What is a contaminated site? In British Columbia, a contaminated site is defined as an area of land in which the soil or underlying groundwater or sediment contains a hazardous waste or substance in an amount or concentration that exceeds provincial environmental quality standards. A site is contaminated if it is unsuitable for specific uses of land, water and sediment. Many sites in the province became contaminated during past industrial or commercial uses. Such activities often resulted in chemicals and other toxic materials being spilled or deposited on land. The most common substances found at sites in BC are heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. Organic chemicals, including benzene and toluene in gasoline, occur at about two-thirds of the sites. Chlorophenols are common at wood treatment operations, as are benzo[a]pyrene and naphthalene from creosote. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) often occur at sites where electrical equipment was used.
BC Ministry of Environment. 2006. FACTS ON CONTAMINATED SITES: An Introduction to Contaminated Sites in British Columbia. BC Ministry of Environment
Keywords: contaminated site, hazardous waste
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