What is a Record of Site Condition (RSC)?
A Record of Site Condition (RSC) is an investigation filed with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Park (MECP) that establishes the environmental condition of a contaminated property at a particular point in time. RSC’s apply to vacant or underutilized properties where past industrial or commercial activities may have left contamination (chemical pollution) behind (referred to in Ontario as Brownfields).
When is a Record of Site Condition Required?
The primary trigger for an RSC to be filed is when Brownfield property is to be redeveloped for more sensitive use. In such cases, the law requires that property owners and redevelopers meet set requirements for:
- assessing the environmental condition of a property through environmental site assessments;
- ensuring that the site meets the applicable site condition standards or standards specified in a risk assessment; and
- submitting a record of site condition for filing in Ontario’s Environmental Site Registry
Recently, it has become increasingly common for stakeholders such as financial institutions to request an RSC which reduces potential liability for such stakeholders, including municipalities that are responsible for approval of development applications and other groups.
The filing of an RSC with the MECP is preceded by one (1) or more stages of site assessment including a Phase One Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) (more comprehensive by regulation than a typical ASTM Phase One), a Phase Two ESA followed by remediation and/or a risk assessment as applicable. The essential components required for each of these stages of work are comprehensively set out in O.Reg 153/04 and various other related guideline documents.
Who is Qualified to Conduct a Record of Site Condition?
An RSC must be conducted by a qualified person (QP) as defined under Ontario Regulation 153/04 (O.Reg. 153/04), as amended. To conduct and supervise environmental site assessments under O.Reg. 153/04, a QP must hold either:
- A certificate of registration under the Professional Geoscientists Act, 2000 and be a practicing member, temporary member or limited member of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario; or
- A license, limited license, or temporary license under the Professional Engineers Act.
The QP must certify that a property meets the applicable site condition standards or a property specific standard derived from a site-specific risk assessment (SSRA) for the intended land use.
Based on VTX’s experience, gaining MECP approval for an RSC can take between four (4) months to >2 years depending on the complexity of the ESA findings, especially if Remediation/Risk Assessment is performed. Once the environmental assessments and related components of work are completed, the RSC is submitted to the MECP. Following MECP approval, the RSC is filed (refer to flow diagram, below).
Overview of the Record of Site Condition Process
Have questions about the RSC process?
For technical support and/or more information regarding Ontario’s RSC process, please contact our Environmental Experts: Michael Cugino, P.Geo., QPESA, P.Geol. or Christopher Farias Ph.D., MRACI C Chem.
- Guide for Completing Phase Two Environmental Site Assessments under Ontario Regulation 153/04 (MECP)
- Brownfields: Answers to Technical Questions (MECP)
- Submitting Records of Site Condition – Getting it Right the First Time (MECP)
- A Guide on Site Assessment, the Cleanup of Brownfield Sites and the Filing of Records of Site Condition (MECP)
- Soil, Ground Water and Sediment Standards for Use Under Part XV.1 of the Environmental Protection Act
Author: Michael Cugino