In Ontario there are two levels of Environmental Assessments, Phase I and II.
The purpose of a Phase I Environmental Assessment (ESA) is to assess the environmental condition of a property and determine whether there is a risk of potential environmental liability linked to existing or historical activities at the site. Phase I ESAs are typically carried out as a condition of real estate sales, financing, change of land use, or to identify potential site contamination.
A Phase I study will include:
- a review of current and historical records – for example municipal/governmental files, public agency files, chain of title, aerial photographs, topographic and geological maps
- a site visit or site visits to assess conditions, note any hazardous substance usage (chemical solvents, petroleum products, pesticides etc.) and evaluate any hazardous site history
- conduct interviews of persons knowledgeable of the property history (past or present owners, tenants, property managers, neighbours)
- a report that documents the findings and conclusions resulting from the study and detailing any recommendations
If the potential for contamination is discovered during the Phase I study then a Phase II ESA is required in order to confirm the presence of contaminates or to file a Record of Site Condition.
The purpose of a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is to define the nature and extent of contamination that may pose an environmental risk associated with the site. A Phase II is often initiated when potential environmental contamination has been identified in a Phase I ESA, or if the findings in a Phase I ESA are inconclusive and further investigation is needed.
A Phase II ESA is accomplished through an intrusive investigation; collection of soil and groundwater samples through drilled boreholes or test pits, and/or collecting fragments of building materials for formal analysis of various contaminants. For some types of property uses a Phase II ESA is mandatory. These include properties that currently operate or have formerly operated as gas stations, automotive service centres, dry cleaners, heavy industry, textile or chemical manufacturers.
A Phase II ESA may indicate a requirement for a remediation of an environmental liability based on recommendations made in the Phase II assessment.
A remediation is specific to the site and can include removing the environmental concern or treating contamination on site (in-situ or ex-situ). One option is to leave it in place and develop a monitoring and evaluation program. Often a combination of these methods is chosen, depending on the particular circumstances of the environment and/or the needs of the client, while meeting the Standards required by the Environmental Protection Act.
Comco conducts ESAs to meet the requirements of CSA Standard Z768- 01 (as amended), Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and in compliance with the requirements of Ontario Reg. 153/04. Our knowledgeable, experienced and qualified staff has conducted numerous Phase I and II ESAs and helped our clients navigate complex environmental regulations for more than 25 years. Our company is fully licensed and registered through the Technical Standards & Safety Authority, Fuels Safety Branch of the Province of Ontario.