Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) & Remediation

We carry out Environmental Site Assessments (known as ESAs) in cases where environmental liability may be at issue in the care, custody or control of a property. We apply a phased approach to environmental assessment that takes into account recognized standards, financial considerations, and deadlines that are often imposed.

Our senior environmental professionals not only possess highly evolved skills in this area, but have actually created and delivered training programs in site assessment and remediation at universities and through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The Phased ESA process is used to help in the characterization of environmental issues and associated contaminant levels that could affect a property or the natural environment.

A Phase I ESA is non-intrusive, and involves professional opinions on the likelihood of common environmental issues ranging from soil and groundwater contamination due to historic land use, to the possible presence of hazardous building materials (such as lead paint or asbestos), to past and present uses of the site and surrounding properties. This would involve a site visit, interviews, regulatory database searches, and an evaluation of all relevant information.

Phase II ESA, the second-level characterization, would involve investigations of any potential environmental issues identified during the Phase I ESA through an intrusive investigation. It might involve sampling potentially hazardous building materials or drilling boreholes and installing monitor wells in order to assess soil and groundwater. Assessments are carried out by our team of geoscientists, chemists, engineers and specialists, who collaborate to confirm all relevant details, and to create a plan that addresses the full range of problems that could arise as a result of these contaminants.

We also provide Risk-Based Corrective Action (RBCA) modeling for petroleum-impacted sites. The RBCA model has been developed specifically for use in Atlantic Canada, and is based on a tiered approach where contamination levels are assessed through computer modeling to create Site Specific Target Levels (SSTLs) for the affected property.

Once the site has been fully characterized, a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) is prepared to address the site conditions. Approach, methodology, physical conditions, area and quantities, constraints (including site access), and special considerations would all be included in the RAP. The final step would be Site Remediation, which is the actual implementation of steps outlined in the RAP, and could include risk assessment (i.e. RBCA modeling or other regulatory accepted methods), physical remediation, or a combination of the two. The overall objective is to achieve ‘Site Closure’ through regulatory compliance.