Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Transaction Screen Process
|Publication Date:||10 May 2000|
|ICS Code (Environmental impact assessment):||13.020.30|
1.1 Purpose--The purpose of this practice, as well as Practice E 1527, is to define good commercial and customary practice in the United States of America for conducting an environmental site assessment of a parcel of commercial real estate with respect to the range of contaminants within the scope of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and petroleum products. 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.) An evaluation of business environmental risk associated with a parcel of commercial real estate may necessitate investigation beyond that identified in this practice (see Sections 1.3 and 11).
1.1.1 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, ground water, or surface water of the property. The term includes hazardous substances or petroleum products even under conditions in compliance with laws. 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 and that generally would not be the subject of an enforcement action if brought to the attention of appropriate governmental agencies. Conditions determined to be de minimis are not recognized environmental conditions.
1.1.2 Two Related Practices--This practice is closely related to Practice E 1527, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. Both are environmental site assessments for commercial real estate. See 4.3.
1.1.3 Petroleum Products--Petroleum products are included within the scope of both practices because they are of concern on many parcels of commercial real estate and current custom and usage is to include an inquiry into the presence of petroleum products when doing an environmental site assessment of commercial real estate. Inclusion of petroleum products within the scope of this practice is not based upon the applicability, if any, of CERCLA to petroleum products.
1.1.4 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).
1.1.5 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 landowner 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 property that are not addressed in this practice and may pose risks of civil and/or criminal sanctions for non-compliance.
1.3 Considerations Beyond the Scope--The use of this practice is strictly limited to the scope set forth in this section. Section 11 of this practice identifies, for informational purposes, certain environmental conditions (not an all-inclusive list) that may exist on a property that are beyond the scope of this practice but may warrant consideration by parties to a commercial real estate transaction. The need to include an investigation of any such conditions in the scope of services should be evaluated based upon, among other factors, the nature of the property and the reasons for performing the assessment (for example, a more comprehensive evaluation of business environmental risk) and should be agreed upon as additional services beyond the scope of this practice prior to initiation of the Environmental Site Assessment process.
1.4 Organization of This Practice--This practice has several parts and two appendixes. Section 1 is the Scope. Section 2 refers to other ASTM standards in the Referenced Documents. Section 3, Terminology, has definitions of terms not unique to this practice, descriptions of terms unique to this practice, and acronyms. Section 4 is Significance and Use of this practice. Section 5 is the Introduction to the Transaction Screen Questionnaire. Section 6 sets forth the Transaction Screen Questionnaire itself. Sections 7-10 contain the Guide to the Transaction Screen Questionnaire and its various parts. Section 11 provides additional information regarding nonscope considerations (see 1.3). The appendixes are included for information and are not part of the procedures prescribed in either Practice E 1527 or this practice. Appendix X1 and Practice E 1527 explain 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 information referred to in the guide to the transaction screen questionnaire.
1.5 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.