What is Atlantic RBCA?

Atlantic Risk-Based Corrective Action (Atlantic RBCA – often referred to as ‘Rebecca’) is a process to assess and manage the remediation and redevelopment of sites impacted by petroleum hydrocarbons and other contaminants. Centred around risk to human health and the environment, Atlantic RBCA is specific to Atlantic Canada’s needs and equals or exceeds Canada-wide Standards (CWS) developed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). It considers typical site conditions for four common land uses in Atlantic Canada: agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial sites.

Atlantic RBCA is based on two main components:

  1. the regulatory-endorsed philosophy of risk assessment, risk management, and a tiered approach to remediation; and
  2. a technical tool kit which includes modeling and risk characterization software, supporting technical documentation, and applicable provincial legislation, regulations, and policy guidance.

Atlantic RBCA is based on the scientific standards, principles, and processes developed by US environmental professionals and ASTM International (the American equivalent to the Canadian Standards Association). It was adapted by the Atlantic Partnership In Risk-Based Corrective Action Implementation (Atlantic PIRI), a collaborative working group of petroleum industry, regional environmental consultants, and government representatives, to address the specific environmental conditions and requirements of Atlantic Canada. This group oversees the implementation of Atlantic RBCA in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

While each province maintains its own environmental protection regulations, using the Atlantic RBCA process ensures a consistent, science-based approach for the management and remediation of impacted sites.

What are the Benefits of Atlantic RBCA?

The release of petroleum products or other contaminants into the environment diminishes soil, air, and water quality; puts public health and safety at risk; and generates short- and long-term economic consequences. Effective management of impacted sites is, therefore, a major concern for property owners, communities, banks, legal firms, real estate agencies, insurance and petroleum companies, and government agencies.

In addition to providing consistent, effective, and achievable standards to protect people and the environment, Atlantic RBCA

  • Promotes site remediation and redevelopment throughout Atlantic Canada;
  • Provides a harmonized approach to regulatory and legislative processes in Atlantic Canada; and
  • Ensures equivalent or better protection than the CCME Canada-wide Standards for petroleum hydrocarbons in soil for specific Atlantic Canada applications.

Using Atlantic RBCA

When contamination is discovered, the provincial government department responsible for protection of the environment must be immediately contacted. After the type of contamination is identified, environmental professionals apply the Atlantic RBCA process (within the regulatory framework of the respective province) to determine the seriousness of the problem, assess risk, and establish a remediation plan. Provincial government staff will review the remediation plan to ensure it meets provincial requirements.