On December 4th, 2019 the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) announced that they finalized and are implementing the new regulatory changes related to the management of excess construction soil and redevelopment of brownfield sites.
The goal of the new regulation is to reduce soil management costs and promote brownfields redevelopment, while protecting human health and the environment. The new regulation will take effect on July 1, 2020.
[Amendment:] There is a temporarily delay in the implementation of the first phase of requirements under the new Excess Soil Regulation by six months, from July 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021. This delay will give developers and municipalities more time to gradually implement the new regulation while prioritizing their COVID-19 response. Amendment to O. Reg. 153/04 to exempt temporary health or residential facilities, such as temporary hospitals or shelters, from needing a Record of Site Condition (RSC) before being established in response to an emergency. This amendment would remain in place and apply to any future emergencies.
Below is a summary and timeline for the regulations to take effect:
Time: On filing
- Limited additional sampling to delineate contaminants for Risk Assessment sites
- Flexibility for elevated parameters in specific circumstances e.g. natural background, salt impacted soil, etc.
- Removing the requirement for a RSC for specific low risk developments
Reuse Rules and Waste Clarification
Time: July 1, 2020
- Clear reuse rules, excess soil reuse standards and site-specific standards, e.g. Beneficial Reuse Assessment Tool (BRAT)
- Clear waste designation
- Reduced waste approvals for low risk soil management activities
Excess Soil Planning Requirements
Time: January 1, 2022 – January 1, 2025
- For larger or riskier generating project (some exemptions)
- Assessment of past uses, and if required sampling and characterization, destination assessment report
- Tracking, registration, hauling record
- Larger reuse site registration
- Restrict the deposit of clean soil at landfill sites, unless the soil is needed for cover or purposes beneficial to the functioning of the landfill
Time: January 1, 2021 – January 2, 2026
- To allow time for business practices to adapt to and to provide necessary supporting guidance and outreach
Overall these new rules will result in a reduction in construction costs making it easier and safer to reuse excess soils produced during construction. This will enhance Ontario’s housing supply while providing greater certainty of environmental protection through more flexible, risk-based rules and soil reuse standards. In the past some excess soils were unnecessarily considered as waste but the new regulatory framework will reduce “waste stigma” by clarifying when excess soil would be not be considered a waste.
Developers will see reduced regulatory burden as waste-related approvals are replaced with regulatory rules for low-risk soil management activities, such as soil hauling, low-risk processing, and temporary storage. A new online registry for larger and riskier movements will provide greater transparency and accountability for clients managing excess soil, such as generators, haulers and receivers, which will assist in addressing concerns about illegal relocation of soil. Bigger reuse sites will also be required to register. Finally, the issue of loss of landfill capacity will be partially solved by redirecting the deposit of soils away from landfills and towards beneficial reuses.
Additional information can be found here.
McIntosh Perry’s environmental engineering department can assist clients with “excess soils” issues at their sites. We have a number of qualified persons and we have the experience in offices to help!
Dan Arnott – Geo-Environmental Engineer, Environmental