Contaminated Sites

An image of remediation of a firing range berm at Bowden Institution in Innisfail, Alberta.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. As one of the biggest federal departments in terms of land area (over 6,000 hectares), it is important for CSC to be a government leader in conservation and sustainable land management practices.

Some of the historic activities over the last century and a half at CSC's penitentiaries have left a legacy of contamination on some of our properties. The sources of the contamination are typically related to the storage of coal, petroleum products, the improper disposal of waste and the institutions' heating plants. At the time that these contaminations occurred, the environmental impacts of these actions were not well understood.

As part of our commitment to sustainable development and environmental protection, CSC actively identifies any land it owns that may be contaminated, assesses the environmental impact it has, and cleans up and manages it on a priority basis. It’s all part of the 10-step federal contaminated site management process.

Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan

CSC participates in the Treasury Board of Canada’s Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan. This action plan is a long-term, cost-shared program that provides funding and expert knowledge to all federal departments, agencies and Crown Corporations. The overall goal is to address the risks that these sites pose to human health and the environment.

Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory

The Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory is a database of all known contaminated sites that the Government of Canada is responsible for. It also includes sites that are investigated to determine whether they have contamination from historical use. All of the contaminated sites on CSC property are included as a part of this federal inventory.

Contaminated Sites Management at CSC

Suspected contaminated sites on CSC property undergo a series of Environmental Site Assessments, which is part of the 10-step federal contaminated site management process.

The 10-step process is used to determine whether the contamination poses an immediate or long-term risk to human health or the environment. The 10 steps include field sampling and laboratory analysis to determine the type and level of contamination.