Pre-approvals under Protocol 6

Find out how to apply for a pre-approval from the ministry when the entire extent of contamination at a non-high risk contaminated site cannot be delineated or remediated.


The requirements for pre-approvals are found in Protocol 6: Applications with Approved Professional Recommendations and Pre-approvals (PDF, 406KB).

Applying for pre-approval

When pre-approval is required under Protocol 6, a completed Contaminated Sites Service Application (CSSA) (Online) must be submitted.

The application must provide detailed rationale and information supporting the application, including:

  • The reasons why pre-approval is being requested:
    • For example, for legal and/or scientific reasons
    • Include reference to relevant ministry policies, protocols, guidance and other web pages, if applicable
  • A complete report including relevant site information, data interpretation and any additional pertinent information
  • Scientific citations:
    • If proposing to use a standardized and recognized methodology, fully cite the source of the standardized methodology
    • If proposing a new scientific methodology, provide full details of the method with the scientific assessment and all relevant supporting literature

Attach additional pages if there's not enough space on the form.

Refer to the Apply for services page for more information.

In circumstances where difficulties exist in meeting requirements at a site, a responsible person may need to request and obtain ministry pre-approval under Protocol 6 (PDF, 406KB) before applying through the Contaminated Sites Approved Professional (CSAP) Society of B.C.

If you apply directly to the ministry, you do not need pre-approval under Protocol 6.

A list of examples requiring Protocol 6 pre-approvals is as follows:

  1. Where contamination will not be delineated and/or remediated as per the requirements in the Environmental Management Act (EMA)Contaminated Sites Regulation (CSR) and protocols, and the entire extent of contamination will not be included in one or more applications for an Approval in Principle of a remediation plan or certification, including parts of contaminated sites
    • Examples for this scenario include:
      • Denial of access to an affected parcel, so delineation or remediation is incomplete after substantial efforts have been made to obtain access
      • There's no technically feasible or safe method available to investigate or remediate by ministry guidance and protocols
      • Merging contaminant plumes or co-mingled contamination from different source parcels where neighbouring source parcel owners will not cooperate in investigating and remediating the contaminated sites
      • Flow-through contaminated site: a site or parcel to which contaminants have migrated from an up-gradient source site or parcel and passed through the ‘flow-through’ parcel without increasing in concentration; the contaminants have then migrated further down-gradient to one or more additional affected sites or parcels
      • Area wide contamination: caused by the placement of contaminated fill from multiple widespread and undetermined historical sources with no identifiable responsible person(s) and that's not part of a designated environmental management area; parcel owners or operators wishing to attribute contamination to widespread, undetermined sources must not, by any act or omission, cause or contribute to, or exacerbate (e.g., mobilize), the widespread historical contamination
      • Contaminants appear in environmental media because of beneficial uses, as designated by a director
      • Remediation is occurring, or is planned to occur, in stages; this is primarily for large sites where remediation will take place over several years
      • When only a part of an operating facility is being remediated and there will be an application for a Certificate of Compliance for only that remediated portion
      • For relief from the requirement to obtain a certification for the source property while seeking certification for affected properties
      • To obtain a certification for an affected parcel before the entire extent of contamination associated with the source site has been remediated
  2. Where a risk assessment would be used that includes derivation or use of a site-specific risk-based concentration
  3. Where an Approved Professional will prepare a recommendation for an Approval in Principle that will be valid for longer than 5 years and the application will be submitted to CSAP
  4. Where an Approved Professional will prepare a recommendation for an Approval in Principle and/or Certification for high risk or risk managed high risk site and the application will be submitted to CSAP

Such pre-approvals support applications made through the CSAP Society with Approved Professional recommendations.

This list of scenarios is not exhaustive. If you have questions about a pre-approval scenario or the requirements in Protocol 6, please contact the ministry at


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.