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Soil Monitoring Legislation in Alberta: An Overview


Waterline provides complete soil monitoring consulting services to satisfy Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) approval requirements for industrial facilities. Soil monitoring is typically an approval requirement at facilities that have the potential to release substances that may impact soil quality. These substances may include spills or leaks of process chemicals (e.g., amines and glycols), products (e.g., petroleum hydrocarbons), or by-products (e.g., produced water and sulphur). The timely assessment, reporting, remediation and management of soil impacts, and the proactive management of sources are necessary steps to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. In Alberta, the Soil Monitoring Directive provides requirements and guidance for the monitoring and management of soil contamination.

Waterline personnel are experienced in the development and implementation of Baseline and Operational Soil Monitoring Programs and Soil Mnaagement Programs that will satisfy our client's EPEA approval requirements. Baseline and Operational Soil Monitoring Programs are developed by identifying key potential sources of impact and the facility-specific soil quality parameters of concern. Once identified, this information is used to design a suitable soil sampling program that meets the requirements of the Soil Monitoring Directive. If required, Soil Management Programs are developed that identify source control measures to be implemented, establish appropriate remediation objectives, and establish a management plan for the contaminated areas, which may include remediation and/or risk management. Remediation objectives are developed, following guidance provided in either the Alberta Tier 1 or Tier 2 soil and groundwater remediation guidelines, with consideration of the baseline soil quality, current and end land uses, and receptor exposure pathways.

Baseline Soil Monitoring Programs

New facilities or existing facilities that are expanding over previously undeveloped land require the implementation of a Baseline Soil Monitoring Program. The purpose of the Baseline Soil Monitoring Program is to assess pre-development soil quality prior to the initiation of facility operations. The Baseline Soil Monitoring Program provides a benchmark of soil quality to which future soil assessment results can be compared to ensure facility operations have not adversely impacted the soil. If an impact has occurred, this benchmark soil quality data may be used to establish remediation objectives.

Operational Soil Monitoring Programs

Operational Soil Monitoring Programs are undertaken to assess soil quality at regular intervals (typically every 5 years) during the operational life-span of the facility. The purpose of the Operational Soil Monitoring Program is to ensure any soil impacts resulting from facility-related operations are identified in a timely manner, such that they can be appropriately managed to eliminate the risk to potential receptors.

Soil Management Programs

Soil management programs are developed, if a soil quality impact is identified during an Operational Soil Monitoring Program. The objectives of the Soil Management Program are to initiate source control measures to prevent further releases, delineate impacted areas, develop remediation objectives (if required), and commence appropriate remedial measures. The goal of the Soil Management Program is to eliminate the potential for an adverse effect to either human health or the environment. The EPEA requirements for Soil Management Programs typically include yearly reporting of the progress of the soil management activities until the remediation objectives have been achieved.

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