Contaminated Sites e-Link Recent Messages

site@gov.bc.caThe purpose of the CS e-Link system is to identify legal, technical, policy and guidance information related to the management and administration of contaminated sites in British Columbia which may be of interest to subscribers.

Listed below are the most recent CS e-link messages sent out to subscribers.

Modified Protocol for Leachable Cyanide and New Methods for Review

June 12, 2019

Modified Protocol for Leachable Cyanide for Hazardous Waste Characterization, Approved

Under section 49(2) of the Hazardous Waste Regulation, the Director has approved variance for the determination and characterization of leachable toxic waste for cyanide. It authorizes the use of a variation of the BC MLEP to use 0.125 M NaOH for the analysis of cyanide only. The US EPA method 1311 must be used for the classification of leachable toxic waste for all substances other than cyanide.

The Protocol for Leachable Toxic Waste Characterization for Samples Containing Cyanide (PDF) is found in the section titled “Hazardous Waste Protocols & Criteria” of the Hazardous Waste Legislation & Regulations web page.

The method variance was developed with the assistance of the B.C. Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee (BCELTAC). The ministry would like to take this opportunity to thank the committee, and especially Mark Hugdahl, for their outstanding expertise and effort in achieving this work.

B.C. Field Sampling Manual - Methods Posted for Review

14 new draft analytical methods, developed with the assistance of the B.C. Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee (BCELTAC), have been posted for review and comment on the B.C. Environmental Laboratory Manual page.

The new methods will be posted for 30 days, please provide comments by July 11th, 2019 to: Joyce Austin, Senior Provincial Laboratory Specialist, Knowledge Management Branch at Joyce.Austin@gov.bc.ca.

Technical questions regarding the proposed new methods should be directed to: Mark Hugdahl (BCELTAC Chair) at Mark.Hugdahl@alsglobal.com.

GPM Update, 17 Draft Methods to Review & 28 Methods Approved

May 15, 2019

Groundwater Protection Model Update

As a quality control measure, the use of the ministry’s existing Groundwater Protection Model (GPM) was set to expire April 30, 2019. The model does not function after this date.

This CS e-Link is to inform practitioners that a renewed model version has been posted at Site Remediation Policies & Standards. Users will need to download the new model version to conduct calculations under Protocol 2 - Site-Specific Numerical Soil Standards (SSS) and Protocol 13 - Screening Level Risk Assessment. 

Questions regarding the GPM and associated Technical Guidance 13 should be directed to George.Szefer@gov.bc.ca and Annette.Mortensen@gov.bc.ca.

17 New Draft Analytical Methods Posted for Review 

The new draft analytical methods listed below, developed with the assistance of the B.C. Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee (BCELTAC), have now been posted for review and comment to the B.C. Environmental Laboratory Manual.

  1. BC ENV Sample Preservation and Holding Time Requirements
  2. Detection of Total Coliforms and E.coli in Water by Membrane Filtration and Chromocult® Coliform Agar (CCA)  - Prescriptive
  3. Determination of Thermotolerant Coliforms in Water by Multiple-Tube Fermentation Technique – Prescriptive
  4. Determination of Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) in Water by Pour Plate, Spread Plate, Membrane Filtration and Enzyme Substrate Test Methods – Prescriptive
  5. Determination of Thermotolerant Coliforms in Water by Multiple-Tube Fermentation Technique
  6. Detection of Total Coliforms in Water by Multiple-Tube Fermentation – Prescriptive
  7. Detection of Total Coliforms in Water by Membrane Filtration and mEndo Media – Prescriptive
  8. Determination of Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) in Water by Pour Plate, Spread Plate, Membrane Filtration and Enzyme Substrate Test Methods
  9. Detection of Total Coliforms, Thermotolerant (Fecal) Coliforms and E. coli by Colilert® in Water – Prescriptive
  10. Detection of Total Coliforms and E. coli by Colilert® in Water
  11. Enterococci Membrane Filter Technique (MF) for Fresh Water, Wastewater and Marine Water
  12. Liquid-Solid Partitioning (Leachability) as a Function of pH (Metals, Inorganics, and SVOCs)
  13. Multiple Tube Technique (MPN) for Salmonella in Solids
  14. Multiple-Tube Fermentation Technique (MPN) for Fecal Coliform Bacteria in Fresh Water, Wastewater and Marine Water
  15. Multiple-Tube Technique (MPN) for Thermotolerant Coliforms Bacteria in Bivalve Molluscan Shellfish
  16. Sample Preparation for Dissolved Metals or Mercury in Water – PBM
  17. Total Extractable Hydrocarbons (C10-C30) in Water

Some of these new draft methods have been developed in support of the Stage 10 (Omnibus) amendment to the Contaminated Sites Regulation. The entire microbiology section of the Laboratory Manual has also been revised. 

Please provide comment on the new methods by June 17, 2019 to Joyce Austin, Senior Provincial Laboratory Specialist, Knowledge Management Branch at Joyce.Austin@gov.bc.ca.

