Federal contaminated sites annual report 2007 to 2008

January 21, 2010

The Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) is a collaborative effort by federal departments, agencies, and consolidated Crown corporations ("custodians") to identify, assess and prioritize the remediation or risk management of federal contaminated sites based on the level of risk posed to human health and the environment.

Originally developed in response to the 2004 federal budget commitment of $3.5 billion in multi-year funding, the FCSAP is a 15-year cost-shared program that provides a mechanism to accelerate the remediation or risk management of priority federal contaminated sites. The FCSAP expands on the previous Federal Contaminated Sites Accelerated Action Plan (FCSAAP) (which ran during 2003-04 and 2004-05), prior to which the majority of departments and agencies collectively reallocated up to $100 million per year1 from other priorities to risk-manage and/or remediate their federal contaminated sites.

In its third year of operation (2007-08), expenditures were reported nationally by 15 custodians for 276 remediation / risk management projects (consisting of 519 sites where activity was undertaken) and 590 assessment projects (consisting of 2269 sites where activity was undertaken). These projects included the cleanup of sites where the environmental consequences of past practices were not fully understood, including such sites as: harbours and ports, military bases, former Distant Early Warning (DEW) line sites, light stations, and abandoned mines.

FY 2007-08 at a glance:

$188.4 million in total FCSAP expenditures, including federal contaminated sites projects, program management, secretariat/expert support services, and PWGSC accommodation costs

$146.9 million in FCSAP funds spent on remediation/risk management projects

$19.2 million in federal custodian funds spent on remediation/risk management projects funded under FCSAP

$18.5 million in FCSAP funds spent on assessment projects

$6.1 million in custodian funds spent on assessment projects

276 priority remediation/risk management projects funded

2269 assessment sites funded (on 590 projects)

In 2007-08, $188.4 million of FCSAP funds were spent on federal contaminated sites projects, program management, secretariat/expert support services, and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) accommodation costs. In addition to the FCSAP funds, and in adherence to the Government of Canada's "polluter pays" principle, custodians contributed $25.3 million in cost-share. Of the total amount spent ($213.7 million), the greatest proportion of the funds ($190.7 million) went towards the actual assessment and remediation / risk management of federal contaminated sites.

As of March 31, 2008, a liability of $3.332 billion was recorded for approximately 2360 contaminated sites, compared with a liability of $3.014 billion for 2630 sites in 20072. This increase in federal environmental liability is primarily attributed to changes recorded to planned cost estimates for remediation activities of large projects. It is also attributed to the fact that increased spending on assessment activities results in a more accurate estimate of liability, often leading to an increase. Continued work on all types of FCSAP projects will result in further refinement of liability estimates, and total liability is expected to decline as sites are remediated. If you have questions or comments on this report, or wish to obtain additional copies of this report, please contact:

FCSAP Secretariat
Contaminated Sites Division
Environmental Protection Operations Directorate
Environment Canada
351 St. Joseph Boulevard, 15th Floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3
Tel: 819-934-2155 / Fax: 819-994-0502
Email: fcsap.pascf@ec.gc.ca

[1] Environnement Canada. 2005. Agir pour assainir les sites contaminés fédéraux : une priorité environnementale et économique, Ottawa, p. ii.

[2] Comptes publics du Canada 2008; Volume 1, (TPSGC, 2008), S. 5, p. 5.12.

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