The need to actively manage environmental issues related to estate in Canada came to the forefront over the past two decades. During that time, passage of legislation placed accountability for the environmental impairment of a property on its present owner, regardless of which party was actually responsible for creating the impaired condition.
No longer able to overlook the potential liability that may be linked to a property’s environmental condition, buyers, lenders, receivers and other interested parties soon required that a property’s probability of contamination be determined in advance as accurately and as completely as economically permissible. Generally, the largest portion of the burden for flagging environmental risks fell upon purchasers. However, the ‘due diligence’ process soon began to extend to self-assessment and disclosure as a device for terminating a vendor’s environmental obligations.
This universal need for all parties to a transaction to know as much as possible about the environmental condition of a subject property eventually led to the development of a property examination process referred to as an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). Legislative requirements aside, the need for individuals and corporations to determine and manage their environmental risks using the assessment process continues in the present day business setting.
Phase I – A non-intrusive qualitative examination of the property, and of any documentation related thereto that might provide factual insight into the property’s past and present uses in terms of the propensity for environmental impact on the site.
Phase II – Invasive quantitative sampling and subsequent laboratory analyses of samples taken from the site such as soil, air, groundwater, building materials, etc., in order to identify whether contaminants are present and the approximate extent of the affected area.
Phase III – The evaluation and application of the alternatives for handling any contaminants found at the property, through either their removal from the site, or where scientifically and economically feasible, the in-situ or ex-situ treatment of the contaminants.
The Phase I ESA initial property examination process has since become standardized within the consulting industry to ensure uniformity of content and procedure, and is embodied in the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) benchmark CSA Standard # Z768-01. While there exists a comparable standard for Phase II investigations in CSA Standard # Z769, the acquisition and analysis of samples typical of Phase II activity are also governed partly by prevailing legislative requirements, partly by accepted scientific protocol, and partly by sound business practice. As of July 1, 2011 amendments have been made to Ontario Regulation 153 / 04 that have resulted in a more prescriptive streamlined approach to the environmental assessment process. Being highly customized projects, Phase III ESA operations are by definition non-standard undertakings where practices and procedures are primarily dictated by the remediation techniques selected, the nature of the particular contaminants and the unique characteristics of a site.
JFM’s team of highly qualified professionals is well versed in the conduct of the entire suite of Phase I, II and III Environmental Site Assessments, and to all applicable legislative and industry standards. Our work is relied upon by numerous investor groups, financial institutions, governments, and a wide variety of privately and publicly held industrial and commercial clients.