ASTM Finalizes New Vapor Intrusion Standard
On March 1, 2008, ASTM International announced the finalization of its new standard E-2600-08, "Standard Practice for the Assessment of Vapor Intrusion into Structures on Property Involved in Real Estate Transactions." The new E-2600 standard establishes a four-tier process for the purpose of assessing vapor intrusion risks in commercial real estate transactions. The first two screening tiers are used to assess the potential for a vapor intrusion issue to exist, so that properties with a low risk can be screened out on an expedited basis. The third tier provides for more site-specific and comprehensive investigations if the potential for vapor intrusion cannot reasonably be eliminated at the Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels. Tier 4 addresses vapor intrusion mitigation alternatives. ASTM envisions that the E-2600 standard will be used either independently or in conjunction with an environmental site assessment (Phase 1) being performed pursuant to ASTM standard 1527-05. Vapor intrusion has emerged as a primary contamination concern of property owners, buyers, and lenders as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state regulatory agencies refine regulatory mechanisms designed to address vapor risks and lawsuits increase asserting both statutory and common-law claims due to the presence of vapors.