On March 1, 2016, the Government of Alberta published a
guideline about the minimum requirements for environmental site
assessments ("ESAs") in the province. This guideline,
titled the Alberta Environmental Site Assessment Standard (the
"ESA Standard"), sets out what should be included in
Phase I ESAs and Phase II ESAs in Alberta.1
Alberta's primary environmental statutes are the
Environmental Protection and Enhancement
Act2 and the Water
Act.3 Guidance about management of
contaminated sites pursuant to the Acts is found in Alberta's
Contaminated Sites Policy Framework.4
The new ESA Standard provides guidance to environmental
consultants and property owners about the minimum components that
the Government of Alberta expects to see in ESAs.
The ESA Standard provides guidance about the minimum
requirements for Phase I ESAs, including:
scope of the Phase I ESAs
records to be reviewed
Likewise, the ESA Standard provides guidance about the minimum
requirements for Phase II ESAs, including:
scope of Phase II ESAs
field methodologies and investigation
sampling rationale and design
quality assurance/quality control,
data validation and
The ESA Standard is broadly written and does not make
site-specific conclusions. Where an individual is commissioning an
ESA, he or she should ensure that the professional responsible for
conducting the ESA applies the ESA Standard and evaluates
The ESA Standard has not yet been codified into law by
regulation. For now, the ESA Standard is a guidance document.
1 Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), 2016.
Alberta Environmental Site Assessment
2 RSA 2000, c E-12.
3 RSA 2000, c W-3.
4 Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource
Development (ESRD), 2014. Contaminated Sites Policy
Framework. Land and Forestry Policy Branch, Policy
5Alberta Environmental Site Assessment
Standard, supra note 1, part 3.0.
6Ibid, part 4.0.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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