January 2, 2006

Nova Scotia revises criteria for soil, water remediation

HALIFAX, NS-Changes to soil and water remediation criteria announced December 1, 2005 by Nova Scotia's Department of Environment and Labour are expected to reduce the cost of cleaning up domestic fuel oil spills. The changes will, for example, raise the total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) allowed in residential soil to 140 parts per million (ppm) from 60. This will mean less soil will have to be removed after fuel oil contamination. The maximum allowable level of TPH in groundwater at residential sites will increase from 1.1 ppm to 3.2 ppm. For commercial properties contaminated by domestic fuel oil, the criterion for soil will rise from 90 to 840 ppm, while the limit for groundwater at commercial sites will increase from 1.8 ppm to 15 ppm. Commercial standards often differ from residential ones because of factors such as time spent on the site. "These are risk-based standards developed from the best science available," said Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash. "They continue to protect the environment and human health, but they will lessen the burden on property owners affected by domestic fuel oil spills." He added that the changes conform to an Atlantic Canadian standard based on the latest science and Canada-wide guidelines. More information is available on the Environment and Labour Web site, www.gov.ns.ca/enla/contaminatedsites/.

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