Case Study: Phase I & II Environmental Site Assessment and Remediation

Industrial Property, East Toronto

Company Profile

The owner of a multi-tenant commercial/industrial property required an environmental site assessment (ESA) in a timely manner to secure financing.


Altech was retained to conduct a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) on a multi-tenant commercial/industrial building and property located in East Toronto. As the ESA was conducted as part of due diligence for financing, Altech recommended that it should be conducted in conformance with the most recent version of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard for Phase I ESA’s.

The Phase I ESA found three potential contaminating activities (PCAs) at the property. The first PCA was the use of industrial chemicals as part of industrial processes carried out by three tenants of the building complex. The second PCA was the possible presence of an abandoned underground storage tank (UST). The third PCA was the finding of an underground oil/water separator inside one of the units in the building. Based on the findings of the Phase I ESA, further environmental investigation was recommended in the form of a Phase II ESA.

Underground Storage Tanks

Figure 1: Abandoned underground storage tanks (UST) pose a significant environmental liability


The Phase II ESA consisted of digging test pits, drilling boreholes, installing groundwater monitoring wells and collecting soil and groundwater samples for lab analysis. The test pits uncovered the remnants of UST and piping that had not properly removed. The results of lab analysis indicated soil and groundwater impacted with petroleum hydrocarbons in excess of the applicable clean-up standards.

A delineation program was completed to determine the extent of the impacts of petroleum hydrocarbon on the soil and groundwater outbound from the building, but could not be conducted inside due to limited access and disruption of the operations of the tenants.

Altech recommended the excavation and removal of the PHC-impacted soil to a licensed treatment and disposal facility, along with the proper excavation of the remnant UST infrastructure and associated piping.

Altech identified the risk that groundwater may still be contaminated and may re-contaminate the area after the contaminated soil was removed. Therefore, Altech recommended a pump-and-treat system for groundwater treatment to be installed first. Once the groundwater was deemed to be clean, the soil excavation phase would take place.

Altech installed and operated a groundwater pump-and-treat system for a period of about 18 months with a fluctuating, but steady decrease in concentrations of PHC F1 and F2 parameters to below the applicable clean-up standards.

Once the groundwater was below applicable clean-up standards, Altech supervised the removal of the PHC- impacted soil and the removal of the UST piping. Confirmatory soil samples were taken and tested to ensure all PHC-impacted soil was removed. During the soil remediation stage, both the area of soil impact and quantity of soil to be removed was smaller than anticipated.

By utilizing a long-term and risk-averse remediation strategy, Altech successfully remediated the site, removing the client’s liabilities and maximized property value with a peace of mind. The client was completely satisfied by the work performed by Altech.

Chad Stewart, Altech

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