Management of Excess Soils in Ontario: Official Changes Begin in 2020

Posted by on Dec 20, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

As anticipated, management of excess soils in Ontario has officially been changed.  On December 4, 2019, the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP) filed the On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation.  This includes associated changes to Ontario’s Record of Site Condition and Waste Management Regulation.

Statement from the MECP

In the official release from the MECP Minister, Jeff Yurek states, “As Ontario’s population continues to grow, we need to ensure our valuable resources and prime land don’t go to waste…These changes will remove barriers for communities, developers and property owners to clean up and develop vacant lands and put them back into productive use.”

With changes to the excess soils rules in Ontario, it is hoped that underutilized lands will be put back into productive use.

Background on Excess Soils Management

The issue of excess soils management has been a concern for many years.  Previous attempts to effectively establish management practices have not worked well.

One of the concerns in years past has been the disposal of “impacted soils” that later resulted in unacceptable exposure (human health and the environment).

The other issue is the excessive costs to dispose all excavated soils rather than reuse them.  This, too, has an environmental cost as it is energy intensive to move large volumes of soil from a site to landfill (or elsewhere).

According to the MECP, about 25 million cubic metres of excess construction soil is generated every year.  And moving these soils adds costs to site developments (adding as much as 14% to construction costs).

Phased In Schedule

The new excess soils regulations will be phased in according the following:

  • Brownfields redevelopment amendments:  upon filing
  • Excess soil provisions related to more-flexible reuse rules, waste designation and approvals, and the new excess soil standards:  July 2020
  • Sound soil management planning including sampling, tracking, and registration; requirement to carry a hauling record:  January 2022
  • Restrictions on landfilling:  January 2025.

One of the stated reasons for delaying the restrictions on landfilling is to allow time to find alternate ways to manage the soils.

If you care to take a deeper dive, use the links below to read the supporting documents.

Finally, we’ll be discussing this (as well as Permit to Take Water information) at the Windsor Construction Association meeting on January 8, 2020.  Contact me if you would like additional information.  If you are reading this after the presentation date but would like information on what we presented, we can share that with you as well. You can reach me at 519-979-7300, Ext 114.

Principled Foundation | Thoughtful Advice | Smart Solutions