ASTM International Committee E 50 on Environmental Assessment, Risk Management, and Corrective Action approved a new task group (E 50.02.06) at their October meeting to develop a standard to assess vapor intrusion as it relates to property transactions. Vapor intrusion is caused by releases of volatile chemicals from contaminated soil and groundwater into indoor air spaces of overlying buildings potentially causing both safety and health concerns. Anthony J. Buonicore will chair the task group. Buonicore, chairman of Environmental Data Resources, Inc. and past president of the Air and Waste Management Association, previously chaired the task group that developed the ASTM E 1527 and E 1528 property environmental due diligence standards. "This is an ideal time for ASTM to get involved because of all the confusion and controversy in the marketplace over vapor intrusion and because vapor intrusion is now beginning to emerge as a potential obstacle in real estate transactions. ASTM is an excellent forum capable of bringing all sides together to develop consensus around a reasonable approach to dealing with the issue," Buonicore said.
It is the task groups intention to achieve consensus on an approach to identify and assess a potential vapor intrusion problem, while at the same time avoid adding an undue cost burden on the real estate transaction. Harris Sanders, vice president of Prudential Real Estate Investors and a member of the task group, commented, "For those of us involved in the purchase of real estate, it is important that we are not needlessly pushed into the conduct of unnecessary and often expensive Phase IIs, for example, as a result of an overly conservative approach to assessing vapor intrusion. At the same time, if there indeed are genuine issues of health and safety, it is important that these become known in the property due diligence process."
Buonicore added, "This will not be an easy effort. Vapor intrusion is a complex and controversial subject, and many task group stakeholders already have strong agendas. At the same time, it is a critically important issue to our industry."
For further technical information, contact Anthony J. Buonicore, Environmental Data Resources, Inc., Milford, Conn. (phone: 800/238-1841; firstname.lastname@example.org). Committee E50 will meet Feb. 7-9, 2006, at the January/February Committee Week in Phoenix, Ariz. For membership or meeting details, contact Daniel Smith, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9727; email@example.com).