Small-Scale Sites/Property Radiological Survey

The Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) is conducting a radiological survey of every property in the urban area and a select few in the rural area to confirm which smaller properties have historic low-level radioactive waste and require remediation.

The testing of residential properties, and removal of historic low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) is coordinated as part of Small-Scale Sites for the Port Hope Project. Residents regularly have questions about the characterization process and next steps for their properties as testing is completed or if low-level radioactive waste is found. 

Small-Scale Sites: From Consent Package to Compliance Letter is a straight forward graphic that was created to easily demonstrate the steps in the characterization, design, and remediation and restoration process for each residential property.

Click on the chart to open the interactive pdf then hover your mouse over the boxes to get more information about the overall process.

SSS_Fact Sheet_PRS and Remediation Process INTERACTIVE_2021

SSS Design Welcome package coverPlease also see the Small-Scale Sites information booklet “Cleaning up residences and privately owned properties” for more detailed information.

To obtain information on a specific property please contact us.




What is the Property Radiological Survey?

The PHAI Property Radiological Survey will test all Ward 1 and a few Ward 2 Port Hope properties for the presence of historic low-level radioactive waste. The testing of approximately 4,800 public and private properties began in 2012 and is expected to be completed in 2019.

Click here for current work of the Property Radiological Survey.

What is the purpose of the survey?

The radiological testing will determine which properties have historic low-level radioactive waste and will require remediation. About 85 per cent of properties are not expected to require any cleanup. These property owners will receive a Compliance Letter confirming that the property meets PHAI Clean-up Criteria. For properties requiring remediation, the survey will permit the PHAI to plan the work on a neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood basis. Once a property has been cleaned up, the owner will receive a Compliance Letter.

The Property Radiological Survey is being undertaken in five campaigns. Removal of waste will begin when the long-term waste management facility is ready to receive waste, expected to be in 2018.

What does the survey involve?

The first step is completion of a Property Owner Access Consent Form to permit the PHAI to conduct the investigative work at the property. The property owner must sign and return this consent form to the PHAI so appointments to visit the property can be scheduled.

For a copy of the Property Owner Access Consent Form click here. 

For a copy of the Property Radiological Survey Scheduling Form click here.

For each property, five visits will be required to complete the necessary work. Testing will be done for interior radon and exterior and interior gamma radiation. Soil samples will also be taken.

The first part of the survey is radon monitoring. During the initial visit, a member of the PHAI survey team and the property owner will complete a short checklist noting physical characteristics of the property such as the location of underground sprinkler systems, buried electrical sources and sewer lines. An “Alpha-Track” monitor will be placed in the basement and left for six months to collect radon data over two seasons. The results will be used to determine how many exterior boreholes will be drilled to collect soil samples from the property. The data from the testing also provides a reliable picture of the annual radon levels in your home.

For more information on radon monitoring, click here.

The second part of the testing involves exterior and interior gamma radiation surveys and soil sampling. The PHAI survey team will use sophisticated equipment to take outdoor gamma radiation readings. They will also gather soil samples using borehole sampling equipment. During the same visit, a specialist technician will take indoor gamma radiation readings.

For a Resident's Guide to the Property Radiological Survey, click here.

As a security measure, every property will be assigned a unique Site Identification Number that will appear on a personally addressed letter to the owner. This number will be used by the PHAI and survey team when scheduling appointments and visiting the property.

How will property owners know when their property will be surveyed?

Owners  will receive a personally addressed Access Consent and Information package well in advance of their property being surveyed. Owners will be contacted by phone to schedule visits to the property.

Will owners be provided with results?

The PHAI will notify property owners of the results after all the testing required for the property is completed and a final report has been produced. The results will be sent as either a Compliance Letter or, for properties where a cleanup may be necessary, as a notification of results. Property owners may request a full copy of the final report from the PHAI.

Disclosure of Non-Radioactive Contaminants
in Port Hope

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is undertaking the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) for the cleanup and safe management of historic low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) in the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington. CNL is committed to providing timely and effective information to residents of the two municipalities and all members of the public.

Contractors working on behalf of CNL to undertake the radiological survey of properties in Port Hope occasionally identify the presence of actual or potential contaminants that are not part of LLRW.

CNL informs Port Hope residents on the results of these surveys, both radiological and non-radiological, once the nature of the contaminants has been verified through independent laboratory analysis. Property owners may have access to the detailed reports and are encouraged to discuss the results and raise any questions and concerns they may have with CNL staff. 

The PHAI is a very large and complex project with multi-test radiological surveys of approximately 4,800 properties in Port Hope and is being executed with care. 

If any contaminants not related to LLRW are found at higher concentrations than the standard, where one exists, CNL notifies the Municipality of Port Hope and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in addition to the homeowner.

For more information on non-radiological soil contamination, the following provincial organization can be contacted: 

  • The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks at 1.800.565.4923. 


For more details on radiological findings, please contact CNL at 905.885.0291 or

How many homes will require cleanup?

It is anticipated that about 15 per cent of properties will need some degree of cleanup. This could range from a small amount of contaminated soil to a more extensive exterior cleanup or the removal of contaminated building materials from inside a house. Owners of properties requiring cleanup and restoration will be asked to sign a new access consent form before this work begins.

How will I know when my property is clean?

Properties contaminated with historic low-level radioactive waste will be cleaned up to permit full, unrestricted uses — from vegetable gardens to play areas.  After contaminated soil has been removed from a property, soil samples will be analyzed to ensure that PHAI Clean-up Criteria have been met, after which the property will be restored as closely as possible to its original condition, including replanting gardens and replacing  structures if necessary. A Compliance Letter will be issued stating that the property meets PHAI Clean-up Criteria, there will be no need for further investigations and that a Radiological Status Letter will no longer be required when the owner sells the property.

November 29, 2017