Ministry of the Environment: Land Remediation Section Updates

Stage 12 Amendments to the Contaminated Sites Regulation

Stage 12 amendments to the CSR were approved, and the Ministerial Order #40 and Order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council #20 deposited, on January 24, 2019. These amendments corrected a number of errors in standards and footnotes in CSR Schedules 3.1 to 3.4, introduced during the 2017 amendments, and included consequential amendments to CSR Schedule 1.1 that were inadvertently missed during previous amendments. Additionally, the name of a Wide Area Site (WAS) was changed to Environmental Management Area. The new name has the same meaning as a WAS and does not affect the WAS provisions in the CSR. The name of a Wide Area Remediation Plan will not change as a result of Stage 12 amendments. This change will affect existing WAS designation holders and future wide area sites.


Final Policy Direction – Soil Relocation

Following consultation on a 2014 discussion paper and a 2016 intentions paper, the ministry is proposing changes to the current soil relocation process.  These changes will help by streamlining the legal regime, making the process more clear and transparent, and improving the ministry’s ability to carry out compliance verification and enforcement. The proposed amendments to the soil relocation process are outlined in the Final Policy Direction – Prevention of Site Contamination from Soil Relocation. A notification with schedule and registration information for upcoming webinars to discuss the proposed amendments will be sent soon.


Amendment to Protocol 4 “Establishing Background Concentrations in Soil”

The ministry revised Protocol 4 – “Establishing Background Concentrations in Soil”. This new version (Version 10) removes unintended contradictory language, thus clarifying the conditions under which practitioners may apply the protocol on sites with anthropogenic influences. It revokes and replaces the former version of Protocol 4 issued on November 1, 2017, under the authority of the Contaminated Sites Regulation, and this new Version 10 is effective January 09, 2019.

Please direct your comments and feedback on Protocol 4 to


Update of Protocol 13 “Screening Level Risk Assessment”

The ministry has completed a minor update to Protocol 13 – “Screening Level Risk Assessment” (SLRA). The changes are in response to stakeholder queries from the SLRA webinar held in the fall 2017 and subsequent to that time. The changes are summarized as follows:

  • SLRA may now be used for any substance;
  • For consistency with the above, minor wording changes were made to Appendix A along with clarification of substances and associated leaching tests;
  • The protocol now specifies constituents of creosote and petroleum hydrocarbon carrier solutions as beneficial use materials instead of PAHs in “Beneficial use exemption” section;
  • HEPHs is now included in Table A-1, Appendix A;
  • A soil pH-Kd isotherm is now included for silver; and
  • Minor clarifications were made to the sequence and references to notes 11, 12 and 13 in the questionnaire.

The ministry thanks those stakeholders who provided their comments to date and welcomes any further comments on the protocol going forward.

Please direct your comments and feedback on Protocol 13 to and


Requirements for Demonstrating Plume Stability under SLRA/DRA

The ministry advises the following based on recent queries regarding demonstration of plume stability under Detailed Risk Assessment.

Ministry policy requires that groundwater contamination plumes be demonstrated to be stable or shrinking when using a risk assessment approach at contaminated sites. Requirements for demonstrating plume stability are specified in section 7 of Protocol 13: Screening Level Risk Assessment. The requirements are summarized as follows:

“The demonstration of stable or decreasing contaminant plumes must include the evaluation of groundwater conditions within and at the margins of contaminant plumes and provide evidence of both stable or decreasing substance concentrations and no additional vertical or lateral migration or rebound effects. A minimum of 2 years of groundwater monitoring and geochemical data (including seasonal variations over a 2 year period) demonstrating stable or decreasing groundwater concentrations and conditions is necessary.”

The above requirements apply to Screening Level Risk Assessment (SLRA). By association, the requirements also apply to Detailed Risk Assessment (DRA). However, in consideration of the more detailed and site-specific nature of DRA, the ministry acknowledges that there may be other means of evaluation/lines of evidence that may be used under DRA to demonstrate plume stability. Accordingly, the ministry’s expectations for assessment of plume stability under DRA are as follows:

  • Meet the requirements specified in SLRA; or
  • Meet the requirements specified in SLRA with a minimum of 1 year of quarterly groundwater monitoring and geochemical data (including assessing groundwater conditions over the range of seasonal/temporal variations) coupled with other methods of evaluation/lines of evidence that in sum demonstrate plume stability (e.g., partial/complete source removal, conservative modelling…).

Trend analysis (e.g., Mann-Kendall test, α=0.05) of the monitoring data used to support demonstration of stable or decreasing concentrations is implicitly required as part of assessment of plume stability under either SLRA or DRA. The plume stability assessment should also be carried out by a qualified professional hydrogeologist.

The above DRA expectations are deemed to apply to current submissions. The expectations are planned to be incorporated into ministry guidance in the near future.

Please direct any comments or feedback on plume stability assessment to


Administrative Bulletin 5

As a result of Stage 11 amendments to the Contaminated Sites Regulation (CSR) in 2017, a number of typographical, transcriptional and consequential errors were introduced into CSR Schedules 3.1 to 3.4.   Administrative Bulletin 5 summarizes known errata; these were corrected in the recently approved CSR Stage 12 amendments.  Should additional errors, or suspected errors, be identified, please notify the Environmental Emergencies and Land Remediation Branch at:


Administrative Bulletin 6

The ministry has released Administrative Bulletin 6 to further communicate the Land Remediation Section’s interpretation of legal requirements for authorizations prescribed under the Environmental Management Act.  This bulletin is directed specifically at circumstances where authorizations are required for onsite discharges connected to remediation of sites. Any questions regarding this document should be sent to


Personnel Announcements: Management Change at Land Remediation

After 11 years working in various roles within the Land Remediation Section of the Environmental Emergencies and Land Remediation Branch, current Acting Director, Peter Kickham, is moving over to the Capital Regional District where he will be taking on the position of Manager of Environmental Regulations. While he is looking forward to a new challenge, he will miss the great people and important/interesting work he has been involved with throughout his career in the BC Public Service.


Peter’s last day is Friday February 1st. Please join us in wishing him all the best.