Technical questions regarding the proposed new methods should be directed to Mark Hugdahl (BCELTAC Chair) at Mark.Hugdahl@alsglobal.com.

28 New Analytical Methods Approved

The Director has approved the 28 new analytical methods listed under Section F of the laboratory manual, Toxicity Test Methods.  Details of the 28 new analytical methods are available on the ministry’s Environmental Protection and Sustainability, Research, Monitoring & Reporting website, in Methods Approved by Director.

The new methods were developed with the assistance of the British Columbia Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Sub-Committee (BCELTAC).  The ministry would like to take this opportunity to thank the committee for their outstanding expertise and effort in achieving this work.

Further information on BCELTAC is available on the Laboratory Standards & Quality Assurance web page.

Plume Stability, Soil Relocation and New Acting Director

March 14, 2019

Grandfathering Period Established for Demonstrating Plume Stability under Detailed Risk Assessment

Requirements for demonstrating plume stability under Detailed Risk Assessment (DRA) were clarified by the B.C. government via CS e-Link on February 1, 2019. It has come to our attention that these requirements could result in appreciable delays of a number of contaminated site (CS) instrument applications where alternative approaches to demonstrating plume stability have been relied upon. 

Consequently, we are granting a grandfathering period of nine months for CS instruments that are based on DRA to transition to the requirements outlined in the February 1, 2019 CS e-Link. 

Effective Date

Applications for CS instruments based on DRA submitted prior to December 20, 2019 may rely on a professional opinion of plume stability reached by a qualified hydrogeologist, based on scientifically defensible data and arguments and full documentation. Applications submitted after December 20, 2019 must meet the minimum requirements specified in the February 1, 2019 CS e-link.

Please be advised it the responsibility of Qualified Professionals involved in providing contaminated sites investigation and remediation services to inform their clients of requirements under the Contaminated Sites Regulation. The grandfathering period from February 1, 2019 to December 20, 2019 is considered sufficient to allow minimum groundwater data requirements to be met in CS instrument applications submitted after December 20, 2019.

Webinar on Prevention of Site Contamination from Soil Relocation is posted!

As previously announced, two webinars were held to explain the proposed amendments to the soil relocation provisions in the Environmental Management Act and the Contaminated Sites Regulation. The webinars included a presentation and time for questions and answers. A recording from the February 28, 2019 webinar has been posted on the CS presentations page.

Any questions about the soil relocation proposed amendments can be directed to ardith.gingell@gov.bc.ca or 778-698-4873.

Personnel Announcements: New Acting Director at Land Remediation

The Site Remediation team is pleased to welcome Alan McCammon is our new acting Director. Alan will fill this role until the fall when Danielle Grbavac returns.

Soil Relocation - Webinars Announced

February 12, 2019

As previously announced, a final policy direction paper regarding proposed changes to the current soil relocation process has been posted B.C. government website. The proposed amendments to the soil relocation process are outlined in the Final Policy Direction – Prevention of Site Contamination from Soil Relocation (PDF).

To help stakeholders understand the proposed amendments to the soil relocation provisions in the Environmental Management Act and the Contaminated Sites Regulation, two webinars (up to one hour in length) are being delivered by government staff. Webinars will include a presentation and time for questions. Please use the links provided to register for sessions.

Tuesday, February 26 – 1:00 to 2:00

Thursday, February 28 – 1:00 to 2:00

All webinars will use the following call in details for audio

  • Phone 1-888-952-9304, Participant ID 578788.

Any questions about the webinars can be directed to ardith.gingell@gov.bc.ca or 778-698-4873.

Land Remediation Section Mega Update

February 1, 2019

Stage 12 Amendments to the Contaminated Sites Regulation

Stage 12 amendments to the CSR were approved, and the Ministerial Order #40 and Order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council #20 deposited, on January 24, 2019. These amendments corrected a number of errors in standards and footnotes in CSR Schedules 3.1 to 3.4, introduced during the 2017 amendments, and included consequential amendments to CSR Schedule 1.1 that were inadvertently missed during previous amendments. Additionally, the name of a Wide Area Site (WAS) was changed to Environmental Management Area. The new name has the same meaning as a WAS and does not affect the WAS provisions in the CSR. The name of a Wide Area Remediation Plan will not change as a result of Stage 12 amendments. This change will affect existing WAS designation holders and future wide area sites. 

Final Policy Direction - Soil Relocation

Following consultation on a 2014 discussion paper and a 2016 intentions paper, the ministry is proposing changes to the current soil relocation process. These changes will help by streamlining the legal regime, making the process more clear and transparent, and improving the ministry’s ability to carry out compliance verification and enforcement. The proposed amendments to the soil relocation process are outlined in the Final Policy Direction – Prevention of Site Contamination from Soil Relocation. A notification with schedule and registration information for upcoming webinars to discuss the proposed amendments will be sent soon.

