Environmental Site Assessments in Western Canada

Site assessments identify existing and potential site contamination through the evaluation and reporting of existing information collected through a records review, site inspection, and interview. The varying degrees of this assessment are determined in two phases:

Phase 1 ESA Quote

Phase I is to identify any potential liabilities and may be a basis for further investigation and is the base step for remediation (Canadian Standards Association Z768, Phase I Environmental Site Assessment). For our Upstream Oil & Gas clients, we ensure this phase complies with Alberta Environment 2001 ESA guideline for Upstream Oil and Gas and/or BC’s Water Lands and Parks.

Phase 2 ESA Quote

Phase II is a more thorough investigation following CSA Z769 standard (or other applicable provincial standards). Our team will collect samples of soil and/or groundwater to analyze for various contaminants, the most frequent being petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals, pesticides, and solvents.

Leveraging the extensive experience of our staff, we can conduct risk management assessments to help evaluate and predict the severity of existing or potential future impacts on site. Every assessment involves identifying every contaminate on-site, its location, and the extent of the contamination. We will also provide an estimate of the size and likelihood of the potential risks and hazards, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of measures proposed to manage the contamination.

With offices in Edmonton, Calgary, and Regina, we are here to provide expert environmental consulting services tailored to your needs. Contact us today for a detailed quote.

Physical & Contaminant Hydrology/

Using science-based techniques our team of hydrogeologists, geotechnical, civil, and environmental engineers will analyze the occurrence, distribution, and movement of contaminants in water both on and below the earth’s surface. 


  • Identification and prediction of subsequent impact from contaminant(s)

  • Analysis and modeling of contaminant fate and transport through the zones

  • Utilizing advanced numerical and analytical computer models for plume delineation

  • Transport and plume delineation for Non-Aqueous Liquids (LNAPLS and DNAPLS)

  • Use of innovative technologies for subsurface remediation

  • Water quality monitoring and contaminant source zone delineation

  • Analysis of seepage through dams and other embankment structures utilizing advanced numerical models (Sigma/Slope/ and Seep/W)

Upstream Oil and Gas Services in Alberta

We are in full compliance with the standards of ISNetworld, AVETTA, and Comply Works, Nichols services include pre and post-disturbance assessments, environmental field reports, site-specific liability assessments, drilling waste management, injection and disposal well requirements, oilfield waste management requirements, spill response, site assessment, site remediation, and reclamation.

Nichols has a vast and comprehensive knowledge of Alberta Environment’s 2010 Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated Facilities, as well as valuable experience in navigating the various environmental management directives required by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). This ultimately adds value and provides benefit to our clients’ projects, making Nichols an invaluable asset to your project needs.

Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) Removal

We provide comprehensive petroleum tank removal services for both our upstream and downstream clients. Our team is familiar with all aspects of above and underground storage tanks (ASTs/USTs) and will work with you to provide the following services during PST removal projects:

  • Phase I and Phase II ESAs
  • Correspondence with the proper regulatory agencies
  • Budgeting and tendering of UST and AST removal projects
  • The supervision and retaining of contractors for the work
  • Confirmatory and closure (soil and groundwater) sampling
  • Ongoing soil and groundwater monitoring
  • Environmental and human health risk assessments
  • Design, monitoring, and closure sampling of soil landfarming sites

Site Remediation and Reclamation​

Using in situ remedial technology to reduce the concentration of contaminants in vadose (unsaturated) soil zones, groundwater, and soil mass by using varying methods (depending on the saturation and contaminants).

Soil Vapour

Soil Vapour Extraction (SVE): Applying a vacuum to the vadose (unsaturated) soil zone impacted by the contaminates. This technology allows for the control of airflow to remove the volatile compounds from the soil and will often promote in situ biological degradation of less-volatile compounds or residuals. Using vertical or horizontal wells above the water table, a vacuum can be applied to the well to pull the vapours out of the ground. Location-dependent, the exhaust air may require treatment to eliminate harm to the public or the environment. This method could potentially take years, based on varying factors. 

Air Sparging

Air Sparging: Used to reduce the concentration of contaminants in groundwater. Three separate processes are used in an air sparge system: 

  1. Phase transfer from dissolved to vapour phase (occurring in the saturated zone) 
  2. Phase transfer from absorbed to vapour phase (occurring in the capillary fringe and unsaturated zone) 
  3. Aerobic biodegradation of the containment in both areas 
Multi Phase Extraction MPE

Multi-Phase Extraction (MPE): Reduces the concentration in the groundwater and soil mass. The vacuum extraction well is implemented in the zone of the contaminated soils and groundwater, and removal occurs from above, below, and throughout the groundwater. As the contaminated material is removed, the water table drops, exposing the contaminated soil in the unsaturated zone. Once the liquid and vapour phase contaminants are drawn, the phases can be separated and treated accordingly.

Istar TM

Chemical Injection/Oxidation Programs: The istarTM technology is our patent-pending delivery system for injecting various inoculants into the soil and groundwater. This treatment is a great alternative for areas that are inaccessible or complex and/or have expensive containment problems. It can be used as a stand-alone treatment program, or to augment other programs. It is a self-contained trailer-mounted mobile unit consisting of pumps, compressors, and stainless-steel injection lances.

Excavation and Disposal

Excavation and Disposal: Designed to physically remove the contaminant source and materials from the subsurface. Using equipment such as a backhoe, the contaminated soil is removed from the ground and treated off-site so it may be used as fill elsewhere or disposed of at a landfill that can handle the contaminant in question. This method is considered a basic remediation tool, but Nichols has shown that excavation of contaminated material is an efficient and cost-effective option for the clean-up of contaminated sites.


Bio-Remediation: An in situ or ex situ remedial technology in which enhancements to the natural processes of the environment speed up the degradation of contaminants. These processes destroy harmful chemicals or convert them into harmless ones, such as water and carbon dioxide. Natural microbes are often able to degrade certain contaminants through digestive processes. To do this efficiently, proper conditions in the subsurface are required; where natural conditions are not ideal, enhancements can be made. We utilize our istarTM technology to facilitate the injection of the inoculants, in order to aid the process and achieve a favourable outcome.

Land Farming

Landfarming: Another cost-effective and simple method for the remediation of VOC-impacted soils. Tilling and aerating the impacted soils, the contaminants are evaporated out of the soil mass until they are below the applicable guidelines.

UAV/Drone Deployment

Nichols uses drones to enhance project delivery for our clients, including those in the agricultural, mining, and environmental and civil engineering sectors. Data acquired using drones (UAVs) can aid in a multitude of different environmental monitoring and assessment projects, including:

  • Large property environmental site assessments (ESAs);
  • Stormwater management;
  • Remediation monitoring;
  • Spill assessments, and receptor identification;
  • Monitoring earthwork progress; and
  • Updated aerial photographs of facilities. 

UAVs can reach difficult and sensitive terrains in a non-invasive manner. Advantages of UAVs include:

  • Providing a more complete picture of your site, reducing the number of hours it would take if you were to only gather the intel on the ground;
  • UAV photography is more economical for larger properties and remote areas;
  • Providing real-time photography or video of a spill on a site; and
  • Allowing an environmental professional to access more of the site in a shorter time, with less hazard and/or potential exposure.

We’ve adopted this technology to add value to our projects and clients. This service is always completed in addition to the on-site inspection.

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