Presentation Abstracts

DAY 1 – Wednesday, June 19, 2013

8:45 am - 9:30 am 
Opening Address: The MindShift Sustainability Education Keynote                    

In September of 2007, seven high school students sat down with facilitators from the HRM Adventure Earth Centre hoping to make a difference - to write a theatrical presentation and sustainability education program to mobilize their high school peers to work for a healthy environment. Within three years the program they wrote has not only been performed for more than 4000 high schools students, but the message and impact has gone way beyond their peers to reach several thousand adults from the Atlantic region and across Canada.

9:30 am – 10:00 am
Opening Keynote

Being Smart About Sustainable Contaminated Site Management

Monique Punt1 and Tammy Lomas-Jylha2
1MPunt Environmental Consulting
2TLomasJylha Consulting


Sustainable remediation and redevelopment is gaining momentum in Canada. More and more projects and initiatives are being smart by planning for and incorporating sustainable principles into their project design and decision-making. They are focusing on the economic, social and environmental benefits that can be derived during the remediation and redevelopment of contaminated sites. A holistic approach needs to be considered along the entire project: planning; site assessment; remediation; risk management; restoration; redevelopment; monitoring, and, reporting. But what are the reasons for this momentum and can we expect that sustainable contaminated site management will become the “norm” or “business as usual” at government and private sector properties?

This keynote address will:

  • Provide an introduction explaining the fundamentals of sustainability and how it applies to contaminated site management;
  • Highlight the reasons for this increasing momentum or use of sustainable approaches in Canada and consider whether the decisions to include sustainable remediation concepts in a project are based on a particular driver, as an example, a regulatory requirement, best management practices, or cost savings; and,
  • Identify the ways to encourage change management to facilitate new thinking regarding sustainability so that it becomes “business as usual” for contaminated site management in Canada.

10:30 am - 11:00 am

Sustainability in the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan

Jody Klassen1 and Clayton Truax2

1Environment Canada
2Public Works and Government Services Canada

11:00 am – 11:30 am

Application of Statistically Defendable Bulk Sampling Techniques in Support of Sustainable Re-use, Treatment or Management of Impacted Soil

Michael Charles, Stantec Consulting Ltd.


Contaminated soil is almost always characterized for environmental hazards based on in-situ, targeted samples collected during the site assessment phase (Phase II or Phase III ESA). Because of budget limitations, these samples are known to be biased high by the nature of the assessment process (i.e., limited samples), and are almost never fully representative of the actual risk presented by the soil which may require some form of management. This evaluation stage can have profound effect on the assessment of actual environmental risk, disposal options, the associated costs and other environmental factors such as generation of greenhouse gasses and displacing valuable capacity in existing landfills. Arguably, the current approach using “spot” grab samples limits options for effective and sustainable re-use of soil in certain situations.

We will present the basis and examples of successful application of a bulk sampling method to characterize large soil volumes using a statistically defendable, and reproducible approach. The method is proposed for situations where very large quantities of material are accumulated or generated during site development and require appropriate chemical characterization to determine actual risk on a large-scale basis. The use of this method removes the inconsistencies and erratic nature of a limited number of “spot” samples in appropriately characterizing the true environmental risk in large stockpiles with statistical confidence. Assessing the bulk chemical properties using this technique provides decision makers with an appropriate tool to assess the risk and appropriate measures to treat, dispose or manage impacted soil stockpiles in a more sustainable manner. An overview of the method development history and application on several sites is presented.

11:30 am – 12:00 pm

Sustainable Assessment Tools: Real-Time High-Resolution Characterization of the Subsurface Using MIP and LIF

Bruce Tunnicliffe, Vertex Environmental Inc.


In-situ characterization and remediation can be key components of sustainable development. In-situ characterization allows for large amounts of detailed site characterization data to be collected quickly and cost-effectively compared to traditional techniques. These data, combined with traditional Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) methods, greatly enhance the understanding of the presence, concentration and distribution of contaminants in the subsurface, which can lead to more efficient and focused remediation programs. Efficient delineation and remediation lowers the carbon footprint for the overall project.

