Effective May 16, 2014, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will follow the lead of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by formally adopting the ASTM E 1527-13 Phase I Site Assessment Standard for all instances where a Phase I is currently conducted in accordance with ASTM E 1527-05. Unlike the EPA, HUD will no longer accept Phase Is completed under the previous standard.
“HUD environmental regulations state that ‘[i]t is HUD policy that all property proposed for use in HUD programs be free of hazardous materials, contamination, toxic chemicals and gasses, and radioactive substances, where a hazard could affect the health and safety of occupants or conflict with the intended utilization of the property’ (24 CFR 50.3(i)(1)).’”
A Phase I Site Assessment is currently required by “several guidance documents throughout the Office of House/FHA”. Going forward, these Phase Is will need to be completed using the updated ASTM standard in order to ensure properties acquired by HUD are free of hazardous substances and also to protect HUD from legal risk.
A statement put out by HUD explained, “The updated standard will better equip HUD’s Office of Housing/FHA(Federal Housing Administration) staff to assess such risks as the standard includes updated definitions that will more fully inform the Office of Housing/FHA about the environmental conditions on the subject property.”
Of the major revisions to the standard, the newly defined Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition (CREC) provides an advantage to HUD by identifying environmental conditions when they have been remediated to restricted levels. Outlining CRECs specifically can help to better determine if properties are appropriate and safe for residential use.