The province of Saskatchewan announced a new plan to help cities and towns clean up vacant service station sites.

Many of these locations throughout the province have sat vacant for decades because of petroleum products left behind at the sites. The province plans to use money collected from environment fines to help the clean-up efforts.

"We have about $178,000 within the fund right now. These are dollars that are collected through fines that are levied through the Environmental Protection Act,” said Minister of Environment Dustin Duncan. “We've put together an application process that municipalities can now apply for the dollars."

Service station companies are now regulated and have to buy bonds or set money aside to make sure that sites are cleaned up once they are abandoned. But for many sites dated before regulation, clean-up could take significant government resources for land reclamation.

The funding is not limited to service stations. Saskatoon has cleaned up a power plant site while Regina is planning remediation for a former rail container yard.

"We have orphaned sites that used to be gas stations. We have the rail yard property downtown. I think every municipality in the province would have properties that they want to have those lands reclamated and cleaned up. So it's a good program but I think more funding is needed,” said Regina Mayor Michael Fougere.

The initial $178,000 will be replenished as more fine revenue comes in, but according to Duncan the province will need more to cover future clean-ups.

"Right now it's sitting at less than $18,000, we expect that that fund will continue to have funds deposited into it for future clean ups,” said Duncan.

Based on a report by Wayne Mantyka