Two new high-resolution characterization technologies have recently been introduced to Canada: the Membrane Interface Probe (MIP) for dissolved-phase contamination; and, the Laser-Induced Fluorescence (LIF) probe for free-phase petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) contamination. The MIP is advanced to depth by direct push methods (Geoprobe), and the heated probe is used to volatilize dissolved and sorbed contaminants. The contaminants diffuse through a semi-permeable membrane on the probe and are subsequently transported to the surface for analysis. The LIF probe consists of a fiber optic cable that emits multiple wavelengths of light through a window during probe advancement. The PAHs in PHCs fluoresce and the response is measured by instrumentation at the surface in real-time.

Using the MIP, LIF and Phase II ESA data, subsurface PHC plumes can be rendered in 3D to visualize the interpreted area of impact requiring remediation.

Aerial photographs, building CAD models or GIS terrain data can also be added to provide a more detailed visualization of the site for presentation purposes. This modeling tool can be used to optimize remedial system designs or supplemental data collection programs and offers superior communication potential to clients and other stakeholders.

During this presentation, each technology will be briefly discussed, and a case study will be presented where both the MIP and the LIF were used prior to and during in-situ remediation of PHCs. This talk will present the pre-injection MIP and LIF results and showcase how the in-situ program was intelligently altered based upon the high-resolution data. The 3D modeled renderings of the plumes will be presented to show how the results were used to alter the design, which resulted in efficient distribution of the amendment and destruction of the PHC impacts.

Presenter Bio:

Bruce Tunnicliffe, M.A.Sc., P.Eng., President, Vertex Environmental Inc.

Bruce Tunnicliffe is President of Vertex Environmental Inc., is an Environmental Engineer, and has more than 15 years of experience designing and implementing remediation of chlorinated solvents and petroleum hydrocarbons. Having worked on more than 300 sites, Bruce has extensive experience on innovated assessment tools and in-situ remediation techniques. Bruce holds a Master’s degree from the University of Waterloo, has authored many publications, and has presented at numerous conferences.

12:15 pm - 12:45 pm

Luncheon Keynote: Trashing Contaminated Sites – Using Recycled Materials to Remediate Sites

Bob Kenney, Nova Scotia Environment


Past municipal solid waste (MSW) and construction and demolition (C&D) disposal practices, including open burning of waste, may have led to the release of contaminants at old ‘dumps’ across the province. Current MSW and C&D debris contain contaminants (lead, mercury, organic leachate, etc.) that are managed through a variety of mitigating methods at current disposal sites. The diversion of MSW and C&D debris from disposal sites not only reduces the risk associated with their disposal, but many of the ‘wasted’ materials can be diverted and turned into products to assist the reclamation/remediation industry.

In other words, remediation/reclamation industry specialists can reduce the environmental impacts associated with the disposal of MSW and C&D debris by creating a demand for products made from materials that were destined for the landfill and using them to reclaim/remediate contaminated sites. Sound a little utopian? This presentation will explore a number of specific examples of MSW and C&D debris being turned into value-added products that can potentially be used by remediation specialists to reclaim contaminated sites at locations across the province. 

1:15 pm – 1:45 pm

Proof-of-Concept Evaluation Process: Destruction of DNAPL Through a Green Technology – PCE Source Area Bioremediation

Kent C. Armstrong1; Geoff Bell2; I. Richard Schaffner3

1BioStryke Remediation Product
2G2S Environmental Consulting Inc.
3GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.


A Proof-of-Concept evaluation using Passive Release Sock (PRS) deployment units containing the proprietary electron donor additive ERDenhanced™ demonstrated the sustainable remediation of chlorinated volatile organic compound (cVOC) dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) source mass. Tetrachloroethene (PCE) concentrations decreased by 81.5% in less than nine months, with generation and similar destruction of daughter products Trichloroethene (TCE) and cis-Dichloroethene (DCE).

