On December 30, 2013, U.S. EPA published a final rule approving the use of ASTM International’s recently updated standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ASTM E1527-13). The final rule amends the “All Appropriate Inquiries Rule” at 40 CFR Part 312, by establishing that parties seeking liability relief under CERCLA’s landowner liability protections can satisfy the criteria for all appropriate inquiries by following the procedures in the ASTM E1527-13 standard. 

ASTM International’s E1527-13 standard made several revisions to its previous E1527-05 standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments including, but not limited to, updated definitions and clarification on the requirement to assess vapor releases as a possible type of release at the subject property. The final rule notes that, in the near future, EPA intends to publish a proposed rulemaking to remove the reference to the previous ASTM 1527-05 standard from the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule.