Remediation is a term for the clean up or fixing of an environmental issue. It can be something as simple as digging up and removing a UST, excavating a small surface spill, or removing mould from a flooded room.
Remediation may also be complex and include the removal of thousands of tonnes of material, the installation of a groundwater treatment system, or the installation of an interceptor trench.
And so much more.
The end result of a successful remediation effort should be: a site that is not a threat to human health or the environment; a piece of property that will allow you to receive top dollar when you are ready to sell; or, no longer subject to inquiries from a regulatory agency.
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z768-01 (current version) Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), is required by many banks and lending institutions prior to securing a mortgage.
The ESA is a paper chase, during which no sampling is completed. It is used to document whether actual or potential contamination may exist at a site.
Depending upon the needs of the buyer or seller of a piece of real estate, the results of a Phase 1 ESA may lead into a Phase 2 ESA, backing out of a deal, or renegotiating the terms of the deal.
It can also allow a potential seller of real estate to plan ahead for the remediation of issues well before the need to put the property on the market.
Risk Management Plans (RMPs) follow and support the guidelines established in the Alberta Contaminated Sites Policy Framework, and rely upon the Alberta Tier 1 Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guidelines, the Alberta Tier 2 Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guidelines, the Exposure Control Guide, and the Environmental Site Assessment Standard.
The RMP summarizes the contaminants found at a site, the receptors for those contaminants (workers, children, residents), and then the pathways (air, ingestion, drinking water) that the contaminants can get to the receptors.
It then proposes methods to prevent or interrupt that link between the chemical and the receptor. The RMP then further defines how a site will be monitored, and the monitoring frequency, to verify that the proposed preventative methods are working.
Required in Alberta when sampling identified contamination above Alberta Tier 1 Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guidelines, or Alberta Tier 2 Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guidelines.
Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z769-00 (current version) Phase 2 ESA, a follow up to a Phase 1 ESA, uses sampling to determine if there is actual contamination at a site.
Soil, groundwater, air, sediment, soil gas, and surface waters are some of the media that may be sampled and analyzed during a Phase 2 ESA.
Soil samples are most often collected via a drilling rig from several locations and from specific depth intervals to characterize both the horizontal and vertical extent of contamination. And when a borehole reaches a water-bearing zone, monitoring wells are often installed to characterize the groundwater.
Depending upon the extent determined during an initial Phase 2 ESA, follow up work may be required.
Non destructive testing using ground penetrating radar (GPR), electromagnetic (EM) surveys, and other methods have the ability to locate underground storage tanks (USTs), former UST pits, bedrock surfaces, graves, structural foundations, utilities, and much, much more.
The most common uses for EM in the Prairies is their ability to "see" buried metallic objects. Most often this is critical when looking for buried or forgotten USTs. Many times after a piece of property has changed hands several times, items no longer in use can be paved over and forgotten about, especially prior to the advent of environmental regulations.
The most common uses for GPR in the Prairies is their ability to "see" changes in density, which is great when looking for where a UST was formerly buried or when looking for a depth to bedrock.
GPR works in such a way as to be able to distinguish areas of differing density. This becomes clear in images showing the differences between disturbed soil that has been excavated previously (grave, tank vault, sink hole), and the undisturbed soils still tightly compacted by the glaciers that covered the area 15,000 years ago. The differences are also readily apparent between compacted soil and bedrock.
Many times a Client will wonder if he or she is being "taken to the cleaners", or just feels that the advice they are receiving from an environmental consultant is "off". Maybe their banker mentions something that the consultant did not identify.
In these types of cases, you may want to seek a second opinion of your original consultant's work, or if you are purchasing a piece of property and the buyer has hired a consultant to represent their interests, you may want to have an independent consultant representing YOUR interests.
We provide independent, third party review of documents and reports. We promise that our reviews are thorough, complete, and our recommendations will present the facts.
You have our word backed by our integrity that we will give you a straight answer, whether it is the one you wanted to hear or not. Because you cannot solve a problem if you are not aware that it exists.
Within Alberta, the Client has the option of using the Alberta Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guidelines to move their Site from a Tier 1 Site (most conservative) to a Tier 2 Site, where pathways of contaminant migration that do not apply to the Site are removed from consideration.
This allows the Client to be scientifically more accurate in accessing the Site, which has the end result of not having to remediate as much land area or groundwater.
However, the Client should be aware when using this approach that the Site remains contaminated and retains a monetary liability associated with it. Only the regulatory liability has been removed when using a Tier 2 scenario.
A short-term radon test (48 - 72 hours) can be completed in your home, office, or school using an alpha particle liquid scintillation cell (LSC) that captures radon particles for later counting over a single period, versus multiple counting intervals. Prior to the placement of the LSC, the structure must be kept under closed conditions for a period of at least 12 hours prior to the test. The LSC is placed in the lowest level of the structure, away from all windows and doors, vents, and areas of humidity.
While not as accurate overall as a longer term test (3 months or more), a short-term screening test has the advantage of being able to give you information quickly and for much less expense.
Soil samples are most often collected via a drilling rig from several locations and from specific depth intervals to characterize both the horizontal and vertical extent of contamination. Soil samples may also be collected via hand auger or other appropriate methods.
Groundwater samples are most often collected via a monitoring well, which is installed within a borehole after it has reached a water-bearing zone. Monitoring wells are used characterize both the horizontal and vertical extent of groundwater contamination.
Air samples are often collected via a summa canister, using a regulated air flow device to collect the air sample over a period of hours. The collected sample is usually compared against a background sample, allowing the accessor to determine the air fractions associated with potential contamination.
Underground storage tanks (USTs) only have a life expectancy of approximately 30 years in ideal conditions. Most of the industry started using fiberglass USTs in the late 1980s. This means that existing USTs, if they were made of steel, have exceeded, or are going to exceed, their life expectancy within a short period of time.
Your UST did not have to be leaking to have had a release of petroleum products into the environment. Leaks from the pumps islands or overfills during UST refilling operations account for much of the petroleum released into the environment.
We can assess your UST system and determine the best way to remove your old tank and cleanup any residual contamination.