PRS based Proof-of-Concept evaluations provide stakeholders with a low-cost, low-risk method to confirm additive efficacy, under actual site biogeochemical conditions, prior to committing to full-scale in-situ remediation. ERDenhanced™ is proven to biostimulate native microbial populations and enhance the complete and sustainable dehalorespiration of cVOC contaminants, maintain reducing conditions for over eight years at several sites after a single injection event. The site discussed is a former dry cleaner within an operating suburban strip mall. Full-scale remedial strategy includes installation of a subslab infiltration gallery during site redevelopment efforts for long-term, low-impact and low-cost deployment capabilities.

PRS units are five-foot long selectively permeable tubes designed to fit into existing two-inch groundwater monitoring wells. Amendment filled PRS units remain suspended within the screened interval of the impacted saturated zone, creating a minimal area-of-influence (< 1 metre) during the evaluation period and no long-term impacts to site geochemistry. Typical to the Proof-of-Concept design strategy, two PRS units were filled with a minimal volume of ERDenhanced™ and deployed into a test well located proximate to the cVOC source zone.

Prior to amendment deployment, baseline groundwater conditions are monitored and recorded, with samples collected and submitted for analytical testing; from the results of baseline sample analysis, all efficacy evaluations are based. A minimum of three rounds of performance groundwater monitoring, sampling, and analytical testing are performed post-additive deployment and, with other Canadian and USA project results, are discussed.

Baseline [PCE] was 13,000 micrograms per litre (μg/L) in July 2011 and by October 2011 ERDenhanced™ demonstrated the ability to leverage existing site conditions and enhance native microbial populations to biotransform cVOC contaminants cost-effectively, reducing [PCE] molar mass by 81.5%; with 83.5% and 57.1% reductions in the molar mass of the daughter products TCE and cis-DCE respectively, during the same evaluation period.

The owner, with Ministry of Environment (MOE) approval, chose the PRS based evaluation process to observe the efficacy of ERDenhanced™ to biostimulate existing treatment zone geochemistry and native microbial populations, and demonstrate cost-effective and sustainable cVOC reductive dechlorination, within the highly weathered shale typical to southern Ontario. As a result of the successful completion of the Proof-of-Concept evaluation the owner has initiated full-scale deployment of ERDenhanced™.

In summary, remediation practitioners are always looking for low-cost low-risk methods to evaluate a remedial strategy’s efficacy under actual site conditions. Sustainable products minimize site time and lower overall remedial costs. PRS based Proof-of-Concept evaluations provide stakeholders with a ‘Go-no-Go’ process to quantify additive efficacy while assisting in the establishment of full-scale amendment loading needs and deployment strategies. The result of this and other North American projects where PRS deployment units were used to determine the efficacy of BioStryke® additives are discussed.

1:45 pm – 2:15 pm

Regulation and Management of Contaminated Soil in Atlantic Canada – Suggested Best Practices for Future Sustainability

John Henderson, P.Eng., Stantec Consulting Ltd.


Contaminated soil can originate from any number of sources including domestic fuel oil spills, underground petroleum storage tank excavations, remediation programs at contaminated sites, dredging activities, municipal sewer and road upgrades and construction/redevelopment sites. Each year thousands of tonnes of excess and low level contaminated soil is removed from sites in Atlantic Canada for disposal. Much of it is trucked hundreds of kilometres for disposal at treatment facilities or in landfills.  

Regulation for the disposal of contaminated soil has evolved significantly in Nova Scotia since the early days of the Petroleum Storage Regulations in the late 1980s. Historically, contaminated soil was simply taken to local municipal landfills for disposal. These facilities offered local options for unregulated and low cost disposal of contaminated soil. “Guidelines for the Disposal of Solids in Landfills” developed in 1994 provided the first regulatory guidance and acceptance limits for landfill disposal of contaminated soil. Under this guidance, testing was required and soil containing certain contaminants (i.e., PCBs, leachate toxic materials, etc.) required disposal at out-of-province facilities in Quebec, Ontario or Alberta.

