by Chrissie Dawson
Project Manager

A Regulatory File Review is required under ASTM Standard Practice (E 1527-13 [effective 11-13-13]) when the subject property or an adjoining property is noted in the Standard Environmental Records Sources during the course of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA).  Conducting a Regulatory File Review involves the procurement of regulatory files from Federal, state, and/or local governing agencies for review by an Environmental Professional (EP).  The goal of the Regulatory File Review is to determine the likelihood of impacts to the subject property subsurface from current or past activities at the subject property and/or adjoining properties.  Regulatory files may include many types of reports and documents, including closure assessment reports, tank tightness testing reports, Phase I ESAs, subsurface studies, permits, compliance inspections, notices of violations, correspondence letters, etc. 

The following examples illustrate situations where a Regulatory File Review would be required:

  1. The subject property, a fast-food restaurant, is adjoined by a gasoline station.  A review of available historic documentation and the regulatory database indicates the gasoline station was constructed on undeveloped land in 2006 and that two 10,000-gallon gasoline tanks and one 8,000-gallon diesel tank were installed in 2006 and are currently in use.  In addition, the underground storage tank (UST) system is located approximately 50 feet east and upgradient of the subject property boundary.  There are no reported releases according to the regulatory database report.  Based on the 16-year age of the tank system and its close proximity to the subject property, the presence of this adjoining facility is of concern.  Because this adjoining property appears on a Standard Environmental Records Source (that being the UST [Underground Storage Tank] List), a Regulatory File Review is required per the ASTM Standard Practice.  This review will include review of compliance inspections for the UST system to determine if the facility has a history of complying with regulatory requirements or of non-compliance with Notices of Violations issued by the local or state authority.  A history of non-compliance, paired with the proximity and upgradient location of the UST system to the subject property would present a material threat of a release of petroleum products into the subject property’s environment and as such, a Recognized Environmental Condition in connection with the subject property.  On the other hand, if the facility has no violations, or limited minor violations not associated with potential releases that have been addressed to the satisfaction of the governing agency, the facility may not presently represent a material threat of a release to the subject property’s environment.  
  2. The subject property, a pharmacy, is adjoined by a gasoline station.  The gasoline station was constructed in 2010.   The regulatory database indicates that the gasoline station utilizes two 20,000-gallon gasoline tanks and one 10,000-gallon diesel tank that were installed in 2010.  The UST system is located approximately 125 feet west and upgradient of the subject property.  In addition, the regulatory database notes that a release from the 10,000-gallon diesel tank was reported in 2018 and is currently undergoing monitoring activities.  In this case, based on proximity and the upgradient location relative to the subject property, as well as the known release in 2018, this adjoining facility is of concern.  Because this adjoining property appears on two Standard Environmental Records Sources (those being the UST and LUST [Leaking UST] Lists), a Regulatory File Review is required per the ASTM Standard Practice.  This review would include review to determine if the release has impacted the subject property.  The Regulatory File Review would include a review of Monitoring Reports, Site Investigation Reports, etc. to determine the known extent of the contaminant plume and the groundwater flow direction.  A review of such data could determine the likelihood of impacts to the subject property.

    In summary, a Regulatory File Review is often useful in determining the likelihood of impacts to the subject property and determining if further studies or assessments are needed to determine if soil and/or groundwater contamination is present at the subject property.

    If you have due diligence needs or other questions regarding other environmental concerns, please contact Environmental Project Manager, Chrissie Dawson, at (502) 443-2455 or [email protected].