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ASTM standards too risky?

In a recent statement before the Nassau Academy of Law, Ethan C. Eldon, president of Eldon Environmental Management Corporation headquartered in Westbury, Long Island, said "While ASTM (formerly American Society for Testing Materials) is to be congratulated for making an attempt to bring about standardization in environmental due diligence property audits, it appears that the committee of 190 members that came up with the recommendation for a 'Transaction Screen' settled for a lowest common denominator standard that could expose lenders and buyers to unnecessary risks in the millions of dollars in order to save insignificant amounts for environmental due diligence assessments.

"Property buyers and lenders," he continued, "have a right to know that due diligence environmental property audits have been done by qualified, trained environmental professionals and that the audit represents a sufficiently thorough investigation to give reasonable assurance that a property is free from hazardous contamination. The flawed Transaction Screen will cause people to believe that due diligence has been done. It is misleading, it is grossly inadequate, and it should not be used."

Eldon, a former commissioner of Air Resources for New York City, pointed out that the major problem lies in the ASTM proposal for an initial "Transaction Screen" which stops short of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment that is currently the accepted norm in the industry for first level due diligence in property transactions.

Eldon said "The ASTM Transaction Screen is seriously deficient because it stops short of a full Phase I Environmental Assessment in that:

*It does not require a full site inspection

*It does not require a full check of hazardous contamination records

*It does not require inspection for asbestos, lead-based paint, radon, wetlands or water resources
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Title Annotation:Legal Review; Eldon Environmental Management Corp. president Ethan C. Eldon evaluates standards set by ASTM for environmental due diligence property audits
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jul 21, 1993
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