Capacity issues and eventual closure of Nova Scotia’s first generation municipal landfills in the mid to late 1990’s restricted disposal options and prompted the development of various commercial soil treatment facilities around the Province. These facilities were initially established for the treatment and subsequent disposal of soils containing petroleum hydrocarbons resulting from UST replacement programs.

It is understood that disposal of contaminated soil requires appropriate management to ensure environmental protection and resource management. Over the past 25 years Provincial regulators have developed various policies, guidelines and procedures for the management of contaminated and excess soil. Environmental “Approvals” for commercial facilities have established criteria for acceptance, treatment and monitoring.   

In November 2012 the Ontario Ministry of Environment (OMOE) released a draft document for consultation entitled “Soil Management – A guide for Best Management Practices”. This document encourages the beneficial reuse of soil in a manner promoting sustainability and environmental protection. This presentation provides an overview of the current status of soil disposal regulations, options, industry practices throughout Atlantic Canada in comparison to the proposed OMOE approach, and makes additional suggestions for best practices based on sustainability.  


Presenter Bio:

John Henderson, P.Eng., Senior Environmental Engineer and Risk Assessment Specialist, Stantec Consulting Ltd.

John Henderson, P.Eng., is a senior environmental engineer and risk assessment specialist with Stantec Consulting Ltd. in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He is a former regulator and has over 24 years of regulatory and consulting experience, including 11 years with Nova Scotia Environment. He has been involved in the development of a number of regional and national environmental guidelines, standards and regulations for CCME, CEPA and Nova Scotia Environment. Between 1997 and 1999 he was the government co-chair of the Atlantic PIRI Committee during the development stage for the Atlantic Risk Based Corrective Action process (version 1). More recently he participated on the Atlantic PIRI Technical Working Group for development of RBCA Version 3, which was released in 2012.

2:15 pm – 2:45 pm

Guidance on Integrating Fish Habitat Protection in Sustainable Sediment Remediation and Risk Management Strategies

Viviane Paquin1, Eric Chiang2, Murray Smith2

1Royal Military College
2Fisheries and Oceans Canada


The remediation of contaminated sediments has obvious environmental benefits such as minimizing risks to human and ecological receptors from exposure to contaminants. However, sediment remediation activities can impact aquatic ecosystems resulting in profound effects on the productive capacity of fish habitat. Common concerns associated with sediment remediation technologies include an increase in suspended sediments, contaminant release, removal of vegetation and aquatic habitat features, direct mortality to aquatic biota, infilling, changes to water temperature and substrate composition and decreases in the amount and quality of food items. There is growing awareness among aquatic contaminated site managers that an assessment of the potential impacts to fish and fish habitat associated with remedy implementation should be an integral component of sustainable sediment remediation planning.

As the lead federal agency responsible for protecting fish and fish habitat across Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) provides advice on potential risks to fish and fish habitat associated with sediment remediation and mitigation measures through the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP). As such, DFO is developing guidance linking long-term policy objectives to conserve and protect aquatic ecosystems with sediment remediation practices that are consistent with FCSAP sustainability and environment protection goals. The guidance is intended to assist DFO in its role as an expert support department under FCSAP to assess candidate remediation/risk management projects and ensure implementation in the most sustainable manner. It is also intended to promote dialogue amongst custodians, remediation proponents and DFO expert support in the early stages of the remediation planning process to maximize opportunities for enhancing and increasing the productive capacity of fish habitat.

This presentation will describe the proposed guidance framework and its application to evaluate the potential risks that sediment remediation activities pose to fish and fish habitat. As well, it will describe the application of the framework to evaluate the efficacy of proposed mitigation measures to avoid or minimize risks to acceptable levels. 

3:15 pm – 3:45 pm

Goose Bay Remediation Project: A Case Study in Sustainability?

