Ontario releases proposed excess soil and brownfield amendments

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Excess Soil Image
The Ontario government announced it plans to introduce changes to the management of excess construction soil and brownfields redevelopment. Photo credit: AdobeStock.

On May 1, 2019, the Ontario government announced it plans to introduce changes to the management of excess construction soil and brownfields redevelopment.

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) said the changes will make it safer and easier for more excess soil to be reused locally and properly by clarifying rules for managing and transporting excess soil and ensuring healthy soil is not sent to landfills.

Each year, an estimated 26 million cubic metres of construction soil must be managed in Ontario, which is enough to fill Toronto’s Rogers Centre 16 times.

The MECP also said that these changes will penalize those who dump soil illegally by removing the economic benefits of breaking environmental laws, such as illegal dumping. The Ontario government also plans to modernize the process to seize vehicle license plates, in order to hold polluters accountable.

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“Excess soil is a growing concern for communities, developers and our environment,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “When improperly managed, excess soil can negatively affect ground water quality, farmland and other sensitive areas. Lack of clarity around the rules has also resulted in sending healthy soil to landfills. Our proposed changes will help ensure better environmental protection and ensure those who don’t follow the rules are held responsible.”

The proposed changes posted on the Environmental Registry include:

  • Clarifying rules associated with the reuse and management of excess soil to help ensure environmental protection and limit the amount of soil being sent to landfills. This would also reduce soil management costs for industry.
  • Removing unnecessary barriers to redevelop and revitalize vacant lands and put them back to good use, while maintaining human health and environmental protection.
  • Strengthening compliance and enforcement measures against polluters by imposing administrative penalties and modernizing the process to seize vehicle plates for environmental infractions.
Upcoming Brownfields and Excess Soils Training Course

Participate in the first discussion on the excess soil changes at the CANECT Environmental Training and Due Diligence Event in Vaughan, Ontario.

On May 7th, the course “Brownfields Regulation and Compliance: What’s new for 2019” will discuss what changed and what stayed the same. Hear and engage with expert panelists and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) speakers. Click here to learn more and register to attend.

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