Amendment to Protocol 4 Establishing Background Concentrations in Soil

The ministry revised Protocol 4 – Establishing Background Concentrations in Soil. This new version (Version 10) removes unintended contradictory language, thus clarifying the conditions under which practitioners may apply the protocol on sites with anthropogenic influences. It revokes and replaces the former version of Protocol 4 issued on November 1, 2017, under the authority of the Contaminated Sites Regulation, and this new Version 10 is effective January 09, 2019.

Please direct your comments and feedback on Protocol 4 to Jennifer.Puhallo@gov.bc.ca

Update of Protocol 13 Screening Level Risk Assessment

The ministry has completed a minor update to Protocol 13 – Screening Level Risk Assessment (SLRA). The changes are in response to stakeholder queries from the SLRA webinar held in the fall 2017 and subsequent to that time. The changes are summarized as follows:

  • SLRA may now be used for any substance;
  • For consistency with the above, minor wording changes were made to Appendix A along with clarification of substances and associated leaching tests;
  • The protocol now specifies constituents of creosote and petroleum hydrocarbon carrier solutions as beneficial use materials instead of PAHs in “Beneficial use exemption” section;
  • HEPHs is now included in Table A-1, Appendix A;
  • A soil pH-Kd isotherm is now included for silver; and
  • Minor clarifications were made to the sequence and references to notes 11, 12 and 13 in the questionnaire.

The ministry thanks those stakeholders who provided their comments to date and welcomes any further comments on the protocol going forward.

Please direct your comments and feedback on Protocol 13 to George.Szefer@gov.bc.ca and Jasen.Nelson@gov.bc.ca.

Requirements for Demonstrating Plume Stability under SLRA/DRA

The ministry advises the following based on recent queries regarding demonstration of plume stability under Detailed Risk Assessment.

Ministry policy requires that groundwater contamination plumes be demonstrated to be stable or shrinking when using a risk assessment approach at contaminated sites. Requirements for demonstrating plume stability are specified in section 7 of Protocol 13: Screening Level Risk Assessment. The requirements are summarized as follows:

“The demonstration of stable or decreasing contaminant plumes must include the evaluation of groundwater conditions within and at the margins of contaminant plumes and provide evidence of both stable or decreasing substance concentrations and no additional vertical or lateral migration or rebound effects. A minimum of 2 years of groundwater monitoring and geochemical data (including seasonal variations over a 2 year period) demonstrating stable or decreasing groundwater concentrations and conditions is necessary.”

The above requirements apply to Screening Level Risk Assessment (SLRA). By association, the requirements also apply to Detailed Risk Assessment (DRA). However, in consideration of the more detailed and site-specific nature of DRA, the ministry acknowledges that there may be other means of evaluation/lines of evidence that may be used under DRA to demonstrate plume stability. Accordingly, the ministry’s expectations for assessment of plume stability under DRA are as follows:

  • Meet the requirements specified in SLRA; or
  • Meet the requirements specified in SLRA with a minimum of 1 year of quarterly groundwater monitoring and geochemical data (including assessing groundwater conditions over the range of seasonal/temporal variations) coupled with other methods of evaluation/lines of evidence that in sum demonstrate plume stability (e.g., partial/complete source removal, conservative modelling, etc.)

Trend analysis (e.g., Mann-Kendall test, α=0.05) of the monitoring data used to support demonstration of stable or decreasing concentrations is implicitly required as part of assessment of plume stability under either SLRA or DRA. The plume stability assessment should also be carried out by a qualified professional hydrogeologist.

The above DRA expectations are deemed to apply to current submissions. The expectations are planned to be incorporated into ministry guidance in the near future.

Please direct any comments or feedback on plume stability assessment to George.Szefer@gov.bc.ca.

Administrative Bulletin 5

As a result of Stage 11 amendments to the Contaminated Sites Regulation (CSR) in 2017, a number of typographical, transcriptional and consequential errors were introduced into CSR Schedules 3.1 to 3.4. Administrative Bulletin 5 summarizes known errata; these were corrected in the recently approved CSR Stage 12 amendments. Should additional errors, or suspected errors, be identified, please notify the Environmental Emergencies and Land Remediation Branch at: site@gov.bc.ca.

Administrative Bulletin 6

The ministry has released Administrative Bulletin 6 to further communicate the Land Remediation Section’s interpretation of legal requirements for authorizations prescribed under the Environmental Management Act. This bulletin is directed specifically at circumstances where authorizations are required for onsite discharges connected to remediation of sites. Any questions regarding this document should be sent to site@gov.bc.ca.

Personnel Announcements: Management Change at Land Remediation

After 11 years working in various roles within the Land Remediation Section of the Environmental Emergencies and Land Remediation Branch, current Acting Director, Peter Kickham, is moving over to the Capital Regional District where he will be taking on the position of Manager of Environmental Regulations. While he is looking forward to a new challenge, he will miss the great people and important/interesting work he has been involved with throughout his career in the BC Public Service.

Peter’s last day is Friday February 1st. Please join us in wishing him all the best.