Craig Wells, Department of National Defence


The Goose Bay Remediation Project has been underway since 2004, and received Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat approval in 2009. Between 2004 and 2009 the primary effort was to assess the 100+ suspected sites, develop and subsequently cost an action plan to complete the necessary remediation. The number and diversity of sites made this no small task, but it was achieved and thus far the project is on schedule and under budget. To date, the project has progressed through seven steps of the Federal 10-Step Process for managing contaminated sites, and now has active remediation underway at several sites, with remediation scheduled at additional sites in the coming years. The overall goal of the project is to reduce or eliminate the potential risks posed by the contamination – mostly fuel-related – to human health and the environment over the long-term.

Along the way the project team has achieved a number of successes, tried innovative approaches, and made considerable progress in moving the project forward. However, throughout the course of the project, specific considerations regarding sustainable planning have not been at the forefront of decision-making. Whether planning and undertaking assessment work, examining remedial strategies, or developing the procurement approaches to undertake clean-up activities, we have not taken particular steps to ensure sustainability is integrated into the project plan. There are many reasons for this: current policy limitations; the malleable definition of sustainable; the maturity of methods to screen remediation technologies; the level of effort to incorporate additional considerations into planning; and, as always is the case, time and resource availability.

We have recently passed the mid-point – at least on paper – on the overall project timeline, which ends in 2020. So, in the maturity of project middle age, it seems appropriate to pause and consider a different perspective of what we have done and where we are going. As a result of the continuing evolution of the environmental field and the ongoing conversation surrounding sustainability, we are at a point where it is worth asking the question: have we been “sustainable” in our planning and execution of what amounts to one of the largest remediation projects in the Atlantic Region, and in fact the country?

This presentation will examine the various elements of the Goose Bay Remediation Project, from shaping the project, the assessment phase, remedial planning and implementation through the lens of sustainability to see how it measures up, and, if and where necessary, to identify potential course corrections for the next phase of the project, up to completion. In doing so, our hope is that we will answer the question of not only “Did we meet the project goal?” but also “Can we be proud of the outcome?”

Presenter Bio:

Craig Wells, Goose Bay Remediation Project Manager, Directorate of Environmental Engineering, Department of National Defence

Craig Wells has been managing the Goose Bay Remediation Project on behalf of the Department of National Defence since 2005, during which time he has also managed other contaminated site projects across Canada. Prior to his current position, he worked on various Federal programs related to water resources, air quality, and environmental management. As well, Craig worked on a multitude of environmental projects in the private sector prior to joining the Public Service. 

Craig graduated in 1999 from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

3:45 pm - 4:15 pm

Sustainable Choice: Use of Constructed Wetlands in the Remediation of a Contaminated Site

Timothy Boudreau and J. Russell Finley, Rochon Engineering


Presenter Bio:

Tim Boudreau, B.Sc. (Marine Biol.), M.Sc. (Env. Biol.), EP (Water Quality), Aquatics Manager, Eastern Division, Rochon Engineering

Tim Boudreau is the Aquatics Manager of the Eastern Division of Rochon Engineering with more than 15 years of experience designing and implementing environmental assessments and remediation of impacted sites, particularly in aquatic environs. Tim has extensive experience in the design and implementation of complex compliance monitoring programs ensuring impacts meet regulatory targets. Recently, Tim has been involved in the application of biological remediation technologies as long-term, cost-effective method to obtain rehabilitation goals.

