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Environmental Characterization

Environmental characterization is a crucial step that includes Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the environmental site assessment (ESA). Phase 2 is required if Phase 1 has revealed actual contamination risks, while Phase 3 is conditional on the conduct of Phase 2.

Phase 2: Soil Sampling

Also called preliminary environmental characterization, Phase 2 includes soil testing. Our team collects soil and/or groundwater samples to confirm the presence of contaminants. The samples are then analyzed in the laboratory and interpreted according to the use criteria set out in the Intervention Guide - Soil Protection and Rehabilitation of Contaminated Sites. The analyses confirm or deny the presence of contaminants. 

All Phase 2 ESAs conducted by our team are in accordance with the content of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standard CSA-Z769. Enutech is committed to conducting this second phase in a thorough manner, and to disclose the results in full.

Soil testing in a lab

Phase 3: Complementary Environmental Characterization

Soil sampling

Once the presence and concentration of contaminants at the site is confirmed by Phase 2, the extent of the contamination must be delimited. An exhaustive environmental characterization is performed in the contaminated area to gauge the extent of the contamination. New soil tests allow us to delimit the contamination on the surface and at depth. It then becomes easier to estimate the scope and the cost of the remediation work that will have to be carried out. Phase 3 also allows us to propose recommendations and remediation measures adapted to the extent of the contamination that characterizes the site.

Environmental Characterization for Mortgages

ESA’s phases 2 and 3 are increasingly required by banking institutions to complete the purchase. While Phase 1 fulfills a duty of due diligence, Phases 2 and 3 attest the presence or absence of contaminants on the site. Their completion gives the buyer the right information and guarantees the loan from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). 


As a matter of interest, since 2003, the Environment Quality Act (EQA) requires the characterization of various contaminated land when there is a change of use or permanent cessation of activity on a site.

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