ASTM Publishes New Standard for Phase I ESAs. What Does it Mean?

ASTM International’s Environmental Assessment, Risk Management, and Corrective Action Committee has published its latest standard practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), a process that occurs every eight years. ASTM E1527-21 is the new standard for performing a Phase I ESA, a crucial component to the strategic management of potential environmental liabilities in real estate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and brownfield redevelopment projects. EKI’s senior practitioners excel at understanding our client’s business objectives and utilizing due diligence information to not only alert our clients about potential environmental problems, but also support their negotiation of price adjustments, deal structure, and other important contractual provisions.

EKI is incorporating the requirements of the ASTM E1527-21 standard into our due diligence process and Phase I ESA reports. The new requirements, which are mainly clarification of the requirements in the 2013 standard, will not increase the cost or time for EKI to complete our due diligence and prepare a Phase I ESA report. EKI’s Phase I ESA reports already incorporate many of the new ASTM E1527-21 revisions, such as providing a clear understanding of Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs), as well as Historical and Controlled RECs, researching historical uses of adjoining properties and potential impacts on the subject property, explaining the significance of data gaps, and providing maps and site photographs in the reports that help our clients understand the issues.

PFAS is now addressed in the new standard, although it is still considered a “non-scope consideration” and not required to be discussed within a Phase I ESA. EKI continues to offer to our clients the expertise to evaluate whether PFAS contamination may be present on a subject property. We continue to monitor state and federal legislative/regulatory efforts such as the PFAS Action Act of 2021 making its way through the U.S. Congress, that may incorporate PFAS into the definition of a “hazardous substance” under CERCLA. If such a change to the definition occurs, PFAS would no longer be considered a non-scope consideration.

Contact Paul Hoffey ( or 650.292.9100) to discuss your Phase I ESA needs or visit the ASTM website for more details regarding the new standard.