4:15 pm - 4:30 pm
Summary of Day

Tammy Lomas-Jylha, TLomasJylha Consulting


DAY 2 – June 20, 2013

8:45 am - 9:15 am

Opening Address: Atlantic RBCA Version 3

Paul Currie, Nova Scotia Environment


Since 1997, the Atlantic Partnership In RBCA Implementation (PIRI) has a mandate to establish risk-based corrective action (RBCA) as the approach used to manage contaminated properties in Atlantic Canada. Atlantic PIRI works by bringing together Atlantic Provincial regulators and regional stakeholders in a collaborative approach to developing workable guidelines and science-based analytical tools. Atlantic RBCA is a process to help ensure the consistent and cost effective assessment and remediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated properties in the region. Sites are remediated and managed based on scientifically based principles and in relation to actual risks posed to human health and the environment. In 2012, Atlantic RBCA tools and user guidance were updated and the presentation will focus on the significant changes and improvements to the model, user guidance including the newly introduced ecological screening levels for Atlantic Canada. Atlantic RBCA Version 3 technical improvements include more land use categories, updated human health screening levels and a new ecological screening protocol to assess potential risks to the environment. Revisions to the toolkit also support future considerations for risk assessment of selected chlorinated volatile organic compounds, which will expand the application of Atlantic RBCA in the region. The on-line web-based training is a sustainable approach to training by reducing travel-related emissions. A website is maintained and updated on a regular basis by Atlantic PIRI and provides new contaminated site information released by Atlantic Provincial regulators.


Presenter Bio:

Paul Currie, Nova Scotia Department of Environment

Paul Currie is currently employed with the Nova Scotia Department of Environment as a specialist in contaminated site management. He is currently a sitting member of the Atlantic Partnership in Risk Based Corrective Action (Atlantic PIRI group) representing Nova Scotia as one of the four Atlantic regulatory agencies. Paul has been active on contaminated site issues for over 20 years and is currently involved in both PIRI work and regulatory initiatives for contaminated site management with the NS Department of Environment in the Halifax office. 

9:15 am - 9:45 am

Incorporating Atlantic RBCA Version 3 into Federal Contaminated Sites Decision Making

Cameron Ells, SNC Lavalin Environment


The Atlantic RBCA Version 3 spreadsheet tool and documents are applied to many contaminated sites in Atlantic Canada under provincial jurisdiction. The 2012 Federal Contaminated Site Risk Assessment in Canada, Part I: Guidance on Human Health Preliminary Quantitative Risk Assessment (PQRA), Version 2.0) was prepared for use on sites under federal jurisdiction. This presentation reviews the similarities and differences – especially with respect to equations, assumptions, goals, compounds of concern, and default parameters – between Atlantic RBCA and the Health Canada document. It also presents a detailed scenario or example of how Atlantic RBCA Version 3 could be applied to a federal contaminated site, such that the Atlantic RBCA based conclusions are based on an equivalent or more demanding target of acceptable risk or hazard as presented in the PQRA and associated documents. Where a technical compatibility exists in using the commonly applied Atlantic RBCA to federal sites, there is also an opportunity for economies of scale and resource efficiencies that benefit the federal program.


Presenter Bio:

Cameron Ells, P. Eng., Regional Director – Atlantic, SNC Lavalin Environment

Cameron Ells, P.Eng., is the Halifax based Regional Director, Atlantic for SNC Lavalin Environment. He is also a corresponding member of the Atlantic PIRI Committee (Partnership in RBCA Implementation. RBCA is Risk Based Corrective Action.), and also a founding member. He has written about how the changes required to appropriately incorporate Atlantic RBCA into applications for involving federal contaminated sites. Under contract through Engineers Canada for the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC), he led a team that developed the original protocol for incorporating climate change adaptation into infrastructure decision-making. He led a team that applied the protocol to public coastal infrastructure in Newfoundland. He has provided contracted climate change adaptation to infrastructure decision-making advice to federal and provincial public sector representatives. He has presented to international technical conferences in Canada and the United States.  

9:45 am - 10:15 am

An Example of Best Management Practice in Contaminated Sites Management: The Sustainability Decision Support Tool as a Part of FCSAP

Guillaume Carle, Golder Associates Limited

10:45 am – 11:15 am

Redevelopment of Former Federal Contaminated Property at Oshawa Harbour, Oshawa, Ontario

Ron Haley1, Tom Williams1, Charlotte Clark1, Tom Hodgins2, Evan Rodgers2

1XCG Consultants Ltd.
2City of Oshawa


The City of Oshawa (City) has recently acquired approximately 8.5 hectares of waterfront lands in Oshawa Harbour from the federal government. This property is known as the West Wharf lands. The City is also considering acquiring an adjacent federal property, which is known as the Marina lands. Collectively, the City plans to redevelop these properties for parkland and open space recreational uses as part of its long-term waterfront redevelopment plan.

