Managing a contaminated site

Managing a known or suspected contaminated site

If you are the owner of a suspected or known contaminated site, you are responsible for taking measures to assess and clean up the contamination according to the Contaminated Sites Regulation.

The Contaminated Sites Regulation establishes:

  • clean up standards;
  • processes for identifying and investigating contaminated sites; and
  • permits for managing contaminated material within Yukon.

We advise that you hire an environmental consultant to complete this work.

Dealing with a contaminated site

1. Determine if the site is contaminated

First, you must determine whether contamination exists at a site. Carry out the following.

  1. A site investigation (or Phase I assessment). This compiles information about the site, such as past and current activities, spills and material handling practices. The investigator develops a list of possible contaminants on the site and areas where they might be located. If the site investigation identifies potential areas of contamination, you will need to conduct a site assessment.
  2. A site assessment (or Phase II assessment). This involves sampling the soil or water in those areas and analyzing the samples for the possible contaminants identified in the site investigation. The goal of a site assessment is to identify the areas, depths and concentrations of contaminants on the site.
  3. Submit your site investigation and site assessment reports to envprot@gov.yk.ca for review. If concentrations of contaminants at a site exceed the applicable soil or water standards in the Contaminated Sites Regulation, the site is considered contaminated.

2. Plan for cleanup

Develop a plan of restoration (or remedial action plan) to establish how you will clean up contamination at a site. This plan sets the appropriate standards and method for cleanup.

You will likely need a permit to handle the contamination. See Treat and relocate contaminated material.

Selecting restoration standards

Most sites are remediated until they meet the numerical standards listed in the Contaminated Sites Regulation.

But for some sites, it may not be practical to meet the established standards for a typical site. In these cases, you can:

  • develop site-specific numerical standards by adjusting the generic standards to fit site-specific conditions;
  • use the natural background concentrations of contaminants as the goal to meet when cleaning up sites, such as where soil has naturally high concentrations of heavy metal; and
  • use a risk assessment to determine what actual hazards the contamination creates and what actions you can take to reduce those hazards to acceptable levels, when the existing models can't sufficiently address the complexity of the site.

Selecting a restoration strategy

Once you have chosen the appropriate standards, select a strategy to clean up the site so that it meets the established standards.

3. Clean up and restoration

  1. Execute the plan you developed in step 2.
  2. Submit your results for any permits issued for this process to envprot@gov.yk.ca.

Report someone else’s contaminated site

If you suspect a site is contaminated, call the TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525 , email envprot@gov.yk.ca, or phone: 867- 667-5683 or toll free in Yukon: 1-800-661-0408, ext. 5683. Once you have reported the contamination, we will provide you with advice on how to deal with it.

We can assist landowners, vendors and purchasers by reviewing reports of contamination or cleanup and determining how the Contaminated Sites Regulation applies to the site.

Contact: 

For questions about managing contaminated sites, email envprot@gov.yk.ca or phone: 867- 667-5683 or toll free in Yukon: 1-800-661-0408, ext. 5683.