Who Will Benefit?
Since 1984, potential environmental liability associated with hazardous materials has become a matter of utmost concern to parties involved in real estate transactions – and for good reason! In some cases, the cost of environmental cleanup has exceeded $10 million dollars; also, the creative application of legal theories has entangled parties not previously assigned liability for cleanup actions.
Consequently, environmental site assessments are a necessary and integral part of most commercial, industrial and many residential real estate transactions today. A basic guidance document for the proper performance of due diligence studies is clearly in great demand. In the absence of standardization of a research and reporting process to accomplish this task, the clients and end-users of reports generated by environmental consultants do not have uniform expectations.
The adoption of a uniform process such as that proposed by ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), will benefit all parties involved in the environmental auditing process, including buyers, sellers, and lenders alike. Approved March 15, 1993 by ASTM committee E-50, the “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process” received designation #E1527-93 and is intended to “define good commercial and customary practice in the United States of America for conducting an environmental site assessment…”