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ASTM E1527-21 Standard Guidelines for Conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments


The purpose of this standard is to establish the accepted commercial and customary practices in the United States for conducting environmental site assessments on commercial real estate parcels. These assessments are performed to evaluate potential contamination within the scope of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (42 U.S.C. § 9601) and petroleum products. This standard aims to enable users to meet one of the prerequisites for qualifying for certain CERCLA liability protections, including those for innocent landowners, contiguous property owners, or bona fide prospective purchasers. Specifically, it involves conducting comprehensive inquiries into the historical ownership and usage of the property in accordance with the standards defined in 42 U.S.C. § 9601(35)(B).

Our Environmental Database Viewer and Report Builder serve the purpose of identifying recognized environmental conditions associated with the subject property. It also extends its evaluation to nearby properties within an approximate minimum search distance. This broader assessment helps in gauging the potential risk of hazardous substances or petroleum products migrating and impacting the subject property. It's important to note that the term "approximate minimum search distance" is used in place of a fixed radius to accommodate irregularly shaped properties. Please refer to the Records Review Table for a detailed list of the required record information and the specific calculation of the approximate minimum search distance, which starts from the nearest boundary of the subject property.

Types of Government Records to be Reviewed

Standard Environmental Record Resources
(where available)
Common Sources for Government RecordsApproximate Minimum Search Distance
miles (kilometers)
Lists of Federal NPL (Superfund) sitesU.S. EPA Website and available EPA databases listing currently listed sites1.0 (1.6)
Lists of Federal Delisted NPL sitesU.S. EPA Website and available EPA databases listing delisted NPL sites0.5 (0.8)
Lists of Federal sites subject to CERCLA removals and CERCLA orders (A)U.S. EPA Websites (HQs and Regions)0.5 (0.8)
Lists of Federal CERCLA sites with NFRAP (B)U.S. EPA Website and EPA databases listing RCRA permitted or interim status facilities undergoing corrective action0.5 (0.8)
Lists of Federal RCRA facilities undergoing Corrective ActionU.S. EPA Website and available EPA databases listing RCRA permitted and interim status facilities (A)1.0 (1.6)
Lists of Federal RCRA TSD facilities (A)U.S. EPA Website and available EPA databases listing RCRA Generators of hazardous waste0.5 (0.8)
Lists of Federal RCRA generatorsU.S. EPA Website and available EPA databases listing response actions at CERCLA sites; RCRA sites with ICs/ECs, etc.Subject property and adjoining properties
Federal institutional control/engineering control registriesEPA and US Coast Guard websites and databasesSubject property only
Federal ERNS listVaries by state / tribeSubject property only
Lists of state- and tribal 'Superfund' equivalent sites (A)Varies by state / tribe1.0 (1.6)
Lists of state- and tribal hazardous waste facilitiesVaries by state / tribe0.5 (0.8)
Lists of state and tribal landfills and solid waste disposal facilitiesVaries by state / tribe0.5 (0.8)
Lists of state and tribal leaking storage tanks (A)Varies by state / tribe0.5 (0.8)
Lists of state and tribal registered storage tanksVaries by state / tribeSubject property and adjoining properties
State and tribal institutional control/engineering control registriesVaries by state / tribeSubject property only
Lists of state and tribal voluntary cleanup sites (A)Varies by state / tribe0.5 (0.8)
Lists of state and tribal brownfield sitesVaries by state / tribe0.5 (0.8)

A Records should be researched for both currently active and formerly active sites.

B Sites where, following an initial investigation, no contamination was found, contamination was removed quickly without the need for the site to be placed on the NPL, or the contamination was not serious enough to require Federal Superfund action. This should not be interpreted as there being no contamination at the site or that other regulatory agencies, such as at the State level, have not required further action. Such sites may be listed in other environmental record resources.

Additional Types of Records

Additional Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Record Sources—To enhance and supplement the standard environmental record sources in the above table, local records and/or additional federal, state, or tribal records shall be checked when, in the judgment of the environmental professional, such additional records (1) are reasonably ascertainable, (2) are sufficiently useful, accurate, and complete in light of the objective of the records review, and (3) are generally obtained, pursuant to local good commercial and customary practice, in initial environmental site assessments in the type of commercial real estate transaction involved.

  • Local Brownfield Lists
  • Local Lists of Landfill and Solid Waste Disposal Sites
  • Local Lists of Hazardous Waste and Contaminated Sites
  • Local Lists of Registered Storage Tanks
  • Local Land Records (for activity and use limitations)
  • Records of Emergency Release Reports (42 U.S.C. 11004)
  • Records of Contaminated Public Wells
  • Department of Health/Environmental Division
  • Fire Department
  • Planning Department
  • Building Permit/Inspection Department
  • Local/Regional Pollution Control Agency
  • Local/Regional Water Quality Agency
  • Local Electric Utility Companies (for records relating to PCBs)

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