New companies come into Southern
Ontario wanting to redevelop existing
properties and that always means
In Murray’s view there are two ways
to do remediation: treat-in-place, or
what Cafferty referred to as, “in-situ”
or haul the dirt away, or what Murray
The dig-and-dump is the preferred
model as the Canadian banks that
are financing land transactions are
Plan A goes off the rails when there is pollution under an
existing building and the owner wants that building to stay.
Then you go to Plan B, which means treating in place. That
often goes off the rail as well because Canada is too cold.
“One of the most innovative, treat-in-place methods is to use
bio-remediation, the superbugs, which are injected into the
soil,” says Murray. “In Canada, the temperature is so cold for
much of the year, the superbugs won’t work.”
Plan B of Plan B is to inject reducing agents, which can be
expensive and take longer, but if you can’t cart away is the
“You can go through remediation, go through treat-in-place,
and go to the regulatory body and fool around with them for
a few years with your documents, but the fact remains unless
you dig the crap out and take it away, you will always have a
stigmatized property,” says Murray.
When Professional Report checked in with Murray, he was
just concluding a transaction that took eight years due to
contamination in the soil.
The deal involved a manufacturing structure in the western
Toronto area that had been a chemical plant since the 1930s.
Pollutants were in the ground, in the water table, and were
Two remediation programs were put into effect including dig-and-dump and treat-in-place, although there were pollutants
they couldn’t get at because it was under the floor slab.
Finally, eight years and millions of dollars later, a buyer is
found for the stigmatized property. Everything is set until at
the eleventh hour when the local community steps in and says
they want to expropriate part of the property for a road and it
needs to be cleaned to their standards.
Murray concludes, “the money that was spent on environmental
consultants, environmental lawyers, and the regulatory process,
when you look at the premium we got for the property, we
really didn’t gain anything.”
Doug Murray's Toronto property.
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