Contaminated Land and Buildings Law

Contaminated land refers to land and buildings impacted by contaminants in soil, groundwater and vapour, and by the presence of hazardous building materials and designated substances. These contaminants may include degreasing solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons and metals, plus new and emerging contaminants such as PFAS and PFOS, hazardous materials, and designated substances. Contaminated land includes brownfields.

Contamination is often the result of historic industrial and commercial uses, or environmental accidents and spills, either on-site, adjacent to, or nearby. Contamination may also derive from abandoned oil and gas wells and mothballed industrial operations.

While managing contamination by cleaning up or risk assessing can be costly and time-consuming, it can also yield benefits by facilitating redevelopment (e.g. brownfield redevelopment), reinstating property value, and facilitating financing, insurance, leases, purchases and sales. Our lawyers help clients navigate the myriad of challenges associated with addressing contamination, and with buying, selling, mortgaging, developing, and insuring contaminated land or formerly contaminated land.

Contaminated land expertise

Managing risks and liabilities

At Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers, our lawyers work to find practical solutions to help clients manage contaminated land risks and liabilities, to redevelop contaminated sites, to lease, buy, and sell contaminated land, and allocate liability for clean-up and loss of property value. Our contaminated land clients include industries, developers, municipalities, REITs, portfolio owners, individual property owners and their property managers, tenants, and former owners and tenants. Sellers and buyers and their lawyers often retain our firm to provide our environmental expertise with pre-purchase environmental due diligence in corporate commercial and real estate transactions, as well as in complex contaminated land litigation.

Land use compatibility and nuisances

The principle of land use compatibility and related guidelines govern land use planning and seek to mitigate land use conflicts and nuisances. Our lawyers work with environmental and planning consultants, commercial and real estate lawyers, industry and governments, and experts in odour, noise, light, vibration and other nuisances to find practical solutions to facilitate land use compatibility, and to resolve conflicts between competing land uses.

Hazardous materials and designated substances

Discovering asbestos, mould, mercury, lead paint, or other hazardous materials and designated substances can quickly derail a building renovation or demolition, purchase and sale transaction, lease transaction, and financing. Our environmental lawyers work with clients and technical consultants to determine the extent of our client’s responsibility for managing hazardous materials and designated substances at client properties, and to realign whatever transaction may be off track.

Contact our environmental lawyers today

Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers has offices in Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, and Yellowknife. Our lawyers are called to the Bar in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Ontario.

To speak with an environmental lawyer, contact us today.