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MEMBERS’ UPDATE – Spring 2023

Message from the President

CSAP has just ended the 2022/2023 fiscal year with a surge of submissions, closing out a busy fiscal year affected strongly by the rise of Approvals in Principle. Our budget for 2023/2024 is in place and CSAP continues to operate smoothly under the leadership of our new Executive Director, Patricia Fu. Committees have established work plans for the coming year in alignment with our strategic plan goals. I will step down as President after our Annual General Meeting in June and I do so knowing that CSAP is in good hands.

Stage 14 amendments to the Contaminated Sites Regulation, which came into force March 1, are top of mind for many of our members as we digest the implications of Protocol 19 nuances and receive clarification regarding questions. CSAP will be collecting feedback from members so that we can provide feedback to the Land Remediation Section at ENV and participate with ENV Leadership in identifying solutions to challenges.

All the best and see you in June at the AGM and Professional Development Workshop.

Duncan Macdonald

Ministry Updates

Stage 14 amendments and Protocol 19 came into effect on March 1, 2023. The protocol aims to improve the quality and consistency of site investigations. The first phase of the protocol supports implementation of the CSR Stage 14 amendments and includes requirements for sampling and testing soil and soil vapour for the purpose of relocating non-waste quality soil.  The ministry has received feedback from industry and consultants since the protocol was published and is actively reviewing the requirements. The protocol will be further expanded in the upcoming year and the ministry will evaluate the current requirements based on the feedback received.

The soil relocation and making contaminated site climate ready webinar from November has been posted. The webinar describes the Stage 14 soil relocation changes and outlines the discussion paper on making contaminated sites climate ready.

The Soil Relocation Information System (SRIS) is now live online. The SRIS displays soil relocation notifications and high-volume receiving site registrations and allows interested people to access information on soil relocation.

On January 16, 2023, the Premier announced that the province has committed to a co-ordinated permitting strategy to improve timelines for approvals related to housing development projects. To support the housing strategy, Land Remediation is in the process of hiring several new staff and collecting information on the existing applications in our queue and the Contaminated Sites Services Application Form (CSSAF) has been updated to capture this important information for incoming applications. Please ensure that you are using the current CSSAF, as applications submitted using older versions will not be accepted. Forms are available on the Remediation Apply for Services and Forms webpages.

The definition of Qualified Professional (QP) has been revised in six director’s protocols (Protocols 1, 4, 9, 12, 13 and 20) and in Procedure 8. The new QP definition aligns with the intent of the Professional Governance Act.

The Digital Transformation Project is approaching a major milestone. Release of the Apply for Services new portal is expected this July. Further details on activation and how the new portal will improve the application process will be announced via Site Remediation News.

The ministry has been receiving applications for release notices that do not always meet scenario requirements. For clarity, a release notice is a limited, one-time use document that removes restrictions on specified municipal application approvals. Release notices are intended for simple, straightforward sites, and do not replace the function of certification documents.

A release notice will only be considered if the ministry has received a Site Disclosure Statement (via the municipality) that lists the specific municipal applications for which the release notice is being sought.

The ministry may consider a release notice under Scenario 1 or Scenario 3, depending on the situation.

Scenario 1

A release notice may be considered under Scenario 1 when site investigations are not necessary before approval of a municipal application.

The following are examples of when a site may be eligible for a Scenario 1 release:

  • When zoning approval is required to receive funding from a lender or otherwise prepare a site for redevelopment.
  • When subdivision approval is required for a municipal road dedication or to prepare a site for development.
  • When development or building approvals are required to complete upgrades to an ongoing Schedule 2 use, or to complete soil excavation related to independent remediation.
  • For minor construction such as an addition to an existing building, excavation of footings, or construction of slab-on-grade structures.

For Scenario 1, the site use will typically not change following approval of the municipal application(s), and additional municipal approvals will still be required before the site can be redeveloped.

Scenario 3: Independent Remediation

Sites may be eligible for a Scenario 3 release when an owner or operator has completed site investigations and wishes to carry out independent remediation during the development of a contaminated site. If no contamination has been identified at a site, or if contamination has already been remediated, the site is not eligible for a Scenario 3 release notice and the owner/operator should instead seek a certification document.

Please also note that if delineation of contamination is incomplete, the site is not eligible for a Scenario 3 release notice.

The applicant (or their consultant) should review the ministry’s Release Notices webpage to confirm eligibility for a specific scenario prior to submitting their application. In addition, applications must include all of the information listed on the ministry’s Release Notices webpage. Ineligible or incomplete applications will not be considered.

On September 23, 2022, LRS announced a policy change to to streamline and reduce review time of release requests for site upgrades. All release requests for site upgrades will now be considered under Scenario 1. This change applies to sites with ongoing Schedule 2 uses that require municipal approvals to complete infrastructure upgrades. Scenario 2 release notices will no longer be offered. Visit the updated Release notices for more information. We welcome feedback and questions at [email protected].

