Government of Nova Scotia
novascotia.ca Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada
 
Environment

Topics

Contaminated Sites

Technical Guidance

Documents

Environmental Quality Standards for Contaminated Sites - Rationale and GuidancePDF Download Link (PDF:1.1mb)

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question link to view the response.

  1. What are the key requirements for cleaning up a site using the full property option under the regulations? view answer
  2. There are two: (1) The remediation must be unconditional, as outlined in the remediation levels protocol. (2) The entire site must be assessed, including a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment.

  3. Does the department require a re-assessment of previously closed contaminated sites under the new regulations? view answer
  4. No, unless such a re-evaluation is triggered because an owner or person responsible chooses to evaluate the property again under the regulations. A "person responsible for a contaminated site" is defined in the Environment Act.

  5. How do the contaminated sites regulations relate to the discovery of contamination at federal properties? view answer
  6. The regulations only impose duties for lands under federal jurisdiction when contamination extends off federal property into lands under provincial jurisdiction, such as through groundwater contamination or other media that may be contaminated.

  7. Who is responsible to report under the contaminated sites regulations? view answer
  8. A person responsible for a contaminated site is required to report, as outlined in the regulations. The specific rules and requirements are contained in the notification of contamination protocol made in conjunction with the regulations. A "person responsible for a contaminated site" is defined in the Environment Act.

  9. What about sites that may have been determined to have been contaminated prior to the effective date of the regulations but were not reported to Nova Scotia Environment? view answer
  10. That depends. Review the requirements of the notification of contamination protocol under the regulations to determine if notification is required.

  11. How does the duty to report under the contaminated sites regulations relate to the duty to report releases under the Environment Act? view answer
  12. These are two separate reporting requirements: (1) Releases must be reported under the Environment Act, section VI. In particular, section 69 sets out who, when, and how you are required to report such releases. Regulations that describe the requirements for reportable releases are known as the environmental emergency regulations. (2) Contaminated sites must be reported as set out in regulations made under part VIII of the Environment Act. The reporting requirements for the identification and notification of contaminated sites are contained within the contaminated sites regulations and supporting protocols.

  13. What are the key differences between requirements to report releases and contaminated sites? view answer
  14. The key differences are with who must report and when: (1) Releases must be reported immediately by any person who discovers or becomes aware of the release. See the environment act and environmental emergency regulations for those reportable releases defined within the regulation. (2) Contaminated sites must be reported once it is determined that the release has caused contamination exceeding applicable standards, and other factors such as the type of soil, land use, groundwater use, and the chemical or compound. Full details on the triggers for reporting are described in the notification of contamination protocol. The person reporting would be a site professional, owner, or other person responsible for a contaminated site.

  15. What are key similarities between requirements to report releases and contaminated sites? view answer
  16. Both have requirements for verbal reporting: the environmental emergency regulations for verbal reporting of releases and the contaminated sites regulations for verbal reporting of free product. Common verbally reportable releases are petroleum fuels, which can sometimes create free product. The notification of contamination protocol in section 4 explains the relationship in reporting releases under the environmental emergency regulations and free product under the contaminated sites regulations.

  17. What are the requirements of site professionals to report under the contaminated sites regulations? view answer
  18. Under the regulations, site professionals are considered to be persons responsible for a contaminated site for notifying only. This requirement is imposed by the regulations and protocol when a site professional is working on behalf of an owner of a contaminated site or other person responsible for a contaminated site.

  19. Are site professionals who may have worked on sites prior to the effective date of the regulations required to report them retrospectively under the regulations? view answer
  20. No. Site professionals are neither expected nor required to report for sites they worked on before the effective date of the regulations (July 6, 2013).

  21. As a site professional working on a site for someone other than the person responsible for the contaminated sites, what are my regulatory obligations for reporting? view answer
  22. You have a regulatory obligation to report a contaminated site only when you are working on behalf of an owner of a contaminated site or other person responsible for a contaminated site. Refer to the contaminated sites regulations and protocol, which impose duties to report on the person responsible for a contaminated site and their site professionals.

  23. Do the contaminated sites regulations affect sites with existing operating approvals or for persons who have been issued Ministerial Orders? view answer
  24. That depends. If existing operating approvals or Ministerial Orders issued by Nova Scotia Environment contain terms and conditions that relate to reporting, assessment, and remediation of contamination as a condition of their approval or Ministerial Order, then these terms and conditions continue to apply unless amended by the Minister. (Note that an approval holder or person issued a Ministerial Order may also apply to the Minister for such an amendment, if desired.)

    However, if an approval does not contain such terms and conditions, then the contaminated sites regulations apply.

  25. What are the requirements for notifying of contaminated sites with multiple parcel identifiers (PIDs) owned by the same party? view answer
  26. When a site requiring notification spans several PIDs associated with the same owner (person responsible for the contaminated site), notify as if the site were one parcel, citing the relevant civic address for the main parcel and all associated PIDs.