Environmental Site Assessment

This course will closely follow the project stages. It will focus on the CSA/CCME phased site assessment approach and various provincial guidelines for management of contaminated sites including remediation and site closure.

Special features

Throughout the course a case study approach will be used both in lectures and in group work to mirror what happens at actual sites. Instructors will focus on providing case study knowledge and encourage participants to use mock site examples for issues they may be dealing with.

Who should attend

Any participant with a mandate to manage lands that may require site assessment activities such as real estate professionals, land managers, environmental managers and engineers, technologists, environmental scientists, geologists, regulatory personnel, compliance officers and auditors.


Day 1 - registration/check-in will start at 8:00 a.m. with sessions to begin at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 4:00 p.m. Days 2-4 will commence at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 4:00 p.m. There will be 15 minute mid-morning and afternoon breaks. A light lunch is included.

Course outline

Day 1

8:30 Introductions
Peter Oram, GHD
The ESA process
Phase I ESA components as required by CSA
Planning of a Phase I ESA
Conducting a Phase I ESA
Regulatory Framework
Contaminant Identification
Roles and Responsibilities of Site Professionals
Mock Phase I ESA: Case Study
Review of a Phase I ESA findings
Recommending Phase II ESA work
  Phase II ESA - Assessment Tools
Field screening techniques, intrusive drilling, test pitting, soil sampling, geophysical surveys, soil vapour surveys, groundwater sampling
4:00 Adjournment


Day 2

8:30 Conducting a Phase II ESA
Peter Oram, GHD
Pre-assessment planning
Phase II ESA program design
Soil and groundwater assessment guidelines - CCME, and various provincial guidelines
(Tier 1) for hydrocarbons, metals, i.e., lead, PAH's, asbestos materials, etc.
Environmental Protection Plan
Health and Safety Plan/QA/QC Plans
Analytical program
Phase II ESA - Case Study
  Phase III ESA and Phase IV Site Remediation
Components of Phase III ESA
CCME and provincial guidelines for conducting Phased ESAs
Contaminant Plume Delineation: soil and water
Steps to determining whether remediation is required
Tier 2: Risk Assessment: Atlantic RBCA and Health Canada protocols
Tier 3: Soil vapour and indoor air assessment
4:00 Adjournment


Day 3

8:30 Phase III ESA Cont'd
Peter Oram, GHD
Establishing Remedial Action Plans/Risk Management Plans
Remedial Options Evaluation: e.g. soil and groundwater remediation systems
Bench Scale/Pilot Test
Phase III ESA: Case Study
Case Study: Risk Management Plan  
  Phase IV Site Remediation
Remedial Action Plan approval
Preparing contract specifications
Environmental Protection Plans for remedial work
Remedial supervision and reporting
Compliance monitoring
Site Closure
4:00 Adjournment


Day 4

8:30 Site Remediation: Case Study
Peter Oram, GHD
Regulatory process for site closure
Preparing Record of Site Conditions, Notification Report and Certificate of Compliance
Roles and Responsibility of Site Professional
  Legal Issues
Guest Speaker: Lisa Mitchell, LL.B, M.E.S.

Confidentiality of Phase I to III ESA field work and reporting, study limitations
Legal vs. Voluntary
  Regulatory Framework for Contaminated Sites in Nova Scotia
4:00 Final Adjournment

There will be mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks.


Lisa J. Mitchell, B.A., LL.B, M.E.S., is a lawyer (Dalhousie, 1991) and principal of LJM Environmental Law & Consulting. She has a Masters of Environmental Studies from the School for Resource and Environmental Studies (Dalhousie, 1994), and more than fifteen years of experience working in the areas of environmental law, policy and environmental management. Lisa's law practice is exclusively in the area of environmental law. She has developed a broad-ranging practice base that includes governments, non-government organizations, private-sector companies, community groups and individual clients. Her expertise in this area originated in the challenging field of agri-environmental law and has expanded to include contaminated sites, environmental impact assessment, water regulation, professional and corporate environmental liability, coastal management and other areas.

Peter Oram, P.GEO., is Senior Environmental Specialist with GHD and has acted as project manager and/or hydrogeologist for over 1000 environmental investigations including ESAs, acid mine drainage assessments, water supply development, mineral projects, and landfill siting in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and the Northwest Territories.

Jonathan A. Kay, P.Geo., is a Contaminated Sites Specialist with Nova Scotia Environment. He has more than 15 years of experience managing contaminated site projects within the private and public sector. Mr. Kay has worked for Nova Scotia Environment since January 2009. In his current role he leads the development and management of Nova Scotia Environment’s contaminated sites program. Prior to his work in the public sector, Mr. Kay served as a Project Manager/Environmental Scientist for a private consulting company between 2001 and 2009 where he successfully completed projects ranging from ESAs to remedial programs at large industrial facilities.