Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) is proposing to amend O. Reg. 406/19: On-Site and Excess Soil Regulation (“Excess Soil Regulation”). To make the Excess Soil Regulation more practical and focused on higher-risk movements of soil, the ministry is proposing amendments to reduce requirements applicable to low-risk projects, and to provide more flexibility when storing excess soil.

In 2019, the ministry finalized a new Excess Soil Regulation, supported by risk-based soil reuse standards, to make it easier and safer for industry to reuse more excess soil locally.  The Excess Soil Regulation is being phased in over several years.

In April 2022, to help give developers and municipalities more time to better understand their responsibilities under the regulation, we paused the implementation of the provisions that came into effect on January 1, 2022, until January 1, 2023, including provisions related to registration, sampling and analysis and tracking of excess soil. The requirements that were paused will come back into effect on January 1, 2023.

To help ensure the regulation is effective and practical, the ministry is now proposing the following amendments and changes:

  • Low-Risk Sites: To exempt low-risk projects from excess soil reuse planning requirements if excess soil is being removed from a project area at which the current or last property use was agricultural, residential, parkland or institutional. The requirements from which low-risk projects would be exempt include:
    • filing a notice in the Excess Soil Registry
    • retaining a qualified person to prepare an assessment of past uses, and if needed, a sampling and analysis plan and a soil characterization report, along with an excess soil destination assessment report
    • implementation of a tracking system.
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This exemption would not apply if the excess soil is excavated from a project area that was used as an enhanced investigation project area or a project area known by the project leader to be impacted by historical contamination.

  • Storage: Amend the Soil Rules document incorporated by reference in the regulation to allow soil storage piles to be a maximum of 10,000 cubic metres. Other soil storage rules would continue to apply, including the requirement to prevent any adverse effects.

To review the proposed amendments in more detail and to provide your feedback, please visit ERO #019-6240 on the Environmental Registry of Ontario, visit: https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-6240

The document is available for public comment until December 3rd, 2022.

To discuss this proposal, contact Reema Kureishy, Land Use Policy Unit, MECP at MECP.LandPolicy@ontario.ca.

On December 6th, Environment Journal will host the annual Excess Soils Symposium. For further information, visit: https://environmentjournal.ca/excess-soils-symposium/

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