Notice: Identification Of Contaminated Sites In BC

Posted: January 18, 2021

Land developers, municipalities, realtors, and commercial and industrial property owners / operators should be aware of important “Stage 13” changes to the BC Contaminated Sites Regulation (CSR) that will take effect on February 1, 2021.  The net effect is that a wider range of properties and projects will be triggered into the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV) regulatory approval process. 

It is now more important than ever to involve a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) in the early planning stages for any project that will involve permits for subdivision, zoning, building / development that will involve soil disturbance, or discontinuing commercial/industrial activities.

Key changes include:

  • A new Site Disclosure Statement will replace the previous Site Profile, which must be submitted to local governments whenever an application is made for development-related permits and approvals. 
  • A Site Disclosure Statement must also be submitted to ENV whenever prescribed commercial / industrial activities cease for one year or more (such cessation is now considered “decommissioning” of the site, including due to insolvency / foreclosure). 
  • Regarding the sale of any property with current or historical prescribed commercial / industrial activities, the vendor must provide a Site Disclosure Statement to the prospective purchaser at least 30 days prior to the closing date. 
  • All Site Disclosure Statements must now be supported by a Stage 1 Preliminary Site Investigation, which must be completed by a QEP.
  • For most projects involving the permit types listed above, whenever a Site Disclosure Statement identifies a prescribed commercial / industrial activity, ENV will automatically require that further environmental investigations be conducted to determine the presence, absence and/or extent of any contamination.  In order for the project to proceed, the proponent must obtain a Release or Instrument from ENV (e.g. Certificate of Compliance, Approval in Principal, or Determination).
  • Municipalities and Regional Districts will no longer be allowed to opt-out of these ENV requirements.  This will have significant ramifications for projects in places like the City of Coquitlam, the District of Langford, the Township of Langley, and many others.
  • Changes to CSR Schedule 2 will also take effect, capturing more types of activities.
  • New non-compliance measures, allowing for fines up to $75,000 per day.

We are here to help!  Active Earth is a multi-disciplinary firm, specializing in physical hydrogeology, contaminated sites assessment and remediation, and geotechnical engineering.  Our team includes some of the most talented and experienced professionals and regulatory experts in BC.  We look forward to supporting your next project and navigating you through these new requirements quickly and cost-effectively. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us – we look forward to hearing from you!

1As listed in Schedule 2 of the CSR, available here:

2Typically referred to as Stage 2 Preliminary Site Investigation and/or Detailed Site Investigations (DSI).This typically consists of drilling and collection of soil and groundwater samples (etc.) for laboratory analysis. For site decommissioning, the investigations must be completed within one year of submission of the Site Disclosure Statement (unless an extension is granted by ENV).