SECURE is pleased to offer our customers a dedicated team of professionals focused on Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA), a specialized management tool used for sites that have been impacted by contaminants. The process involves identification of site-specific receptors (human and ecological), contaminants of concern, and exposure pathways through which receptors may come into contact with contaminants. This information is then used to qualitatively and/or quantitatively evaluate risk. Ultimately, the goal for sites where ERA is used is to obtain regulatory closure.
It should be noted that closure of regulatory liability through a risk-based approach provides the same level of human health and ecological protection as closure using generic standards/guidelines developed by regulatory bodies. Both approaches result in the same regulatory instrument (for example, certificate of restoration or reclamation certificate).
Depending on site-specific conditions and stakeholder needs, SECURE employs three levels of ERA (with increasing complexity and data requirements):
- Professional Judgement – qualitative
- Screening Level Risk Assessment – semi-quantitative
- Site-Specific Risk Assessment – quantitative
Application of ERA at an affected site generally has three outcomes: no risk and no further work required, some risk with a requirement for monitoring, and risk with a requirement for remediation. Regardless of the outcome, where ERA is deemed a feasible approach for regulatory closure, cost-savings will be realized. For example, remediation following ERA is typically much smaller in scope, and can be completed at a substantially lower cost.
Ensuring our clients are compliant during every step of the environmental management process is of utmost importance. As such, SECURE has developed an ERA feasibility tool that ensures only sites that are suitable for ERA will be assessed through this approach. This provides a high-level of confidence that sites where ERA is used will successfully obtain regulatory closure.
SECURE risk assessors have successfully completed ERAs for various types of sites, including:
- Oil and Gas (wellsites, pipelines, upstream and downstream facilities)
- Agricultural lands
- Wildlands and natural areas
- Current and proposed industrial facilities
- Commercial or residential properties
- Mine sites
Through completion of high-quality ERAs, SECURE has emerged as a leader in risk-based approaches in Western Canada. Furthermore, we have participated in growing the acceptability of ERA by working closely with provincial regulators.
ERA is considered a sustainable option for contaminated sites management. It oftentimes allows for soil or groundwater above regulatory standards/guidelines to be left in place where natural attenuation can occur – potentially reducing the mass, mobility, toxicity or concentration of contaminants in soil and groundwater. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in todays world of triple bottom line thinking (social-environmental-financial); where limiting potential greenhouse gas emissions and reducing safety concerns through minimization of heavy equipment, trucks on the road, and landfilling of soil are important factors in selecting a remedial option.
For further information regarding ERA or to discuss how ERA may benefit your specific site please contact SECURE.