Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition (CREC) is a proposed new term for the ASTM E1527 standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs). The Controlled REC concept was introduced to address contaminated sites that have received risk-based regulatory closure, where no further remediation is required but residual contamination still exists at a site and the property is subject to activity and use limitations or “AULs.” These sites, where contamination is controlled but could still pose ongoing or future obligations on the owner (such as special precautions during construction or grading activities), have been a source of some confusion to the environmental due diligence industry with regards to how they should be classified. The Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition or “CREC”, if accepted, would be a distinct classification from Historical Recognized Environmental Condition (HREC) and Recognized Environmental Condition (REC). The environmental professional would be required to list any CRECs identified in the findings and conclusions section of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment report.
A Historical Recognized Environmental Condition is defined by ASTM as “an environmental condition which in the past would have been considered a recognized environmental condition, but which may or may not be considered a recognized environmental condition currently.” The determination of whether an environmental condition is a recognized environmental condition (REC) or a historical recognized environmental condition (HREC) lies with the environmental professional, and depends upon how the condition impacts the current or future use of the property. A release that was remediated and given regulatory closure may be considered an HREC unless it is determined to have a significant current or future impact on the property, at which point the environmental professional may deem it a REC.