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Soil Protection and Rehabilitation of Contaminated Sites

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Québec’s Soil Protection and Rehabilitation of Contaminated Sites Policy provides the necessary framework for preserving the integrity of soil and groundwater. It establishes priority actions and offers various ways to assess and manage contaminated sites. In addition to using specific criteria, the policy provides guidelines for assessment and rehabilitation through risk analysis and management. All risks must be assessed in compliance with the guidelines for assessing human health toxicological risks developed in conjunction with the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, and the Ecotoxicological Risk Assessment Procedure developed by the Centre d’expertise en analyse environnemental du Québec.

Bill 72 (Act to amend the Environment Quality Act and other legislative amendments with regard to land protection and rehabilitation), passed in May 2002, entered into force on March 1, 2003. The purpose of the bill is to establish new rules to promote the protection of lands and their rehabilitation in the event of contamination. The bill provides for implementation of the major directions of the Soil Protection and Rehabilitation of Contaminated Sites Policy.

The Land Protection and Rehabilitation Regulation fixes the limit values for a range of contaminants and defines the types of industrial activities contemplated by the regulation. It also establishes the conditions under which groundwater quality must be monitored downstream of the lands on which some of those activities take place. The Regulation respecting the burial of contaminated soils governs the layout, extension, operation, closure and post-closure monitoring of sites used for the burial of contaminated soils. The Regulation respecting environmental impact assessment and review sets forth the projects and treatment processes subject to environmental assessment.

The Ministère publishes an inventory containing general and technical information on sites that have been contaminated by industrial and commercial activities or accidental spills. The inventory lists only those sites brought to Ministry’s attention. In addition to this data, the Ministry compiles information about sites characterized by the presence of industrial residue dumps, former municipal dumps, pulp and paper residue, accumulated mining residue, landfills or contaminated soil residue confinement facilities.


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