Environmental Professional Certification

Hazardous Waste Division

Terry Sligh - (501) 682-0867




From 2005 until August 2007, ADEQ operated a program under the provisions of Act 2141 of 2007 to certify three categories of professional environmental contractors: those who performed Phase I environmental site assessments, those who coordinated and oversaw the implementation of comprehensive site assessments (CSA, a much more detailed site assessment and investigation), and those who carried out site cleanups and remedial actions. Following the establishment of a federal standard for environmental professionals (those authorized to prepare and submit Phase I environmental site assessments) in November 2005, the Arkansas General Assembly repealed the provisions of Act 2141 and established Act 1018 of 2007, incorporating the federal standards set out at 40 CFR 312.10 and in ASTM Standard E1527-05 for “environmental professionals” performing Phase I assessments pursuant to the ASTM standard and the federal All Appropriate Inquiries rule published at 40 CFR 312 (70 FR 66070, November 1, 2005).

As of November 1, 2006, any person who performs a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment in order to satisfy the requirement to conduct “all appropriate inquiries” under section 101(35)(B) of CERCLA, as amended by the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfield Revitalization Act (Pub. L. 107–118, 115 stat. 2356, ‘‘the Brownfield Amendments’’) must meet the qualifications of an environmental professional as defined at 40 CFR 312.10. Separate state qualifications under Act 2141 of 2005 are no longer in effect as of July 31, 2007.

FAQs

Q. What qualifications do I need to have in order to do Phase I environmental site assessments in Arkansas?
 
A. As of November 1, 2006 you must meet the qualifications for an “Environmental Professional” as set out at 40 CFR 312.10. This is a federal requirement for all parties who intend to use the Phase I site assessment to meet any of the landowner liability protections offered under CERCLA. This is a self-certifying qualification, you are not required to be approved or certified by ADEQ or another agency in order to claim this status.
Q. What is meant by “full-time relevant experience”?
 
A. “Relevant experience” as it applies to environmental site assessment consultants under the provisions of the federal AAI Rule (40 CFR 312.10) and Regulation No. 32 is defined to mean  “participation in the performance of all appropriate inquiries investigations, environmental site assessments, or other site investigations that may include environmental analyses, investigations, and remediation which involve the understanding of surface and subsurface environmental conditions and the processes used to evaluate these conditions and for which professional judgment was used to develop opinions regarding conditions indicative of releases or threatened releases to the subject property.”

In its response to comments on the final rule for All Appropriate Inquiries (40 CFR 312), EPA clarified that  “[t]he use of the phrase “full-time” within the definition of environmental professional and the definition of relevant experience is meant to require that an individual has accumulated the equivalent of 3, 5, or 10 years of experience. An individual may accumulate such experience over a longer length of time than the 3, 5, or 10 years, as long as the total time of accumulated experience would be the equivalent of 3, 5, or 10 years of full-time experience. Even after an individual accumulates the required number of years of full-time experience, that individual does not have to conduct environmental site assessments, or all appropriate inquiries investigations, on a full-time basis to qualify as an environmental professional.” 

For consistency between the two environmental professional programs, ADEQ interprets “relevant experience” in the same manner.

Q. I’ve been doing some environmental assessments, but I don’t yet have that many years of full-time relevant experience.  Can I still do this sort of work?
 
A. The AAI Rule and Regulation No. 32 do not prohibit the employment or engagement of an associate, apprentice, assistant, or a subcontractor, provided that an individual who is fully and appropriately certified supervises that associate, apprentice, assistant, or subcontractor and maintains responsible charge of the work performed by that associate, apprentice, assistant, or subcontractor.
 
Q. Is it mandatory to attend the ASTM Phase I Site Assessment course in order to become certified as a Phase I Consultant?
 
A. No. ASTM offers these courses as training opportunities within the State, but attendance at a particular course is not a requirement to be qualified as an environmental professional under 40 CFR 312.10.
 
Q. Are there continuing education requirements associated with certification under Reg. No. 32?
 
A. Yes.  Certified professionals must obtain at least 15 professional development hours per year.  If more than 15 hours are accrued, up to 15 of these additional hours may be carried over and applied to the following year’s requirements.
 
Q. What sort of professional development classes can be applied against the Reg. 32 continuing education requirements?
 
A. Certified professionals may use a broad range of educational opportunities.  Topics should be relevant to the field of environmental site assessment & investigation, remediation, waste or hazardous substance management, etc.  Applicable opportunities may include:

  • Successful completion of relevant college courses
  • Successful completion of relevant continuing education courses
  • Successful completion of relevant correspondence, televised, videotaped, audiotaped, webcast, and other short courses/tutorials.
  • Presenting at or attending qualifying seminars, in-house courses, work shops, or professional, technical, or managerial presentations made at meetings, conventions, or conferences.

 
Q. What is meant by “All Appropriate Inquiries,” and why is this important to someone who wants to acquire a parcel of commercial property?
 
A. Innocent property owners are only protected from CERCLA and RATFA liability if they can prove they did not contribute to the contamination and had no reason to suspect the property was contaminated at the time of purchase.  In order to meet this defense as a “bona fide prospective purchaser,” the person must not be potentially liable, or affiliated with any other person who is potentially liable for response costs for addressing releases at the property, and must carry out “all appropriate inquiries” into the possibility and nature of potential contamination on the site prior to purchase or taking title. “All Appropriate Inquiries,” or “AAI” is the process of evaluating a property for potential environmental contamination and assessing potential liability for any contamination present at the property. It is a form of environmental due diligence.

Prospective landowners who do not conduct all appropriate inquiries prior to or on the date of obtaining ownership of the property may lose their ability to claim protection from CERCLA liability as an innocent landowner, bona fide prospective purchaser, or contiguous property owner.

A Phase I environmental site assessment conducted pursuant to the provisions of ASTM Standard E1527-05 will typically satisfy the state and federal requirements to conduct all appropriate inquiries.

Q. What is the difference between a Phase II site assessment and the  “Comprehensive Site Assessment” required by the Arkansas Voluntary Cleanup Act?
 
A. A Phase II site assessment is typically defined and carried out under the provisions of ASTM Standard E1903.  In its simplest form, a Phase II assessment involves the collection of samples or other measurements taken in the field to confirm or deny the existence of a Recognized Environmental Concern (REC) identified in a Phase I assessment.  Depending upon the nature of the property and any associated RECs, a Phase II may range from a simple sampling event to the full scope of evaluating the nature and extent of contamination at the site.

The Arkansas Voluntary Cleanup Act and Brownfield Program requires a comprehensive site assessment (CSA) that "shall identify the location and extent of contamination, the quantity or level of contamination, the type of contamination, the probable source of contamination, and the risk or threat associated with the contamination." The CSA is a more exhaustive site investigation that not only confirms or denies the existence of any RECs at the site, but also determines the area location, nature and extent of any contamination, but also evaluates the risk posed to human health and the environment, as well as any threat (such as actual or potential degradation of ground and surface waters) posed by such contamination.

In most cases under the Voluntary Cleanup Act, the limited scope of a Phase II assessment may be insufficient to meet the requirements for a CSA.  The User of the site assessment and his Consultant should consul with ADEQ staff beforehand in order to confirm what work will be necessary to meet the requirements for a CSA.