New Environmental Drilling Rig

At Anderson Environmental Inc we have recently added a new addition to our capabilities to assist our clients with Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments including delineations of contamination in soil and groundwater, soil assessments and groundwater monitoring through the installation of groundwater monitoring wells.  We have undertaken Phase 1 ESA’s and Phase 2 ESA’s

Our new custom Environmental Drilling rig has been designed with customizations from Jason the director of Anderson Environmental Inc in consultation with engineers to allow the rig to be extremely powerful yet very compact therefore making it extremely versatile for both outdoor assessments but also for indoor drilling for Environmental Site Assessments.  The footprint of the rig is 5ft with the rig mast swinging into a rear recess of the trailer thereby making it even more compact.  With a large Danfoss hydraulic drive head paired to a 35hp engine with 20gpm hydraulics it has huge torque with the ability to core through concrete and pavement at the commencement of a drilling job.  The 4 inch hydraulic ram has massive pullback and good push capabilities allowing for difficult ground along with direct push sampling capabilities with either split spoon samplers or direct push lined tubes.

New Environmental Drilling Rig

We undertake Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments throughout Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario.  As a small company we are committed to a high quality of personal customer service, fast turn around times and our services are very cost competitive.

The addition of this Environmental Drilling Rig enables us to provide a cost effective service to our clients and provides the versatility of undertaking timely assessments in a range of environments for a range of varied assessments from Phase II ESA’s to Soils Assessments for Agriculture and soil profiling as well as the installation of groundwater monitoring wells for groundwater monitoring programs.  It is particularly suitable for work inside buildings due to the low head clearance height and small footprint but is its equally versatile for outside drilling in a variety of locations from farm paddocks to around buildings.

Please give us a call for a no obligation quotation and advice on your next project.

Differences between Phase 1 and Phase 2 ESA explained

The differences between Phase I Environmental Site Assessments and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments is sometimes unclear to clients. We undertake Phase I ESA and Phase II ESA Assessments throughout Alberta and British Columbia and they are undertaken for a wide variety of purposes. Generally, a Phase I ESA does not undertake intrusive sampling or testing of soil, groundwater, air or building materials. A Phase I ESA generally is a detailed review of existing records pertaining to a site and its surrounds followed by a detailed site inspection. The site inspection itself is to examine the site and the potential for contamination and any Areas of Potential Environmental Concern (APEC’s). The site inspection also involves evaluation of the buffer distances from the site boundary which are required. In Alberta it is a requirement under the Alberta Environmental Site Assessment Standard (2016) to evaluate the potential risks from other sites within 300 metres from the site boundary which could represent a risk of contamination to the subject site. As such, quite a large area is examined as part of the assessment. The buffer, (300 metres for Alberta and 250 metres for most other provinces) from the site boundary (which is examined as part of all assessments as required by the standards) is to determine any nearby sites which may have impacted the subject site in relation to potential contamination.  Potential impact risks often arise particularly from higher risk sites which are close to the subject site. Higher risk sites include: gas stations, dry cleaners, fertilizer and chemical works/storage, automotive repair/body works to name just a few. These can sometimes result in contamination on the surface of the subject site or underneath the subject site from ground water contamination. In some cases, contaminants can leave the site or migrate onto the site from neighbouring sites.

Often a limited Phase II Environmental Site Assessment or an Enhanced Phase I ESA is undertaken. These scoped assessments are often undertaken if the risk is not high and if background information provides high quality information to move forward in a staged way. In other cases, a full Phase II ESA may be required when there is a high risk involved from the subject site or neighbouring sites and/or a high degree of uncertainty.

Phase II ESA’s are detailed assessments which are guided by the Phase I ESA as it is the Phase I which identifies the risks and Contaminants of Potential Concern. A detailed Phase I provides the basis for assessing the risk and whether a Phase II ESA is justified. Phase II assessments involve intrusive sampling of items such as soil and groundwater, spill or storage piles, building materials, vapour, dust or air. Sampling Design is specific to the site for the potential contaminants as outlined in the Phase I ESA. Conceptual Site Models are used throughout the assessment process. The evaluate the potential contaminant based on its specific properties and likely behaviour at or near to the site.  These conceptual site models are sometimes refined as more data becomes available from the soil profile and chemical analysis of the soil and groundwater.  The photo below shows recent drilling undertaken to install a groundwater monitoring borehole at an industrial premises for a Phase II ESA we recently undertook in Edmonton.

Once the results are interpreted it becomes clear if the testing has revealed contamination on the site.  There are generally 3 possible results in a Phase II ESA including;

  • No contamination detected. This is generally a very good result for both the seller and potential purchaser of the property or for a landowner undertaking Due Diligence.
  • Some contamination detected but either below guideline threshold levels or of limited extent. Contamination of limited extent is a good result as generally these sites are more readily remediated.  Contaminated areas are delineated both vertically and horizontally and a Remediation Plan is formulated for the remediation of the site.
  • Gross contamination on the site is sometimes detected which depending on the type and extent of the contamination (along with the specific localised site conditions) can make site remediation very difficult and expensive. This is particularly the case if the groundwater has been impacted.

Anderson Environmental Inc undertakes Phase I ESA and Phase II ESA Assessments and Site Remediation throughout Alberta and BC.  We also have coverage of Ontario.  We are a small, dedicated company who offer personalised and prompt professional service to our clients.  Why not give us a call so we can assist you with your next project.

Site Records and Interviews for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments Alberta

As consultants undertaking Phase I Environmental Site Assessments and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments throughout Alberta,  British Columbia and Ontario we come across a lot of interesting situations. Sometimes we feel like Archaeologists or Historians trying to re-create what happened historically on a site.  This Due Diligence is important to our clients for risk management and as such we take a considered approach base on evidence from a broad range of sources.