Environmental investigations on the properties have indicated that soil and groundwater within the federal lands have elevated concentrations of various heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) relative to the federal Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) and provincial Ministry of the Environment (MOE) environmental quality criteria. Risk assessment studies show that contaminants in soil present a potential risk to humans and ecological receptors. It was determined that the most cost-effective strategy of managing the soil impacts was to install an engineered soil cap that would prevent exposure to the contaminants by humans and ecological receptors. A similar approach will be used to manage soil impacts on the Marina lands.

The City’s site restoration and redevelopment activities will need to be scheduled and coordinated with its capital budgeting process. Also, the City requires that a Record of Site Condition (RSC) is filed and approved by the MOE. An RSC is a regulatory instrument that describes how the contamination will be managed. Because of these requirements and other constraints, it is anticipated that site redevelopment will span a period of several years. This presents a challenge for the City: how does one engage the community and build broad support for the redevelopment process when residents are unable to use and benefit from the project for several years? That being said, it has also created a unique opportunity: how can the risk management and site restoration activities be integrated into the planning and redevelopment process in a sustainable manner?

The solution was to adopt a phased approach that would allow interim use of specific areas of the property while on-going studies, consultation and restoration can be completed. Risk assessment has been used to identify potential risks associated with the interim uses identified by the City. Some areas of the property have had risk management measures, including capping and fencing, installed to allow partial use of the property for special events. Not only has this been well-received by the community, but it has provided the City the time to thoroughly evaluate development options and align site redevelopment activities with its capital budget. Importantly, it is providing opportunities to redevelop and utilize the site in a more cost-effective, socially and environmentally sustainable manner, as summarized below.

  • First, rather than excavating, trucking and disposing impacted soil at a landfill, encapsulating it beneath an engineered soil cap significantly reduces the amount of trucking needed and conserves precious landfill space.
  • Second, there are many large projects within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where significant quantities of clean surplus soil are being generated. Rather than disposing of clean soil at landfills, the City is looking to utilize surplus soil generated on its own or other projects to cap contaminated areas as it become available.
  • Finally, the City is taking a former contaminated property that was underutilized and is transforming it into an important feature along the waterfront that will link to an extensive network of waterfront trails and natural areas, promoting a better sense of community and opportunities for active transport.

The presentation will discuss more fully the approach used. It will also highlight issues encountered and how these were dealt with. Key success factors for managing contaminated properties to allow interim use in a cost-effective and sustainable manner will be described. 

11:15 am – 11:45 am

Urban Agriculture on Brownfield Sites

Peter T. Reid, HEMMERA


Urban brownfields can present a substantial challenge to communities seeking to invigorate their culture, economy and environment. These sites once contributed important economic activity and employment, but contamination or suspected contamination has left them fenced and idle. Urban cores often appear to have a continual cycle of fenced lots during the remediation and redevelopment process.

By addressing environmental concerns, contaminated sites professionals can help release the huge potential that lies in brownfields. The sites can become productive again and revitalize their surrounding communities. Idle time can also be reduced during the planning phase of remediation and redevelopment.

Interim uses during the redevelopment process increase sustainability and allow more time for the planning and assessment of a project. The tax burden for a site under development may be instantly reduced – the site may be taxed, as in the following example, as an agricultural site, rather than as a commercial site. An interim use also allows time for a natural attenuation system to be monitored and confirmed, or for the assumptions of risk assessments to be proven with enough assurance to redevelop the site. Using a site under development as community garden offers all these benefits.

