Environmental Site Assessment (Phase 1&2 ESA)

Angle-DrillingA Phase I ESA is a background review of a property’s historical activities or land uses, and a visual inspection of the current property to identify any actual or potential sources of environmental contamination. A Phase I ESA does not include a subsurface investigation or any sampling or testing of soil, groundwater, or building materials. Most stakeholders involved in real estate transactions are familiar with Phase I ESAs because they are often undertaken as due diligence activities associated with property transfer, financing or development.

In Canada, Phase I ESAs are usually conducted in accordance with the following:

  • Canadian Standards Association (CAN/CSA) Z768-01 environmental protocol
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) environmental site investigation procedures for mortgage loan insurance
  • Provincial standards, including Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) Regulation 511/09 (an amendment of the Record of Site Condition (RSC) Regulation 153/04), Québec Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Fight Against Climate Change (MDDELCC) and the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment (BCMOE)

Unless otherwise specified by your financial institution, compliance with the MOECC regulations legally applies only in instances where an RSC is necessary in support of a development application process, such as zoning change, site plan control, or building permit issuance.

A Phase II ESA is typically a subsurface investigation that follows up on the findings of a Phase I ESA. When the Phase I ESA reveals actual or potential sources of contamination, a Phase II ESA is undertaken to confirm or refute the presence and sources of the subsurface contamination identified. Soil, groundwater and soil vapour samples are obtained as necessary via drilled boreholes or test pits. The scope of the subsurface investigation is site-specific, and can range from a couple of boreholes around an area of concern, to several dozen holes as a result of an extensive investigation in order to determine the extent of already-confirmed soil or groundwater contamination.

In Canada, Phase II ESAs are usually conducted in accordance with the following:

  • Canadian Standards Association (CAN/CSA) Z769-00 environmental protocol
  • Provincial standards, including Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) Regulation 511/09 (an amendment of the Record of Site Condition (RSC) Regulation 153/04), Québec Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Fight Against Climate Change (MDDELCC) and the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment (BCMOE)

Compliance with the MOECC Regulation legally applies only in instances where a RSC is necessary in support of a development application process, such as a zoning change, site plan control, or building permit issuance.

Contact Us today to learn more about our Environmental Site Assessment Services.

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