances. This ASTM standard practice does not necessarily represent the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service must be judged, nor should this document be applied without consideration of a project's unique aspects. The word "standard" in the title means only that the document has been approved through the ASTM consensus process.