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Avoiding Superfund Liability: EPA Adopts New Standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

February 19, 2014Article
Primerus

On November 6, 2013, ASTM (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) revised its standard for conducting Phase I environmental site assessments, known as Standard E1527-13 (“Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process”).  ASTM E1527-13 is the first revision to the ASTM Phase I standard since its 2005 revision of the standard (known as ASTM E1527-05).

The ASTM standard is a helpful tool for parties seeking to avoid or minimize potential liability under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA,” also known as “Superfund”).  CERCLA imposes strict liability on current facility owners and past owners, as well as certain other parties, for environmental contamination on a property.  This means a purchaser and current owner of land contaminated by the actions of others could be held liable under CERCLA for cleanup of the property.

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