The Federal Interim Groundwater Quality Guidelines
The Federal Interim Groundwater Quality Guidelines was developed by federal authorities to facilitate the assessment, remediation and risk management of federal contaminated sites which are under the funding of the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP). The guidelines are applicable in Canada until the time when groundwater guidelines will be developed. FCSAP was established to identify contaminated sites and the extent of the contamination. Upon identification of such sites, funding is made to avert human and environmental risks. Evaluation of federal contaminated sites is conducted using the Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines (CEQG), which were created by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). CEQG establishes the levels which are not harmful to the environment and human health.
The Federal Interim Groundwater Quality Guidelines covers the transport of groundwater to the surface, soil organism contact with groundwater, use of groundwater for irrigation and watering livestock, inhalation of contaminant vapours, and groundwater ingestion by wildlife. The guidelines are divided into Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 regulations provide generic numerical guidelines which are directly applicable to commercial, industrial, residential and agricultural land uses. Tier 2 regulations address specific site conditions. Factors considered during the development of these guidelines are soil type assessment, water and land use assessment, and distance from surface water bodies.
Therefore, the Federal Interim Groundwater Quality Guidelines serves to protect human health and the environment from groundwater contamination. It provides procedures which govern various groundwater uses to minimize the impact it has on the environment and human health. The guidelines lay the foundation for the development of groundwater regulations in Canada. Additionally, the Federal Interim Groundwater Quality Guidelines supplements other guidelines such as Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, the Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life, and Canadian Sediment Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life.
A quick reference source for Canadian Standards and Guidelines is available on the ESdat.net website.