Remediation planning

Last updated on July 19, 2022

Key factors in planning

When a site investigation has identified contamination at a site, the next step is to plan remediation.

Two key factors influence a site’s remediation path:

  • Site risk classification
  • Local government permits

Non-high risk sites are primarily under the oversight of Qualified Professionals, who apply to the ministry for contaminated sites services as needed.

High risk sites are under the direct supervision of the ministry that regularly provides progress reports and remediation information.

Local government permits may be required to remediate a site for redevelopment. There's a linkage between the Environmental Management Act (EMA) and the Local Government Act. Ministry certification documents, such as Approvals in Principle, can release local government permits.

CSR standards

The goal of the remedial options will be to meet Contaminated Sites Regulation (CSR) standards, which represent safe levels for human health and the environment.

CSR standards are categorized as either numerical or risk-based standards. 

Learn more about Standards.

Background concentrations

Numerical standards also include background concentrations for soil and groundwater and site-specific numerical standards for select substances in soil and groundwater.

Background concentrations and/or site-specific numerical standards may be used as remediation standards.

Learn more about background concentrations.

Approvals in Principle

Remediation plans are developed based on the selected remedial options and include content based on the EMA and CSR.

An Approval in Principle (AiP) is a ministry issued document confirming that the ministry has reviewed and approved a remediation plan. 

Learn more about remediation plans and Approvals in Principle.


Pre-approvals may be needed to support an incomplete investigation and/or remediation of a contaminated site.

Pre-approval is a prior approval, determination, authorization, or decision obtained from the ministry before an Approved Professional submits a contaminated site services application with a recommendation to issue a certification document, such as a Determination, Approval in Principle or Certificate of Compliance.

Pre-approvals are part of the Protocol 6 processes governing Approved Professionals.

Learn more about pre-approvals.

The information on this web page does not replace the legislative requirements in the EMA or its regulations and it does not list all provisions for contaminated site services.

If there are differences between this information and the Act, Regulation, or Protocols, the Act, Regulation, and Protocols apply.