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Expert support for the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan

In Canada, there are thousands of contaminated sites for which the federal government has accepted responsibility. The Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) was developed to provide funding and support to federal departments, agencies, and consolidated Crown corporations (i.e., custodians) in mitigating human health and ecological risks associated with their contaminated sites while reducing federal financial liability.

A portion of federal contaminated sites are in whole or in part aquatic sites. With the goal of protecting fish and fish habitat to ensure a sustainable aquatic ecosystem, DFO expert support provides scientifically sound and nationally consistent advice to custodians, such as during early planning, environmental site assessments, ecological risk assessments, remediation, risk management, and long-term monitoring of FCSAP funded sites, to foster effective and cost-efficient contaminated site management.

Ten step approach to management of Federal contaminated sites

Federal contaminated sites are managed according to a common Ten step approach. DFO expert support can help custodians identify and protect the aquatic ecosystem located on or near federal contaminated sites. Consultation with DFO expert support early in the Ten step process will lead to the effective assessment and management of the sites.

The following pages describe each of the Ten steps and include examples of common activities that occur at each step. This overview is not intended to provide a complete list of possible activities.

Information gathering
Use existing information to identify suspect contaminated sites.

If the site is suspect, proceed to the following:

Screening level assessment
Initial assessment of the level of contamination.

If the site is contaminated, proceed to the following:

Detailed level assessment
Detailed assessment of the level of contamination.

If contamination poses a risk, proceed to the following:

Remediation/Risk management
Develop and implement a remediation/risk management strategy and implement long term monitoring.

In the FCSAP, sites under federal custody are managed according to a common 10-step approach. The management of these sites begins with a problem formulation phase where suspect contaminated sites are identified using existing information, i.e., suspected contaminated aquatic sites are identified (Step 1) and a historical review is conducted (Step 2). If contamination is suspected at the site, an initial assessment of the level of contamination (screening level assessment) is conducted where an initial testing program is developed and implemented (Step 3) and the initial site classification occurs (Step 4). If the site is contaminated, a detailed assessment of the level of contamination (detailed level assessment) is conducted where a detailed testing program is developed and implemented (Step 5); the site is then reclassified (Step 6). If the contamination at the site poses a risk to human health and/or the environment, the final phase involves remediation/risk management of these sites. A remediation/risk management strategy is developed (Step 7) and implemented in Step 8. Confirmatory sampling (Step 9) and long-term monitoring (Step 10) then occurs to confirm that the management and remediation/risk management objectives have been met.

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