BC Ministry of Environment (MOE) Update on Proposed Changes to the BC Contaminated Sites Regulation

January 20, 2016

The Ministry of Environment (MOE) has recently issued a series of omnibus documents that describe the status of new stage 10 amendments to the BC Contaminated Sites Regulation (CSR). The new amendments would involve changes to the environmental standards for existing chemicals, the addition of new chemicals, and new land use categories.

The new BC CSR standards are expected to benefit the industry. For example, the BC MOE has indicated that it intends to replace aesthetic drinking water standards with less stringent toxicologically based drinking water standards. Similarly, the high density residential land use category will have standards that are less stringent that the residential land use standards. This means that clients seeking BC CSR instruments such as Certificates of Compliance could obtain occupancy permits for high rise residential buildings with underground parkades more easily than they would under the present regulatory framework.

The MOE is expected to implement a 6 month to 1 year “coming into force” transition period for implementing new CSR standards. During this transition period, both the current and proposed standards will be in effect. The MOE has indicated that during this transition period site owners can decide to use either the current or proposed standards for environmental investigation for their projects. It is important to note that beyond this transition period (some time in 2017); sites will be expected to comply with the new standards. The MOE has not released the proposed standards as of yet but, that new standards are set to be in place by May 2016. The MOE has recently released a survey (through CS e-Link – January 25, 2016) to stakeholders, to query how long an acceptable “coming into force” transition period should be. The MOE has recommended that clients retain the services of approved professionals to advise them on the changing contaminated sites process.

For further information on this and other environmental Questions or assistance please contact Keree Orso, Kevin Wong or Raminder Grewal at 604-430-0671.