The Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) is a phased program (the Program) that is now in its third phase which is planned to end in 2020. The estimated environmental liability remaining at 2020 for over 1,000 FCSAP-eligible sites is projected to be $4 billion. Recognizing the scope of work that will remain in 2020 at the end of the Program, the FCSAP Secretariat is developing a plan for managing federal contaminated sites post-2020. To develop the plan, the Secretariat wanted to get feedback from custodians and Expert Support Departments (ESDs) on the Program to date to get this key perspective on big questions such as: • What have been the achievements of the Program? • What could be done better post-2020? • What should the Program look like in the future? A series of 12 webinars were held to get feedback on lessons learned from custodians and ESDs from the regions across the country. This presentation will highlight the results of these webinars and present the major themes that were clearly important to Program partners. We will also provide some insights from the Secretariat in how they plan to incorporate this information into managing contaminated sites post-2020.
The Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) Program is scheduled to sunset in March 2020. After fifteen years with $4.5B spent, the program will have assessed and remediated thousands of sites, closing two-thirds of the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory. Despite the best efforts of program partners, by 2020 it is expected that thousands of sites will remain with an expected cost of $4B. However, given the multiple competing demands for resources within the federal government, there is no certainty of future funding. Therefore, the development of compelling rationale for continued support for FCSAP Program is essential. Approaches for a program beyond 2020 are currently being developed by FCSAP Program partners. Although, a post-2020 program will still focus on the protection of human health and the environment, a reframe is needed to demonstrate program growth and efficiencies gained. For example, program design considerations could also support other federal priorities such as Indigenous engagement, skills development, local economic development, and innovation. This presentation will focus on the forecasted future need in terms of sites and funding and explore possible changes in the future program that align with current government priorities, and that more fully realize the benefits of this landmark federal program.
Planning for the future of FCSAP post-2020 required having reliable information on the number of sites and the expected remaining costs for assessment, remediation/risk management and long-term management of the FCSAP eligible sites that will not have been closed by that time horizon. While custodians have this information on their sites that are active and have passed Step 3, there are still approximately 2,000 suspected sites, and 900 more at the initial testing step that are unclassified or have no liability estimate. The FCSAP Secretariat solicited the development of a defensible method to project the remaining funding demand through to 2020, and post 2020. The developed predictive tool uses the characteristics of similar sites to calculate the cost to remediate sites which have not yet started, and the proportion of those sites which will become Class 1 and 2, and can, according to current eligibility rules, be FCSAP funded. The tool uses the data in the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory, plus additional information requested from custodians and a predictive algorithm to calculate number of sites and costs post-2020. The premise at the heart of the algorithm is that sites that are similar by function will have a similar contaminant profile, site class distribution, and similar assessment, risk management/remediation (R/RM) and long-term monitoring (LTM) costs. This presentation will describe how the model uses the characteristics of closed sites or nearly closed sites in each category to predict the following information on sites that are unclassified or have no liability estimate: Distribution of unclassified sites into Classes 1, 2, 3 and N; Proportion of sites that will require remediation after assessment and the proportion of sites that will pass onto long-term monitoring after remediation; The expected duration of assessment and remediation of contaminated sites in the Category; and, Costs for assessment, R/RM and LTM for contaminated sites in the Category. Cost projections were initially performed only for the sites which were predicted to become Class 1 and Class 2 (based on projections). In a parallel analysis to the predictive modelling, the sites with a known or expected liability of over $5M were identified as high cost-high risk (HCHR) sites, and were subject to a risk-based analysis of costs. Custodians of those sites were convened in a workshop and assisted in filling out a template that estimated the cost uncertainty by key stage in the project. The known liabilities (estimated by custodians) were added to the outputs of the predictive model’s liabilities and the HCHR risk adjusted liabilities to determine the future funding demand for FCSAP eligible contaminated sites. The predictive model has recently been enhanced to predict the liability of Class 3 sites at the request of the Office of the Auditor General.