In British Columbia, a contaminated site is defined in the Environmental Management Act, as an area of land in which the soil or underlying groundwater or sediment contains a hazardous waste or substance in an amount or concentration that exceeds provincial environmental quality standards. A site is contaminated if it is unsuitable for specific uses of land, water and sediment. These sites are often referred to as “brownfields.” Currently, there are almost 8,000 sites in the Ministry of Environment’s records. This number includes sites that are being screened and are not yet confirmed as being (or not being) contaminated, sites that are being cleaned up, sites that are awaiting final confirmation that cleanup is complete and sites where cleanup is confirmed. Clean up of contaminated sites ensures environmental and human health protection for the Province of British Columbia.
Economic loss: Left idle and unmanaged, contaminated sites represent a significant loss of economic opportunity. Cleaning up and redeveloping these sites offer a wealth of public benefits such as job creation, new housing and business development, preservation of agricultural land, and revitalized older neighbourhoods.
Benefits of Certification: Certification that a site is no longer contaminated allows local governments to put their jurisdictions to most productive use and land owners and developers to take advantage of potential business opportunities. Certification also encourages both local government to approve and Banks to provide financing for developments without concern regarding potential liability due to contamination.
Contaminated sites 101: For more information on the process for cleaning up contaminated sites, who is liable for the costs of clean up and what steps must be taken to ensure that a site meets the remediation standards please refer to: Ministry of Environment – Contaminated Sites 101.
For a list of approved professionals that can make submissions to MOE under the Roster process on behalf of the site owner, please browse the CSAP Membership Directory.
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