Videos from the contaminated sites learning series are now available and can be accessed through Site remediation webinars. The learning series’ purpose was to help enhance awareness and understanding of the contaminated site services application process. The webinars are meant to be used as a reference only. All requirements in the Environmental Management Act, Contaminated Sites Regulation and Director’s Protocols will supersede any details provided.

Site Remediation updates and announcements will be made through our Site remediation news email subscription service.

Performance Assessment Committee and Preliminary and Detail Administrative Screening Committee Updates

CSAP recently developed guidelines for time spent on average PAs for panel members and DMs to provide better estimates for CSAP’s annual operating budget. For more information, refer to the “CSAP Director and Committee Remuneration Policy.”

The PAC revised the PA Guidelines to incorporate Focused Reviews, timing of PA responses by submitting APs, and minor clarification on the PA Coordinator’s role. The updated version of the PA Guidelines can be found here.

The PAC is also currently looking to revive PA Lessons Learned for compilation and sharing during PD events and/or Members’ Updates. An example from a recent PA is included herein for a Numerical AIP application:

DSI – Poorly located MWs/SVs

Poor delineation of off-site groundwater contamination (i.e. coarse delineation) left questions as to whether numerical remediation was achievable given uncertainties with extent of contaminated groundwater beneath an off-site building. Also, shallow vapour probes did not properly assess groundwater contamination at depth.

DSI – Other

Off-site groundwater contamination extended beneath a building that was not to be removed as part of Remediation Plan. Soils were glacial till and little evidence was provided in the DSI (i.e., hydrogeological conditions) or Remediation Plan (i.e., gw drainage into the excavation) to support achieving numerical remediation in consideration of applicable DW standards and the use of an adjacent shotcrete shored excavation. Without these details, consideration was needed for a potential risk-based approach to residual groundwater contamination.

A summary of previous PAC Updates is available here.

Screening Updates

Preliminary Screening

  • Note there is a new ENV Contaminated Sites Services Application online form. Please use it for your P6 and Annual Report Applications.
  • ENV-updated Cover Letter templates for certification documents Version 10.0. Of CoC, AiP, Preliminary and Final Determination Cover Letter are available in the Members’ Services portal. The main revision is the removal of the reference to a Contaminated Soil Relocation Agreement.

Detailed Screening

We are in year eight of conducting Detailed Screenings on behalf of ENV and we seem to have found our groove, with fewer issues identified by screeners, and limited feedback from ENV following their review of submissions received. As a reminder, when a submission is received by CSAP, it undergoes both an Administrative (by the fabulous Anna) and Detailed Screening (by one of our Detailed Screeners). You can find the Screening Guidelines, which include the Administrative and Detailed Screening checklists, here.

One issue that has come up on several submissions recently is including substances evaluated to, or remediated to, Protocol 4 and/or Protocol 9 background concentrations, or Protocol 2 Site Specific Standards, in the SoSC and the instrument. If you check yes in Section 4.4 of the SoSC that Protocol 4, Protocol 9 (mistakenly indicated to be Protocol 4 in the current version of the SoSC), or Protocol 2 standards have been applied, you must:

  • Include a note below the Table in Section 4.6 of the SoSC stating which standards have been applied, and include any approved background concentrations, or the site-specific standards derived based on Protocol 2.
  • If they have only been evaluated to the background or site-specific standards (vs. remediated to), then revise the section of Schedule C of the instrument to indicate the following: “Substances remediated evaluated in x for x land use.” Below this, you include “To meet local background” or “To meet site specific standards” and list the relevant substances.

Review Services Committee Updates

The Review Services Committee completed a successful first year of operation completing technical reviews as of January 31, 2022. During the first year we averaged approximately two submissions for review per month.

The RSC generally reviews the following on behalf of ENV:

  • Reports submitted to meet the ENV requirements. For example: progress reports; monitoring reports; confirmation reports; annual/biannual, quarterly, or monthly reports; or other similar titles which are typically specified by the Director in Schedule B clauses.

Our technical reviews are forwarded to ENV where the Statutory Decision Maker (SDM) for their consideration and the SDM will then issue their final decision letter. In recent months the RSC has had two meetings with the SDMs to share our review experiences and to streamline the process.

CSAP occasionally receives submissions that should have been forwarded to ENV (and ENV receives some that should have been sent initially to CSAP). To avoid these situations, we encourage submitters to see the CSAP RSC webpage for further details. Alternatively, CSAP will respond to any questions in regard to the submission process quickly upon receipt to assist submitters (email [email protected]).

Technical Review Committee Updates:

Over the past three months the TRC has been working on identifying the Special Projects that CSAP will be funding for 2023/24. The Special Projects selected this year were generated from a running list of projects and topics suggested by members. Further details on these projects are below.

Protocol 2 and Development of Site-Specific Standards: Use of Groundwater Protection Model – The purpose of this project is to raise awareness to practitioners on the potential use of the Groundwater Protection Model under Protocol 2 by preparing a presentation and written summary that can be used as a reference for practical use of Protocol 2. The RFP was released to members on April 17 and proposals are due by May 5.

