Federal contaminated sites annual report 2012 to 2013

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Established by the Government of Canada in 2005, the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) is a 15-year, $4.2-billion program. Its primary objective is to reduce environmental and human-health risks and the related financial liabilities from federal contaminated sites.

In Phase I of FCSAP (2005-2011), federal departments, agencies and consolidated Crown corporations (also referred to as custodians) made significant progress in addressing contaminated sites. FCSAP Phase II was approved in 2011-2012 to continue this work for five years, with a focus on the remediation of the highest-priority sites. A third phase is planned for 2016-2020. This report describes the progress made in 2012-2013, the second year of Phase II.

Nationally, federal departments involved in FCSAP reported total expenditures of $242 million in 2012-2013. This includes $14 million spent on assessments, $207 million spent on the remediation and risk-management of federal contaminated sites, and $21 million for program management activities. In this year, the program achieved several results:

  • Custodians conducted assessments at 491 sites to characterize environmental conditions; of the 268 sites that were fully assessed, 38% require remediation or risk management, while 62% require no further action, as they pose no significant risk.
  • Custodians conducted remediation and risk-management activities at 350 sites; at 36 of these, the remediation process was completed, resulting in improvements to environmental quality and reduction of federal financial liability.
  • Approximately 1150 jobs were created, with an estimated 5.2 direct jobs created for every million dollars spent on FCSAP projects.

These results are reflected in the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory (FCSI), which is maintained by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. At the end of 2012-2013, the FCSI listed approximately 22 300 sites. A comparison of FCSI data from 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 shows that the number of sites suspected of being contaminated decreased by 18%. There was also a 4% decrease in the number of active sites and a 13% increase in the number of closed sites, where no further action will be required. This progress was a result of the FCSAP funding available, which allowed custodians to conduct assessment and remediation work at their sites. Approximately 76% of expenditures reported to the FCSI in 2012-2013 were attributable to FCSAP, as not all federal contaminated sites are part of the program.

Contamination of federal sites may translate into liability for the Government of Canada, when appropriate accounting criteria are met. The total liability for the remediation of contaminated sites increased by $118 million to a total of $4.891 billion during 2012-2013. Adjusted liability, an estimate of the liability for sites eligible for FCSAP funding, increased by $188 million to a total of $3.604 billion during 2012-2013. Total Adjusted liability is expected to decline eventually as fewer new sites are added to the federal inventory and more existing sites are remediated.

For questions or comments on this report, contact:

FCSAP Secretariat
Compliance Promotion and Contaminated Sites Division
Environmental Protection Operations Directorate
Environment Canada
351 St. Joseph Boulevard, 17th Floor
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3
Email: fcsap.pascf@ec.gc.ca

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