Sunday, November 9, 2008

EPA Setting Qualification Requirements for Individuals and Companies Conducting Phase I Environmental SIte Assessments

One of the more controversial changes made by US EPA in their final “all appropriate inquiry” rule was a strict definition of who is qualified to prepare Phase 1 ESAs. With this final rule, some persons currently preparing ESA reports will no longer be qualified to do so. The final rule defines a “qualified professional”. An ESA must be prepared under the direct supervision of a qualified professional. The rule states that a person may be considered qualified if they met one or more of the following criteria:

1. They hold a relevant professional license, plus three years experience conducting ESAs
2. They has a relevant college degree, plus five years experience conducting ESAs
3. They have a minimum of ten years experience conducting ESAs

Relevant experience to meet these requirements must be full-time, and must include conducting environmental assessments and/or investigations. Of course, individual States can require more stringent or additional requirements. For example, to be considered a qualified professional in Illinois, the individual must be covered by Professional Liability Insurance (minimum $500,000 coverage); under current Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan programs, a minimium of $1 million Professional Liability Insurance is required.

There are two consequences from this change. First, some individuals or companies who have been conducting ESAs in the past may no longer be considered qualified to do so. Second, ESAs must now be more closely supervised by a qualified professional; for ESA preparers who were not already providing this level of supervision, the level of effort –and cost –to prepare an ESA will increase. Other ESA Preparers who were already meeting this standard should not see a cost impact due to this more stringent requirement.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

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