AiMS Environmental - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

By: Aims Consulting  09-12-2011
Keywords: Asbestos, Contamination, Underground Storage


If soil or groundwater contamination is identified at a property, either through a Phase II ESA or an excavation, for instance, for an underground storage tank, the contamination is usually addressed through site cleanup or site remediation. Site Remediation or Cleanup is defined as the improvement of a contaminated site to prevent, minimize or mitigate any foreseeable hazards to human health or the environment.The site cleanup or remediation is undertaken to render the site or part of the site in compliance with the applicable environmental standards consistent with the site’s land uses or zoning.  A qualified and experienced contractor is retained by the property owner to conduct the cleanup or remediation.For contaminated soils, a waste characterization test is usually required to be conducted in accordance with a Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) for off-site disposal purposes. In Ontario, this is done in accordance with Regulation 558/00.AiMS provides support services relating to the site cleanup, which can include engineering inspections and oversight of the cleanup, verification sampling to confirm the cleanup, documentation of the proceedings and preparation of a site cleanup report. For larger projects, AiMS can provide broader remediation management services, including project coordination and liaison with the client, contractor and regulatory authorities, project meetings, review of work progress budget and schedule, and payment certification.
Of the 200,000 underground fuel storage tanks in Canada, approximately 25% are estimated to have leaked in the past or could develop leakages over their service life. They represent a severe potential for soil and groundwater contamination.Underground storage tanks (also referred to as USTs) that are used for petroleum products are controlled by provincial regulations and non-compliance situations can result in large corporate liabilities. Investigations related to USTs require a broad range of technological knowledge combined with practical experience, legislation awareness, and ability to deal with regulatory authorities.In Ontario, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) regulates USTs and on-site contamination, while the Ministry of the Environment oversees any resulting off-site contamination.AiMS provides support services relating to UST Removals, to ensure the work is done in accordance with the TSSA’s 2007 Protocol for Environmental Management for Fuel Handling Sites in Ontario, and its latest updates.AiMS works with a number of TSSA-licensed Contractors who can be called upon by the property owner to quote on a UST removal, along with any other contractors the owner has worked with.Once a contractor has been retained, the scope of our work typically includes oversight of the removal and off-site disposal (by the licensed contractor) of a tank, inspection of the tank cavity, photographic documentation of the proceedings and the collection and analyses of soil samples in order to ensure compliance with applicable standards. An engineering report is issued upon completion of the tank removal and any associated soils/groundwater contamination which serves as a permanent record of the UST removal and is oftentimes filed with the TSSA.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral material used widely in construction materials such as thermal and acoustic insulation during the 1950s and 1960s.Medical studies linked asbestos fibres in indoor air to lung diseases and subsequently, in the mid-1970s, asbestos was phased out from many building materials. However, asbestos can still be found in older buildings or industrial locations, and every effort should be made to identify asbestos on those sites and implement suitable management programs.The handling of asbestos-containing materials (also referred to as ACMs) is strictly controlled by provincial regulation and the implementation of the requirements is enforced by the Ministry of Labour. In Ontario, any material containing greater than 0.5% of asbestos fibres by dry weight is considered to be an asbestos-containing material (ACM), according to Regulation 278/05 – the Regulation Respecting Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Repair Operations.Under the said regulation, a building owner is required to identify, document and assess the condition of any asbestos containing materials within a building. This information is then required to be presented to any contractors working in the building, so that precautions may be taken to address any such materials likely to be disturbed in the course of the work.AiMS conducts Asbestos Evaluations (or Surveys) for building owners and property managers in accordance with the said regulation. The scope of this service typically includes a visual inspection, bulk sampling of suspect material, laboratory testing, and preparing an engineering report of findings.If "friable" asbestos is identified, i.e., asbestos that can readily be crumbled by hand pressure, appropriate response actions are recommended, which could include removal or containment.For asbestos removal, AiMS works with a number of licensed contractors that can perform this service for the owner. In this regard, AiMS is retained to oversee the abatement work and ensure it is performed in an acceptable manner.For larger project, AiMS is retained to prepare project specifications for contract purposes, and to assist with the bidding process and contractor selection. Pre and post-abatement air testing is frequently required for such projects to ensure that the airborne asbestos fibre concentrations are within an acceptable range prior to clearance of any abatement enclosures that are established by the contractor.Any Asbestos-containing waste must be handled and disposed of in accordance with R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 347, as amended by O. Reg. 326/03 - General - Waste Management.Oftentimes removal is not required, especially for non-friable asbestos.  Accordingly, AiMS is retained to prepare an Asbestos Management Plan for in-place monitoring of the condition of the asbestos-containing material under an Operations and Maintenance schedule.
The term "Designated Hazardous Substances" refers collectively to eleven organic and inorganic building contaminants defined under Section 30 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, listed below:      ● Acrylonitrile
● Arsenic
● Asbestos
● Benzene
● Coke Oven Emmissions
● Ethylene Oxide
● Isocyanates
● Lead
● Mercury
● Silica
● Vinyl ChlorideThe effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration of exposure, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present.Under Section 30 of the provincial Occupational Health and Safety Act, a building owner must provide a list of designated hazardous substances present or identified in his building to any contractors and subcontractors prior to work on-site, for instance, during the bidding process. Specific designated hazardous substances, such as asbestos, are also required to be removed from a building prior to any major renovation or demolition work.AiMS conducts Designated Hazardous Substances Inspections (DHSIs) in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the scope of which entails a walk-through visual survey of the interior of the building to identify any suspect building contaminants. Confirmation of suspect building materials is performed by conducting appropriate laboratory analysis on bulk samples of suspect material. Where necessary, bulk samples of materials and interior caulking or paintwork suspected to contain lead, mercury or asbestos are taken, in order to determine whether they are present within the building material.Other designated substances such as mercury or silica if suspected are generally identified by visual observation only.A report of findings is then prepared which identifies and documents any designated hazardous substances within the building and recommends response actions appropriate for in-place management or for renovations or demolition work.
"Brownfields" or contaminated real estate can pose special challenges for property transfer, rezoning, redevelopment or financing. AiMS provides specialized support services related to Brownfields, which can range from peer reviews of reports prepared by other consultants, through managing a Risk Assessment Study for sites that cannot be practically or cost effectively cleaned up by conventional means, establishing in-place monitoring programs for groundwater contamination, and expert witness and litigation support services for property disputes regarding pollution.

Keywords: Asbestos, Contamination, Underground Storage