EPA seeking public comments on site contamination rules
Dual-rules said to confuse developers on brownfield projects
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comment on its proposal to eliminate the dual standard for compliance with rules pertaining to testing of land that may have been contaminated by chemical pollution.
Currently, companies that want to build on land that might have existing chemical contamination must first conduct an assessment using an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) protocol or risk liability for a cleanup under the federal Superfund law.
A 2013 revision to the EPA rules added the most recent ASTM methods without removing a 2005 version. ASTM no longer uses the 2005 standard, but the newer version added a requirement to check all government agency mandates that required the use of two different standards, critics say.
Developers and landowners complained that having two different standards was a prescription for lawsuits. EPA has opened a public comment period for a change that would let project backers follow just one set of rules.