SoleFood Farm pioneered a process for large-scale, urban agriculture in Vancouver, BC. The result is a place where downtown eastside residents, who may be struggling with mental illness or addiction, receive employment and training while creating economically viable and productive vegetable farms. Some farm produce is donated to needy individuals, while most is purchased by local restaurants and sold at farmers markets, providing incredibly fresh vegetables with nearly zero travel miles. In addition, locating natural farms within downtown neighbourhoods provides valuable educational opportunities for the broader public.

The first year of operation was a resounding success; local vegetables became available to the community and a large portion of the workforce was able to use their time on the farm to overcome their addictions. Unfortunately, the project has very little access to land given the cost of real estate in the City of Vancouver.

The concept of utilizing brownfields for urban agriculture was first investigated by the US EPA in the summer of 2011. The project, completed by Hemmera for SoleFood Farms, picked up where the US EPA left off, providing specific assessment rationales for British Columbia that can be easily adapted to any regulatory regime.

Sites are reassessed based on agricultural uses in the rooting zone and farmers are screened for dermal contact. Special vapour attenuation factors have been derived for the farms and for the green houses. Through the use of raised beds, minimal watering, and exclusion zones for greenhouses, once vacant fenced lots are now used to grow produce. The farms are portable, with a design life maximum of five years. The landowners are compensated by a 70% reduction in their tax rate.

The SoleFood project is built upon the three pillars of sustainability. From an economic standpoint, jobs are created, people find employment closer to their homes and produce is sold locally. From a social standpoint, the most disadvantaged members of our society are engaged and provided an opportunity to heal. From an environmental standpoint, vacant fenced lots are utilized, the transport footprint for produce is much smaller and people are fed with nutritious, locally grown vegetables.

Unfortunately, both homelessness and urban brownfield sites affect most major Canadian cities. The SoleFood program can be used as a model for other major cities, including Halifax, and implementation will significantly benefit the overall community.

Presenter Bio:

Peter T. Reid, M.Eng., P.Eng., CSAP, Practice Leader, Hemmera

Peter Reid is a Practice Leader at Hemmera and has completed over 1,100 successful contaminated sites projects across Canada over the past 20 years. He has led the implementation of a sustainability initiative at a major international consulting firm. Peter is active in the redevelopment of brownfield sites and he has recently authored an assessment process to allow for urban agriculture on brownfield sites. He is an active Approved Professional in British Columbia, and specializes in leading multi-disciplinary teams who provide innovative solutions for today’s environmental problems.

12:00 pm – 12:45 pm

Luncheon Keynote: Sustainability and the Sydney Tar Ponds Project

Alan Van Norman, Principal and Vice President, Conestoga-Rovers & Associates


Alan Van Norman is going to tell participants about the remediation of the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Oven Site in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The presentation will start with an overview of the site history, followed by details on the environmental conditions that required remediation, and will wrap up with a description of how the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Oven Site were transformed from an unsustainable liability into a sustainable asset for the people of Sydney. 

1:15 pm – 1:40 pm

Buying Best Value – Procuring Remediation Work

Craig Wells, Department of National Defence

1:40 pm – 2:05 pm

Innovative Plume Stability Analysis and Remediation System Benefit Analysis (RSBA)

Joe Ricker, EarthCon Consultants, Inc.

2:05 pm – 2:30 pm

In-Situ Treatment of Home Heating Oil Spills

Leonard Chan, CCC Chemicals

2:30 pm – 2:55 pm

In-Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO) Delivery Optimization

Bruce Tunnicliffe, Vertex Environmental Inc.

3:20 pm – 3:45 pm

Brownfield Development and Remediation Technology Selection – An Industry Perspective

Scott Lewis, Cobalt Properties

3:45 pm – 4:10 pm

Soluble Carbon-Iron Product for In-Situ Remediation of Groundwater

Kyle Dacey, Chemco Inc.

4:10 pm – 4:35 pm

Using Environmental Fracturing to Achieve Sustainable Remediation in Difficult Lithologies

Scott Barker, Toterra Remediation


Questions en

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