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Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment – Rossland, BC

Steer Environmental conducted a human health and ecological risk assessment of metals (antimony, arsenic, copper, lead, tin, zinc) and PAHs (phenanthrene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(a)pyrene) in soil for a multi-unit residential retirement facility property in Rossland, BC. The objectives of the HHERA were to estimate the contaminant-related risks to human health or the environment, to develop remediation or risk management alternatives to reduce risks to acceptable levels, and to facilitate financing for building upgrades.

The human health assessment evaluated exposures by site residents, construction workers and utility workers. Risk estimates for residents due to exposures to arsenic in soil were found to exceed the CSR risk-based standards indicating an unacceptable risk. Risks to utility workers were also found to be unacceptable due to soil exposures. Risk controls recommended to mitigate the unacceptable risks to residents included capping unpaved surface soils with clean fill of sufficient thickness, maintaining crack-free paved surfaces, and ensuring site produce gardens are contained within raised beds. Health and safety planning was recommended to mitigate risks to utility workers prior to on-Site earthworks.

The ecological risk assessment evaluated contaminant exposures by plants, soil invertebrates, birds, and small mammals. Risks to invertebrate and plant communities and populations of birds and mammals were found to be low.

The risk controls described above have since been implemented and financing for building upgrades secured.