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The City owns approximately 9,000 titled properties (22,000 acres/8900 hectares). An important part of managing these land assets is understanding and addressing any potential risks associated with possible environmental contamination. In order to do this, the City has created a formal city-wide Contaminated Sites Management Program (CSMP). The CSMP includes 4 main components which address the following:

  • Site identification

  • Site management

  • Real estate related concerns

  • Third party liability

The City manages sites to ensure that potential risks to public health and the environment are mitigated to the satisfaction of Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Health. The City is in the early stages of implementing the CSMP, which is expected to take several years due to the large number of properties owned by the City. Work is proceeding based on a ranking of properties using characteristics such as site information, land use activities, public access and operational requirements.

What does contamination mean?

Contamination of land and water can occur for a variety of reasons and from a variety of sources. Activities such as the operation of a fuelling site, salt storage for roadway maintenance, fire suppression and waste disposal are all activities which could result in environmental contamination. Sites operated in the past, when environmental concerns were not well understood or recognized, are often at risk for contamination. Sites constructed now are usually engineered to manage potential contaminant sources to prevent pollution of the environment. 

Not all contaminants pose a risk to human health. Each contaminant listed in the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guidelines published by Alberta Environment and Parks poses different risks to each receptor category in the guidelines. Receptors are the organisms that may be affected by the contaminants, for example freshwater aquatic organisms, agricultural plants, or people. Contaminants are evaluated for their harm to the receptor including effects such as human health, fish mortality and even soil structure. Not all contaminants are harmful to human health. Those that are harmful to human health do not always fall into the category of toxins, poisons or carcinogens.

Most contaminants are not considered ‘hazardous.’ Hazardous waste is defined through legislation and regulation in Alberta. There are specific requirements for the management of hazardous waste. Typically, environmental contamination is not found in concentrations that would be considered hazardous waste.

What is a contaminated site?

For the purposes of the CSMP, a contaminated site comprises one or more properties where substances exist in soil, groundwater, or surface water in a greater concentration than is allowed under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (Alberta) Tier 1 and Tier 2 Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guidelines. Contamination can occur through operational use, such as at fuelling sites or maintenance yards, as well as through historical activities due to human occupation, such as filling of low areas, fires, coal mining or the unmanaged dumping of refuse.

Why manage contamination?

Unidentified and unmanaged contamination can affect the City in many ways including:

  • Impacts on the environment and public health and safety

  • Financial loss due to unanticipated liabilities

  • Legal liability due to non-compliance with legislation

  • Impacts to reputation as a responsible, sustainable and transparent municipality

  • Ability to successfully deliver facilities and infrastructure that support communities and contribute to Edmontonians’ health and wellbeing

How is contamination managed?

Sites in the CSMP are managed to ensure there is no risk to public health or the environment using a number of approaches including:

  • Remediation - involves activities such as excavation and disposal of contaminated soils at an approved Class II (municipal type) landfill, treatments such as biodegradation or chemical oxidation and groundwater treatment.

  • Risk Assessment - involves the application of statistical calculations based on contaminant concentrations and distribution to determine the risk to specific receptors (people, plants and the environment) through a specific pathway (for example skin contact, consumption of water). Risk Assessment can be used to calculate site specific guideline values for the contaminants, following approved protocols published by Alberta Environment and Parks.

  • Risk Management - occurs after a Risk Assessment has been conducted and includes measures to mitigate the risks that are identified. These could include preventing site access through fencing, placing a barrier to the contaminated soils such as asphalt, concrete or a maintained turf layer, using administrative controls such as development permits and zoning restrictions to prevent unapproved excavation.

CSMP Site Locations

Notice: All information on the City of Edmonton website, including but not limited to the contaminated site information map and site location information (the "Information") is subject to our Conditions of Use.

Geo-Environmental Report Request Form

There is a fee of $75 per search. Report copies are subject to photocopying or digital copying fees.

For More Information

Geotechnical and Environmental Services

Engineering Services Section, Integrated Infrastructure Services
11004 190 Street NW
Edmonton, AB  T5S 0G9

Title Geo-Environmental Information Coordinator
Telephone

780-496-6770

Email GeoEnvInfo@edmonton.ca

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