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Vacant land being assessed for future residential development
excavator carrying out environmental clean-up and removal of contaminated soils
Soil sampling with test pits
steph and the drill.jpg
Visual evidence of soil contamination
piece of transite pipe, identified during test pitting
water level measurements and environmental water sampling

Our Environmental Services team is well versed in current environmental regulations and standards for Greenfields and Brownfields development projects, the regulatory requirements for managing excess soils,  and have strong experience assessing all types of properties. 


Our services include :


Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) 

When it comes to property and other types of commerce, a principle long used is caveat emptor - buyer beware.  Under this policy, the onus is on the buyer to conduct their own due diligence before making a purchase.  It is no more applicable than in the case of land development or Brownfields property redevelopment.  LDS can help buyers to 'be aware' of potential environmental risks associated with a potential property purchase.  Since the effort, complexity, and pricing for the ESA protocols are so varied, LDS can liaise with a client and advise regarding the determination of the appropriate protocols for their requirements.

The first step in site characterization is the completion of a Phase I ESA.  A Phase I ESA is a preliminary study for a parcel of land, for which a site visit and desktop review of available information is carried out to identify the potential for historical or current environmental impacts at the property. This work is conducted in accordance with one of two protocols: the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard Z768-01 (R2016) for conducting Phase I ESAs, or the Ontario Regulation (O.Reg.) 153/04, as amended requirements for Phase One ESAs, depending on project-specific requirements. 


A Phase II ESA involves soil, groundwater and/or sediment sampling and testing to assess the presence of environmental contaminants at the property. This work is generally conducted in accordance with one of two protocols: the CSA Standard Z769-00 (R2013) for conducting Phase II ESAs, or the O.Reg. 153/04, as amended requirements for Phase Two ESAs.

LDS staff have priority status with subcontracted utility locators, drilling and well installation firms, and environmental laboratories, and pass on the scheduling and pricing savings to clients.  

Record of Site Condition (RSC)

An RSC submission summarizes the environmental condition of a property, based on the completion of one or more environmental site assessments, and in some cases remediation and/or risk assessment.  The regulatory requirement to file an RSC is mandatory in the case when a property is changing from less-sensitive land use to more-sensitive land use (i.e., industrial or commercial to residential).  Additionally, some municipalities require that an RSC be filed in order to grant Site Plan Approval.

A Qualified Person (QP, under the terms of O.Reg. 153/04) supervises the completion of a Phase One (and usually) Phase Two ESA at a site, which are required in order to file an RSC.  The QP is responsible for certifying that the property meets the applicable site condition standards or standards specified in a risk assessment for the intended use. The RSC is filed with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) for inclusion into the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry.  The LDS Environmental Services team has QPs on staff who are able to file RSCs.

Excess Soil Management (O.Reg. 406/19)

Soil Characterization, Off-site Disposal & Beneficial Re-Use Plans

In January 2023, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP) updated the Excess Soil Regulation (O.REg. 406/19) under the Environmental Protection Act, titled “On-Site and Excess Soil Management” to support improved management of excess construction soil. 

Excess soil is defined as material that was generated during construction activities at a Site but will not be needed for grading, fill, or other purposes and therefore needs to be transported off-Site. The regulation requires a project leader to comply with specific requirements before removing excess soil from a project area. Generally, these requirements include:

  • Preparation of an Assessment of Past Uses;

  • Preparation and implementation of a Sampling and Analysis Plan;

  • Preparation of a Soil Characterization Report;

  • Preparation of an Excess Soil Destination Assessment Report; and,

  • Development and implementation of a tracking system.

LDS can assist in confirming the regulatory requirements for the preparation of planning documents, characterizing reuse and disposal sites, determining appropriate reuse and disposal sites, and tracking and recording hauling records.  Where exemptions apply which limit the full regulatory requirements, LDS can assist with preparing a due-diligence program to ensure that soil quality is characterized for offsite disposal.

The onus is on the Excess Soil Source Site to carry out environmental soil quality testing for the removal and transport of their excess soils. The property owner is expected to retain a Qualified Person (QP) to assist in the preparation of the aforementioned documents and in the soil characterization work (environmental testing on select soil samples), prior to any excess soils being removed from the Site.

In the event that a Site is in need of imported fill, the Regulation also outlines requirements that must be met as a Beneficial Re-Use (receiving) Site. For a Beneficial Re-Use Site, a QP is required to prepare an Excess Soil Destination Assessment Report (ESDAR), which outlines the geotechnical requirements for beneficial reuse of imported materials onsite (often informed by the Geotechnical Report for the Site), along with the environmental soil quality criteria (including the applicable O.Reg. 153/04 Site Condition Standards) for material that can be accepted at the Site.

Tank Removals and Site Remediation - 

LDS has long-standing relationships with a number of local remediation contractors who specialize in the removal of fuel underground storage tanks (USTs) and the remediation of petroleum hydrocarbon-impacted soils and water.  LDS has extensive experience working with these firms to observe field activities, document tank removals, collect confirmatory soil samples for laboratory analysis, and prepare reports confirming tank removal.

Designated Substance Surveys (DSS)

DSS assessments are carried out to determine whether designated substances (such as asbestos, lead, silica or mercury) are present in building materials at a site, in accordance with O.Reg. 278/05 - Designated Substance - Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations, and Ontario Regulation 490/09 - Designated Substances.  These surveys are especially important when planning significant renovations to or demolition of site structures (especially those in the 1950s-1970s construction era).  The Canadian government committed to banning the use of asbestos in new construction and renovations by 2018 due to its carcinogenicity and related human health effects.

LDS has qualified field technicians who have sufficient experience to economize on DSS sampling requirements (i.e., recognizing materials that are non-asbestos containing and do not require sampling/analysis) and appropriately assess a variety of building types.

Environmental Monitoring

Environmental monitoring is carried out to observe the natural environment and to identify potential or actual impacts on natural heritage features as a result of site development and construction activities. 

LDS can provide groundwater monitoring, stream level measurements, and inspections of sediment and erosion control measures.  LDS has an in-house inventory of monitoring equipment, and rents more sensitive equipment to ensure all field measurements are accurate and defensible. 

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