Environmental Site Assessments and Remediation

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If you are involved in a commercial or industrial real estate transaction, you will need an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) in order to complete the sale agreement. All financial institutions require ESAs prior to advancing mortgage funds to finance properties. ESAs can determine a property’s probability of contamination in order to manage their environmental risks. Conducting an ESA can reassure you and your financial institution that the property you are about to purchase has no past or present environmental liabilities associated with it, such as unknown contaminated soil or leaked Underground Storage Tanks (USTs). ESAs can also identify the potential (or possible) presence of hazardous building materials.


As a property buyer or building owner, you also need to be aware of current waste management and UST regulations. These regulations make it mandatory for you to evaluate and upgrade USTs, looking at factors like leak detection equipment, corrosion protection and containment systems to control unforeseen spills.

REGULATION: Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Standards for Phase I - Z768-01 (R2012) and Phase II - Z769-00 (R2013) ESA’s. Ministry of Environment (MOE), Guideline for Use at Contaminated Sites in Ontario, for establishing clean up criteria during Phase III ESAs. USTs are regulated by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) Act, 2000 – for safe transportation, storage, handling and use of fuels.

WHO: Buyers, vendors, lenders, receivers, building owners.

OBLIGATIONS: Required to perform an ESA in order to obtain funding from financial institutions and/or prior to beginning construction/renovation activity. As of October 1, 2009 all existing USTs must be removed or upgraded under the Fuel Oil Code. Under the Act, the fuel oil sector is regulated by Ontario Regulation 213/01, Fuel Oil. This regulation adopts the CSA document CSA-B139-00, Installation Code for Oil Burning Equipment, or Fuel Oil Code, that sets out the specific requirements for the storage, handling and utilization of fuel oil.

Important Services
- Phase I ESA – includes a historical and background review of the property, coupled with a visual site inspection
- Phase II ESA – addresses the concerns found in the Phase I ESA through sample collection and analysis of suspected hazardous materials or soils and groundwater. Phase II ESA also includes recommendations for remediation and mitigation methods.
- Remedial Action Plans implementing the recommendations made in the Phase II ESA, or supplemental Phase II ESA delineation program plans are established to remediate deficiencies to meet current guidelines and regulations
- Creating a site-specific remediation program to meet regulatory compliance
- Leak detection and tank integrity testing
- Risk Assessment and regulatory compliance analysis                                                                                            - Project management of remediation projects, including contract tendering, site supervision and compliance closure reports                                                                                                                                                         - Filing Records of Site Condition (RSC) on the Ministry of Environment (MOE) website

Environmental Site Assessments and Remediation

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Most commercial real estate transactions today require an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) in order to complete the sale agreement. This is a requirement of all financial institutions prior to advancing mortgage funds to finance properties. Financial institutions need to be reassured that there are no environmental risks associated with subject properties. Purchasers need to be reassured that they are purchasing a property with no present or future environmental liabilities attached to it. Safetech Environmental Limited (SEL) performs CSA Standard Z768-01 (R2012) Phase I Environmental Site Assessments.

Information gathered during a Phase I ESA provides guidance in determining a scope of work for any Phase II investigation. Phase II ESA’s are conducted in accordance with the general requirements of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard Z769-00 (R2013), Phase II Environmental Site Assessment.

A Remedial Action Plan consists of remedial activities designed to correct deficiencies identified in the Phase I and Phase II ESAs.  SEL will assist in creating a remediation program that is site-specific and that can includes risk assessments and environmental engineering solutions to reduce contamination on site.

UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK (UST) EVALUATION                                                                            Waste management and UST regulations in Ontario have made it mandatory for USTs to be evaluated by building owners. This evaluation often results in the removal or replacement of USTs. Safetech Environmental Limited has technical experts to assist building owners with issues relevant to underground storage tanks.

SEL’s technical services include:
- Tank integrity testing
- Leak detection
- Subsurface soil and groundwater investigations for contamination analysis
- Environmental regulations compliance
- Design of remediation options and risk evaluation
- Full project management, contract tenders, site supervision, confirmation closure reports

Our experienced technical staff provide complete technical and project management services for assessment and removal of USTs.

Environmental compliance audits ensure compliance with Government regulations dealing with air, water and solid waste discharges. This process consists of a preliminary review of background information followed by identification of areas of concern. A typical environmental compliance audit includes an investigation of the subject site, documentation of all processes and discharges, detailed sampling and analysis, review of discharge applications and permits, briefing of corporate management and/or regulatory officials, and the preparation of a summary report which includes findings and recommendations for remedial work An environmental compliance audit provides a snap shot of the environmental status of the facility.

Prior to the demolition or renovation of a facility or plant closure, all hazardous materials on site must be identified before any work begins. The type and extent of hazardous materials including subsurface soils must be determined to ensure that all such materials are properly removed and disposed of during the decommissioning process. In order to execute a proper site decommissioning plan, remediation specifications must be devised to ensure compliance with applicable environmental regulations and guidelines relevant to the facility.

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