Imperial Oil and the province have reached a deal to clean up a neighbourhood contaminated with lead and hydrocarbons, with the company paying to remove soil on about 20 properties.

The top 30 centimetres of soil on properties along the edge of Lynnview Ridge will be removed, Alberta Environment's Jay Litke says. Fourteen families still live on those properties and want to remain.

Imperial Oil either owns, or is negotiating to buy, the homes on the other side of the street from the ridge. The company will decide what it wants to do with the land before it determines what clean up will be undertaken at those properties.

Litke says Imperial Oil will remove any fences, decks, sidewalks or any other structures that are in the way.

"Then a sampling program will be undertaken where drill rigs will come onto the private properties and, on a three-metre grid, we will drill down to a 1.5-metre depth and we will sample the soil for lead," Litke said.

Any soil with lead levels above 140 parts per million must be removed.

Imperial Oil operated a refinery in the southeast Calgary neighbourhood until the 1970s. Tests show the soil is contaminated with lead and benzene.

With the deal, the Environment department is withdrawing clean-up orders it issued to Imperial in 2003. The clean up is expected to begin this summer, but depends on the ability to get civic permits and permission to access any private property.

An estimated cost of the clean-up program hasn't been released.