Dear Homeowner(s) and Tenant(s):

This notice is mailed annually to homeowners and tenants in your neighbourhood (see the location map below) to remind you that there may be contaminants of health concern in the soil on your property, and to provide suggested precautions you can take to avoid unnecessary exposure. If you are receiving this notice, your property is within the footprint of a former landfill.

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change first became aware in the 1990s that an area of Vanier had homes built on former landfill sites that operated between 1900 and 1945. Soil tests on some of the properties in this area showed elevated levels of metals, including lead and mercury, above Ministry guidelines. These contaminants are likely associated with the former landfilling activities.

The contaminants on each property are distributed differently, depending on what happened during property development. There is a lot of variability in exactly where the contaminants are found, including at what depth in the soil, and at what concentration. For example, some contaminants are deeper in the ground and others are at the surface.

Everyone is exposed to small amounts of contaminants through air, soil, household dust, food and drinking water. You should be aware that since the metal contamination identified in your neighbourhood resides in the soil, direct contact with, or disturbance of the soil is required to pose a potential health hazard. Activities that do not involve digging in the soil are unlikely to pose a health risk.

Residents within the zone identified on the map below shouldbe aware that some activities that involve repeated, direct contact with the soil could elevate the risk of exposure to contaminants.

These activities include:

Eating large quantities of vegetables, especially root crops (such as carrots) grown in this soil for many years;

  • Children who play on the soil and repeatedly consume small amounts of the soil and put their hands or objects in their mouths; and

  • Working in the soil and not washing your hands before eating.

    In order to minimize health risks associated with these soil contaminants, we recommend you take the following precautions:

  • Prepare your raised beds or planter boxes with a soil mix obtained from a garden center and ensure that the produce you grow does not come in contact with the soil currently on your property.

  • Build sandboxes with a wood or plastic bottom and use clean sand from a local supplier.

  • Cover all bare patches of soil on your property. Grass, or hard surfaces, such as paving stones, keep dust and dirt from being tracked into your home and prevent small children from coming in contact with the bare soil.

  • Wash all produce and your hands under running water after spending time in your yard and before preparing a meal.

  • Dispose of any excavated soil from your property at a licensed landfill facility.

    For additional information about the reports commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and/or areas of suspected contamination, or to obtain information on how to dispose of soil excavated from your property, please contact the EnvironmentalRemediation Unit via the City’s 24- Hour Line at 3-1-1, or via email at .

    For health concerns, please contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 or via email at .

    Staff will respond to all calls/inquiries made after hours on the nextbusiness day.

    Accessible formats and communication supports are available upon request.

Map of former landfills and Environmental Risk Management Area in Vanier.

Yellow shading: footprint of historic Landfill Sites 

Red shading: Environmental Risk Management Area