Many of our clients know broadly what a Phase I ESA entails particularly our repeat clients who have used us over the years. When undertaking Phase I Environmental Site Assessments our aim is to gather all the relevant data possible through the relevant databases, record searches and other sources. There is however a limit often to what information is available and sometimes interviews of people with knowledge of the site yields important information. The pictures below show a marked up area of pavement which was marked out by our preferred locating contractor in Alberta with Ground Penetrating Radar. This shows the position of a potential Underground Storage Tank (UST) and likely backfill area (likely tank extent in red and green showing backfill material).

Site Records and Interviews for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments Alberta

The reason the site was scanned with ground penetrating radar, even though none of the record searches revealed potential for underground storage tanks, is an interesting story. When speaking to one of the long-term employees of the building as part of our detailed interview process they indicated that they remember someone telling them that there was previously potentially the sale of gasoline at the subject site. The employee could not remember who had told them this information as they had worked at this premise for the last 20 years. As such the information we received could not be verified by talking to the person providing the information as the employee could not even remember who had told them the information or when it was provided.  And so this is how we ended up with a detailed Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) scan of the property along with the above picture showing “X Marks the Spot” (or in this case the likely location of the Underground Storage Tank (UST) and its backfill area).

This indicates the importance of trying to evaluate all the information received, however in this instance no written records from any source were available to indicate the potential previous use of the site in relation to potential underground storage tanks. Therefore, our recommendation to our client was to undertake a Ground Penetrating Radar survey based on this limited information (which some people would describe as hearsay, or a sketchy record). As consultants we are careful with our approach to the assessment of sites and use technology and a range of assessment techniques in a careful and staged manner to answer questions or potential issues found on site.

This represents a very interesting case of the use of information which could not be fully verified in relation to our site assessment. In this case the technology used (GPR) was relatively inexpensive and although it has some limitations depending on the soil type and underlying geology it represents a useful first tool for determining potential underground disturbance.  Records availability often varies by area and for large cities there are more extensive an comprehensive records available than in smaller rural areas like in Northern Alberta where this site was located.  Sometimes the most valuable source of information can be some of the older people in the community who have lived in the locality most or all of their life.

We treat our clients money as if it were our own and are careful and methodical in our approach to site assessments based on evidence and a staged approach.  The results in this assessment indicated the Underground Storage Tank (UST) as an Area of Potential Environmental Concern (APEC).  In such cases a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment can therefore be undertaken in a considered and planned way to determine any contamination as a result of the underground storage tank.  The Ground Penetrating Radar also did not detect any other anomalies in the ground where other tanks may have been removed in the past and backfilled.  This provides an area to commence focusing on in any Phase II ESA as a considered and target approach based on evidence.

As professional Environmental Consultants working in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario we serve our clients in a range of projects in a professional and timely manner.  Please give us a call or contact us through our Contact Us page on our website to discuss your next project.

What is the cost of an Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA) ?

As Environmental Consultants Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia Anderson Environmental Inc provides a range of Environmental Assessment Services.  We are often asked questions regarding the Environmental Site Assessment process.  Often clients have not undertaken a Phase I or Phase II Environmental Site Assessment before and are trying to gain an understanding of the process and the cost and any other items that may come up or need to be covered as part of this process.  These assessments are sometimes undertaken for Due Diligence Real Estate Transactions such as purchase or lease changes and are often for clean-up of contaminated sites such as former Gas Stations, Orphan Well Sites, Dry Cleaners, Industrial Sites etc etc.

The most common question we receive relates to the Cost of an Environmental Site Assessment (Phase 1 or Phase 2 ESA).  Here we examine the cost of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and what it entails.

What is the cost of a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA) ?

This depends on a number of factors.  The size of the site along with its location, previous use and potential for a complex history both of the site itself and nearby sites are factors which impact the cost of the assessment.  Some sites comprise farms with a simple site history over many decades while other sites represent industrial sites with complex site histories and many differing neighbouring sites which need to be considered within the 250m or 300m radius from your site boundary.  The required search results from simple sites can result in 20 pages while more complex sites can result in a few hundred pages of background historical data.  Industrial sites with complex layouts and multiple buildings and industrial processes require considerable time for the on site assessment and often have large amounts of records to examine.  We consider the site and work required to undertake a compliant report to Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z768-01 (2012) (including provincial requirements) when we provide clients with a price for a Phase I ESA.   This is important as very often the report has to be relied upon by financiers. For sellers having an up to date report provides potential buyers with an instant appreciation of any potential risks with the purchase.  This often places the seller at an advantage over other sellers of commercial or rural property.

What does a Phase 1 ESA Cover?

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is a detailed review of the history of a site (using a combination of sources including aerial photos, governmental records, site walkovers and detailed site inspections, interviews, review of previous site and nearby reports, and other available information). This role of the Phase 1 ESA is to identify Areas of Potential Environmental Concern (APECs) which are parts of the site that may have environmental issues which may have resulted in contamination.  It also examines other sites nearby which may represent a risk to the subject site.

Sometimes clients ask for an “Elevated Phase I ESA” which is often scoped to undertake some limited testing of some areas the client may have identified themselves as a potential risk or concern.  This does not constitute a Phase II ESA however does add extra information for the Phase 1 ESA.

A thorough Phase I ESA can provide evidence of potential environmental liability due to contamination with a property.  Once you purchase a property which is contaminated then in almost all cases it is difficult or almost impossible to get the clean-up paid for by the former owner.

With coverage of the whole of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario and also experience in the USA our clients use our knowledge and experience to minimise their risk with property purchases.  Why not give us a call today to discuss you specific project or purchase.