LAND 280 - Introduction to Contaminated Sites

Managing contaminated sites is vital to maintaining the health of land and water in BC. This course is an introduction to the contaminated sites process in British Columbia, with specific attention paid to the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry in Northeast BC. The course offers an overview of the governing Regulatory bodies and Acts that provide the framework in determining what constitutes a contaminated site in BC. This is followed by a presentation of the Source – Pathway – Receptor model and how contaminants enter and move through the environment. The course provides an introduction into engineering soil classification, hydrogeology, and contaminant migration through soil, groundwater and soil vapour. Quantification of contaminant concentrations in each media will be presented with reference to the BC Contaminated Sites Regulation and Oil and Gas Activities Act, and both numerical and risk based standards will be discussed. Investigation methodologies will be discussed for various stages of environmental investigations, and students will gain hands-on experience in environmental drilling, soil sampling and groundwater sampling methods.


Credits: 3


Hours: 45 (Lecture Hours: 39; Field Experience Hours: 6)


Total Weeks: 15


SOIL 230 and WATR 250, or permission of the instructor


Non-Course Prerequisites:





Course Content:
Overview of Regulatory Bodies Governing Contaminated Sites in BC
- Ministry of Environment and BC Oil and Gas Commission
- Environmental Management Act, Contaminated Sites Regulation, Oil and Gas Activities Act
- Memorandum of Understanding
- BC OGC Certificate of Restoration Manual
- BC MOE Protocols, Guidance, etc.
Define and characterize a Contaminated Site in BC
- What is a contaminated site?
- Standards and guidelines for soil, groundwater and soil vapour, sediment, surface water
- Standards and how they are derived based on toxicity and exposure
Build a Conceptual Site Model
- Sources of contamination in the Oil and Gas Industry and other commercial/industrial operations
- Pathway for exposure
- Receptor and toxicity
- Source-pathway-receptor model
Relate Soil Classification to Contaminant Migration
- Engineering classification vs. agricultural classification
- Soil types, structure, texture, porosity
- Soil permeability, and how it affects migration of contaminants
Relate Groundwater Flow to Contaminant Migration
- How it occurs in the environment
- Uses as specified at sites in BC
- types of groundwater flow
- Contaminant migration
- Dissolved phase and free phase products
- Relationship to surface water bodies
Measure Soil Vapour
- How it occurs
- Migration
- Exposure
- Measurement / sampling
Quantify Contamination
- Specific contaminants based on industry
- Relevant analytical parameters
- Use and quality of analytical data
Prepare a Phase 1/Stage 1 Report
- Importance of Phase 1 Assessment and how this provides the baseline for all environmental investigations at a site
- Establish site history, land use, tenants/owners
- Identify areas of potential environmental concern (APECs) and potential contaminants of concern (PCOC)
- Tools used for desktop information reviews: Site Registry, OGC files, air photos, IHS, client files
- Site visit and inspection
- Record field notes
- Preparation of professional reports
Prepare a Phase 2/Stage 2/DSI Report
- Intrusive investigation process to assess APECs identified in Phase 1/Stage 1
- Reference BC OGC Certification of Restoration Manual and minimum investigation standards
- Investigation methodologies for soil, groundwater, soil vapour and surface water
- Practical, hands on demonstration of drilling, soil sampling and groundwater sampling
- Recording of field notes and observations
- Data evaluation and application of CSR standards
- Report preparation
- Project management
Select Remediation Approach
- What is practical and sustainable?
- Site specific factors influencing decision making
- Methods typically employed in NE BC – dig and dump
- Logistics and preparation of cost estimates
Overview of Risk-Based Approach
- Moving more towards using risk-based decision making
- Screening Level Risk Assessment
- Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessment
- How “clean” does a site have to be?


Learning Outcomes:
- Recognize differing regulatory legislation, regimes and approaches in dealing with contaminated sites in British Columbia, specifically in the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry
- Awareness of activities resulting in contamination of various environmental media
- Describe contaminant impacts and behaviour in soil, groundwater, and soil vapour
- Build a conceptual site model
- Describe the process and tools used in different stages of environmental investigations
- Apply numerical and risk-based standards in evaluating environmental data
- Critically review remediation and risk assessment options in managing contamination in the environment.


Grading System: Letters


Passing Grade: D (50%)


Percentage of Individual Work: 90


Percentage of Group Work: 10


Textbooks are subject to change.  Please contact the bookstore at your local campus for current book lists.