We are often asked, “How much will it cost to find out if there are any poisonous chemicals or dangerous environmental issues in my home or property?”.
The answer depends on how much certainty is required. For example, to fully rule out any environmental issues, you would need to test every piece of soil for every possible contaminant. It would be extremely costly given there are 50 million known chemicals (many of which are organic, and/or totally safe) and it is impractical, if not impossible, to sample every piece of soil on a site.
For decades, a phased Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) approach has been used to determine the amount of testing needed and assess risk incrementally, to avoid conducting and paying for unnecessary tests where risk is not evident.
The question should be reframed to better quantify the factors affecting your assessment, and related costs:
Egmond Associates Limited is qualified to conduct numerous types of Environmental Assessments, including Ontario Regulation 153/04 (O. Reg.) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z768-01 Phase I ESA, CSA Z760-00 Phase II ESA, Remediation and Risk Assessments.
We also regularly work with lawyers to prepare Record of Site Condition (RSC) reports as required. We provide other Geotechnical, Engineering and Environmental services as well (see EAL Services).
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A Phase I ESA (Environmental Site Assessment) will examine past uses. It helps us determine which specific areas of the site may need further investigation and what contaminants we might expect to find. This helps us narrow down our list from 50 million known chemicals that exist in the universe to a few chemicals we might reasonably expect to find on your site based on your site’s history. It also tells us where we should reasonably expect to find these issues (e.g., locations of fuel storage tanks, past spills), based on your site’s specific history so that we are not left to sample every inch of the entire site.
The cost of Phase I ESA can vary based on whether the assessment is for personal use, or for Government / Bank lending by meeting Ontario Regulation 153/04 or Canadian Standards Association standards. Our ESAs can range from $3,000 to $7,250 CAD* (see our typical ESA costs).
A Phase II ESA involves sampling of the soil in targeted areas of the property to discover whether the potential contaminants of the Phase I exist. Samples focus on areas where risks are identified by the Phase One ESA to find scientific proof (through laboratory sampling) of if a chemical is present and at what level.
You’ve probably heard of the dangers of PCBs, Lead, Arsenic and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). These are just a few of the compounds and elements you might be concerned about. Ontario has developed a list of soil, water and sediment standards for contaminants and site conditions should be considered for testing, to be in compliance with the Environmental Protection Act. These are developed based on the amount of risk acceptable to human and ecological health based on various generic site standards (e.g., if your site is a home or a factory, and other factors). We compare your samples to these standards to determine if a sample is “clean” or “dirty”.
A single sample tested for all Ontario Regulation 153/04 parameters could cost over $1,000 but an in-depth Phase II ESA for all Ontario parameters that is Canadian Government & Bank Compliant could cost $17,000* (see our pricing).
If your Phase I or Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) uncover environmental issues, EAL can work with you to design a remediation program to safely clean up contamination the applicable standards (e.g., federal, provincial).
Typical site remediation options include removal or treatment of soil or water or other clean-up or disposal options, depending on your site and your goals.
An alternative is to use a Risk Assessment (RA). An RA is a systematic approach to determining the contaminants on site, as well as their pathways, for damaging human health or the environment, and identifying the steps required to minimize their damage.
Each jurisdiction will set standards based on known risks, and your ESAs will advise whether your property meets those standards. Ontario Regulation 153/04 describes the Ontario method.
Egmond Associates Limited is qualified to conduct numerous types of Environmental Assessments, including Ontario Regulation 153 (O. Reg. 153/04) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) CSA Z768-01 Phase I ESA, CSA Z769-00 Phase II ESA, Remediation and Risk Assessments. We also regularly work with lawyers to prepare Record of Site Condition (RSC) reports as required. We provide other Geotechnical, Engineering and Environmental services as well (see EAL Services).
* All prices are typical range. Actual price varies by site, site conditions, client requirements.
Contact EAL today to discuss your options and to request a quote tailored to your situation.
Excess Soil (Reg 409/16) is a newly minted excess soil law in Ontario which governs how excess soil (e.g., soil from digging a new basement on a house or building) can be used/disposed of/stored.
EAL recommends reducing excavation volumes, and re-using soil on site as much as possible (eg. to raise grades, create berms, etc). We’d be happy to talk to you about what options could exist for your site!
Want to reduce greenhouse gases or save money on heating and air conditioning? Geothermal is a way of environmental due diligence - we’d love to talk about this!
We provide other services related to residential and commercial projects including :