Site Assessments

Environmental Site Investigations (ESA)

When undertaking a commercial property development or legal transfer of land titles in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, or anywhere in British Columbia, it is essential to understand all potential environmental risks involved. While a thorough Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) is necessary to protect you from unforeseen environmental liabilities, the process can at times be somewhat daunting.

ACM Environmental’s highly trained professionals adhere to all Provincial and Federal regulations and will guide you through the requirements for site investigations put in place by the Ministry of Environment. Our reports are used to provide critical information to property owners, potential buyers, financial institutions, mortgage brokers and various levels of government.

Such environmental site investigations are performed in two stages, Stage I and Stage II PSI’s(sometimes referred to as Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments). If a Stage I Preliminary Site Investigation reveals any possible concerns, a Stage II Preliminary Site Investigation will then be performed to confirm or disprove the existence of environmental contamination.

Should contamination be confirmed, ACM Environmental will then perform a Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) to determine the full extent of the environmental impact and any associated liabilities. We offer full project management services for site remediation, as well as underground storage tank removals, when necessary.

Read on for more detailed explanations of the different stages, or contact us for more information and to set up a consultation.

(Phase I Environmental Assessment)

The very first step in evaluating the environmental risks of any property, a Stage I Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) assesses the likelihood of contamination being present. ACM Environmental follows the Canadian Standards Association Guidelines for performing such investigations, which are generally visual and historical in nature. We will:

  • Review historical records
  • Review any photographic documentation of the site condition
  • Interview individuals familiar with the site
  • Identify any areas of environmental concern
  • Analyze all data and determine a course of action
  • Produce comprehensive reporting

(Phase II Environmental Assessment)

If the results of a Stage I PSI give reason to believe there could be site contamination, a Stage II Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) will then be performed. A Stage II PSI is more in-depth and can include subsurface drilling, soil and groundwater analysis, and other environmental sampling. The goal is to discover the extent of the contamination and determine the types of contaminants involved.

ACM Environmental provides complete project management during the investigation process, guiding you throughout and answering any questions or concerns that may come up. We will collect samples and analyze the results and issue a full report of our findings, which may include:

  • Investigation to more narrowly define areas of potential environmental concern
  • Hydrogeological investigation of groundwater
  • Drilling and borehole assessment
  • Chemical Analysis
  • Soil Collection and Testing
  • Vapour sampling
  • Health and safety plans for any potential on-site hazards
  • Comprehensive reporting


Following a Stage II Site Assessment, if significant contamination is discovered or the contamination warrants additional investigation, a Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) will be required.

Detailed Site Investigations involve further exploration of environmental conditions, typically with additional boreholes to access soil and groundwater at varying levels or horizons.

ACM Environmental’s consultants are certified professionals who will design a testing methodology that fits your specific situation and needs. We will also manage the entire investigation process and supply a complete report in accordance with the BC Ministry of the Environment. If the results of the DSI show that site remediation is required, we can then create a remediation plan that adheres to all provincial regulations.

When conducting Stage I, Stage II, and Detailed Site Investigations, ACM professionals follow the latest standards and regulations for Environmental Site Assessments, including the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM), and the Ministry of Environment Contaminated Sites Regulation.