Shallow Vapour Attenuation Factors – The purpose of this project is to provide practitioners with science-based approaches for assessment of vapours in indoor air where groundwater is near to or in contact with the building foundation. The project will also include a desktop evaluation of attenuation factors and information from other jurisdictions as it relates to the new soil relocation legislation and the triggers for soil vapour assessment. The TRC is in the contract award stage with this project.

In addition, the TRC is planning another Special Project related to the new soil relocation legislation and Protocol 19 – Site Investigation and Reporting. This project will be initiated once more experience is gained with the new legislation as it would be helpful to obtain soil vapour data from sites that have gone through the process and feedback from affected parties and Approved Professionals who are providing consulting services in this area.

The TRC is also working on wrapping up the last of its 2022/23 projects listed below:

Climate Change Impacts on Contaminated Sites in BC – CSAP is developing some guidance to help practitioners understand which climate hazards pose the greatest risk or challenge to our practice area in the future. The work was awarded to Core 6 in early January 2023. A draft report is expected at the end of April.

Updates to the CSAP Webmap – The last of the updates to the CSAP webmap was completed at the end of March 2023. Updates are now live. Please let CSAP know if you notice any issues with the webmap.

CSAP Guidance for Identifying PCOCs – The final report was issued in January 2023 and is now available under the Research and Technical Studies webpage.

Other TRC activities planned or underway include:

Technical Review of Protocol 19 – Site Investigation and Reporting – The TRC is planning to solicit feedback from practitioners and provide review comments to ENV on this new protocol. This review will be initiated once practitioners have gained some experience with the new protocol.

CSAP Scholarships – CSAP awards three scholarships annually to graduates studying in the area of contaminated site investigation and remediation. The deadline to apply was March 31 and the TRC is currently reviewing the applications received. Scholarships will be awarded in May and announced at the AGM.

If you have any suggestions for a topic that you would like the TRC to tackle, please send your ideas to [email protected].

Membership Committee Updates:

The CSAP Membership Committee and Exam sub-committee are hard at work updating the Regulatory exam and preparing for an Oral Assessment process for new applicants this fall. The Oral Assessment will replace the technical exams for Risk and Numeric Standards applicants, providing a more streamlined application path from now on. Passing the Regulatory exam will continue to be a requirement for all new applicants and for renewing members that cannot meet their submission requirement every three years. This year, the Regulatory exam is scheduled for November 7. The Oral Assessments are set for September.

Thanks to all the Experience Reviewers, Exam Question Developers, and Oral Assessors that have contributed their time and expertise to aid the Exam Sub-Committee in preparing our new application process.

Reminder: PD hours must be entered by December 31. Members will be notified if they are non-compliant in early January and will have until January 15 to log in their required PD hours, or they will be fined an administration fee of $250. This fee will be added to their membership fees invoice sent the first week of April. If membership fees (including fines) are not paid, that member will receive a written notice to pay their fees; otherwise, they will be considered “not in good standing,” further submissions will not be accepted, and a recommendation will be made to the Board of Directors for removal from the Roster of Approved Professionals. Three members were fined the administration fee of $250 for not entering their 2022 PD hours on time.

Professional Development Committee Updates:

Lunch and learn
This past quarter we kicked off our virtual Lunch and Learn series with a session on AIPs in February co-hosted with ENV. We were very pleased to have more than 100 in attendance.

Our first members-only Members’ Open Forum took place in early April was attended by 61 APs, more than half of the membership. Thank you to those who asked questions and shared experiences, as well as provided feedback.    

A reminder these virtual one-hour sessions are open to the public with the exception of Members’ Open Forums which provide APs an opportunity to confidentially address issues affecting your practice with your peer group.

The remainder of our 2023 schedule is as follows:

Date Time Topic
May 17 11 a.m. PCOCs
June 21 12 p.m. Members’ Open Forum
August 9 11 a.m. P6 Approvals
September 13 12 p.m. Members’ Open Forum with ENV
November 22 11 a.m. Vapour (joint presentation with ENV)

Bookmark the event webpage for Zoom links and any updates.

AGM and PD Workshop
Mark your calendar! This full-day event takes place June 1, 2023, at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

The PD workshop will include updates from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Performance Assessment, Review Services, and Exam Development Sub-committees, as well as guidance on Climate Change Impacts on Contaminated Sites, a panel discussion, and more. Afterwards, join us for a cocktail reception at Mahoney’s Coal Harbour. Expect more details in the weeks ahead.

Registration is now open.

Add to Calendar

Submission Statistics update (as of March 31, 2023)

Submissions Received over Fiscal Years

What’s new at CSAP

  • A reminder registration for CSAP’s AGM and PD Workshop on June 1, 2023, is open here.
  • Membership fees’ invoices have been issued and can be paid here.

Links of Interest

If you have a link of interest please forward it to [email protected]

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