Contaminated Sites & Spill Reporting

Potential Approval, Permit or Code of Practice Requirements

Contaminated Site or Soils

In B.C., a site is contaminated if its land, water and/or sediment are unsuitable for particular uses. That means it’s an area that has a waste contaminating the soil, groundwater or sediment in an amount or concentration that exceeds environmental quality standards.

The Environmental Management Act is the main law governing contaminated sites in the province. It lays out standards for site identification, assessment, and cleanup (“remediation”). Other provisions are set out in the Contaminated Sites Regulation. The Ministry of Environment administers these legal requirements and provides direction for compliance.

Statute: Environmental Management Act, 2003

Relevant Section or Regulation: Environmental Management Act, Part 4, Contaminated Site Remediation Contaminated Sites Regulation

Regulating Agency: Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy ​


Spill Reporting 

Environmental Emergencies in BC

Environmental emergencies include hazardous or toxic spills, discharges, emissions, as well as dyke and dam failures, debris flows and floods.

This number connects with the Emergency Coordination Centre (part of Emergency Management BC (EMBC); the dispatcher will notify the appropriate Environmental Emergency Response Officer.

24-hour/toll-free: 1-800-663-3456

Explanation: The Spill Reporting Regulation specifies the types and quantities of spills that must be immediately reported. Failure to report is an offence under Section 79(5) of the Environmental Management Act. The regulation requires the person in charge of the spilled substance to take all reasonable and practical action to stop, contain and minimize the effects of the spill.

Statute: Environmental Management Act

Relevant Section or Regulation:

Regulating Agency: Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy, Spills and Environmental Emergencies