Environmental Site Assessment - Phase II

The Environmental Site Assessment - Phase II, also called preliminary environmental characterization, is necessary when the Environmental Site Assessment - Phase I revealed evidence of actual or potential contamination that may affect the environmental quality of the Site.

The Project Manager sample and characterize soil and groundwater at predetermined locations and submit these samples for laboratory analysis in order to confirm or deny the presence of contaminants in concentrations above those permitted.

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The main steps in conducting an Environmental Site Assessment - Phase II are:

This step consists of defining the objectives as well as the scope of the work.
The project manager also prepares work tools, authorization requests and underground infrastructure detection requests.

A situation analysis can identify areas and parameters that may be problematic and allows to determine the best methods of investigation for the sector and to probe the contamination involved.

This step involves developing a work program and preparing sampling materials.

It includes, among others, the design of the sampling plan (random, systematic, targeted, combined), the choice of the sampling type (punctual, compound), the choice of the depth and the number of drillings or trenches to perform, the evaluation of the number of samples to be taken and finally, the selection of the parameters to be analyzed.

This step includes identifying and taking samples, organoleptic observations, taking photographs, storing and transporting samples.

Drilling equipment and sampling equipment are selected based on the depth, the type of soil to be sampled, the stability of the land, the accessibility of the Site and the types of contaminants.

The laboratory responsible for the analysis of the samples must be accredited by the MELCC and the laboratory analysis certificates must bear the signature of the responsible chemist who must to be a member of the Order of Chemists of Quebec. The laboratory must provide the results of analyzes, physico-chemical certificates, the results of the quality assurance program, the detection and quantification limits of the methods and the references of the analytical methods.

Analytical results are reviewed by the assessor and contaminant concentrations are compared to allowable limit values.

These values differ according to the criterion of use (Level A, B and C). The use criterion of the Site is determined by the municipal zoning plan and / or the current use of it.

Additional obligations for certain potentially polluting activities 
Some commercial and industrial activities are considered by the MELCC as potentially polluting and are the subject of special attention (eg service station).

These activities are listed in Appendix III of the Land Protection and Rehabilitation Regulation.

Thus, any land that shelters or has in the past housed an activity listed in Appendix III of the Regulation, is subject to the requirements of Division IV of the Environment Quality Act. This section stipulates, among others, if activities have been terminated on the Site, or if the Site’s use changes, the owners of the Site must carry out an Environmental Site Assessment - Phase I and Phase II (characterization of soils and groundwater), and if necessary, submit a schedule for rehabilitation works. The report must be certified by an accredited by the MELCC. A copy of the report must be submitted to the MELCC.  

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