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Neighbours Must Air Their Dirty Secrets - New Notice Requirements Under The Contaminated Sites Regulation

"It is your business when the wall next door catches fire." Horace.

By Aaron Singer         May, 2002

It is bad enough to learn that your property is contaminated, now you may have to notify your neighbour of the contamination if it appears likely that the contaminants have migrated to their property. On February 4, 2002 amendments to the British Columbia Contaminated Sites Regulation came into effect. Among the amendments are new Sections 57 and 60.1., both of which place an obligation on responsible persons to notify the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and the owner of neighbouring lands if substances are migrating or likely migrating onto the neighbouring lands causing or likely causing, contamination. Under Section 57, the obligation to notify is triggered when the migration or likely migration of contaminants is discovered during the course of an independent remediation and under Section 60.1 when the discovery is made during a site investigation.

The obligation to notify is on "responsible persons" which includes current and previous owners and operators, persons who have transported or produced substances and have disposed of them at the site, and certain other classes of persons designated by regulation. Failure to comply with the new notification provisions is an offence under the Waste Management Act punishable by a fine and possibly imprisonment.

If you have knowledge of contaminants migrating or likely migrating from a property in British Columbia onto neighbouring lands, we recommend that you immediately contact your legal counsel to determine whether you have an obligation to notify under the new amendment provisions.

For more general information, please visit the Contaminated Sites Website of the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection.

If you require assistance in determining your obligations under the new notification requirements, please contact Aaron Singer.


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