Contaminated lands are prevalent throughout urban and rural Ontario. Types of contamination can include hydrocarbons (e.g. oil, gasoline), heavy metals (e.g. nickel), pesticides, animal wastes, and road salt. Legal implications of this contamination is driven by statutory, contractual, and common law obligations.
Statutory considerations include the Ontario Environmental Protection Act's provisions related to brownfields and records of site condition (RSC). Records of site condition can help avoid orders for action under the Act. The "duty to report" obligations and potential application to innocent third party landowners are other important elements of Ontario's statutory regime.
Contractual considerations include obligations and waivers provided in any agreement of purchase or sale of contaminated lands. Other transactional considerations can include remediation obligations, indemnities, waivers or limitations of liability, and liability for third party damage.
Common law liabilities can flow from a number of different torts. Actions can typically be established in negligence, nuisance, strict liability, and/or trespass. As well, contamination can often leach into adjacent waterways and impact downstream riparian rights.
Graystone Environmental acts for both purchasers and vendors in the sale of contaminated properties. Roxie has also provided legal advice to real estate lawyers regarding their contaminated files. The technical nature of soil and water contamination requires an understanding of the soil mechanics, hydrology, and nature of various contaminants in order to properly understand expert evidence provide the most effective legal counsel to clients impacted by contamination.