On August 15, 2013, EPA announced that, effective November 13, 2013, it would amend its rules to authorize the use of ASTM's updated standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, ASTM E1527-13. EPA will also continue to allow the use of the previous ASTM standard, ASTM E1527-05. The updated standard provides several clarifications and updates to incorporate lessons learned over the past eight years using the previous standard. For example, the updated standard revises and clarifies several definitions and adds one of note for "controlled recognized environmental conditions," which are past releases that have undergone a risk-based closure. In addition, at EPA's request, the updated standard specifically identifies vapor migration, the release of contaminants via vapor contamination below surface, as a recognized environmental condition. The updated standard also includes revisions to make reviews of agency files more thorough and consistent. Overall, the goal of the updated standard is to make Phase I's more consistent and thorough and therefore more useful to end users.
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