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Environmental Professionals as Required by ASTM E1527 (3 Comments)

Entry by JoeDerhake


There has been much discussion about the creation of a national environmental professional registration system and having a new ASTM Standard to require that a ‘Registered’ Environmental Professional conduct a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA).

I support such a requirement, as Environmental Professionals too often have to compete with either non-professionals or professionals in a related profession who think that because they are engineers or geologists, they are qualified to complete a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.  The fact is, performing a Phase I ESA well depends heavily on experience.  Experience is what you need to uncover the less than apparent, recognized environmental conditions; it is what makes the assessor ask the less than obvious questions.

Now, I realize that there is much to work out on the subject of the environmental professional registration process.  Who will run such a program?  What will be the qualifications? Who will verify education and/or experience? Who will design the ‘test,’ if the registration includes passing a base test?   I am open to all reasonable proposals here, but I would like to offer my recommendations:

Who would run the Environmental Professional Registration Program?

I propose that the ASTM would run the National Environmental Professionals Registry Program.   The ASTM could likely charge a significant fee—good, this will serve as a barrier to entry.


Qualifications should require a combination of experience, education, and test base registration.    A professional with a strong education and state registrations would require less experience.  An individual without as much education or registrations can still become an EP, but would require more experience.  Again, here is my proposal:

To become an Environmental Professional, the person must meet one of the following:

1)      A Registered Professional Engineer or a Registered Geologist with five years  experience in environmental consulting;

2)      A bachelors in science in a related field from an accredited university with 5 years full time experience in environmental due diligence;

3)      A bachelors in arts or a bachelors of science in an unrelated field from an accredited university with 7 years full time experience in environmental due diligence;

4)      Have the equivalent of 15 years of full time relevant experience.

My suggested qualifications are a bit more stringent than those currently incorporated in ASTM 1527.


Environmental Professional, ASTM 1527-05, ASTM Phase I

1 thoughts on “Environmental Professionals as Required by ASTM E1527 (3 Comments)

  1. Kelly McMicken says:

    Due to the fact that environmental assessments are done by property buyers/owners to meet CERCLAs description of an Innocent Landowner, I find it difficult to believe that this defense is valid when the assessor has to only meet the requirements of the ASTM definition of what an environmental professional is. (As defined by ASTM, an environmental professional is “A person possessing sufficient training and experience necessary to conduct a site reconnaissance, interviews, and other activities in accordance with (the ASTM standard), and from the information generated by such activities, having the ability to develop opinions and conclusions regarding recognized environmental conditions in connection with the property in question. An individual’s status as an environmental professional may be limited to the type of assessment to be performed or to the specific segments of the assessment for which the professional is responsible. Section 3.3.12) Such a loose definition of what an environmental professional actually is according to the ASTM allows for little defense of CERCLA in any court setting. Who would allow a defense of lack of knowledge to a prior event if the certifying professional is not in their own right certified, much less regulated? While the EPAs All Appropriate Inquires final rule, defines an environmental professional in much stricter terms, there is still in my opinion a lacking of clear, set standards that will hold up in the court of law for a clear, cut defense strategy based on CERCLAs description of what an Innocent Landowner is. I agree that it is time for both the EPA and ASTM to set strict and clear guidelines as to what is an environmental professional and to whom plays a role in determining liability of a landowner.

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