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MOECC Releases Notice of Updated Excess Soil Management Proposal

By David Nguyen – Staff Writer

The Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) recently posted notice on the Environmental Bill of Rights Environmental Registry of the regulatory changes to the management of excess soil (Excess Soil Management Regulatory Proposal, ERO# 013-2774). Excess soil is soil that has been dug up, such as during excavation activities, and cannot be reused at its original site and must be moved off site.  There is much controversy in the Province of Ontario and other provinces concerning the management of excess soil as there are claims and growing evidence that some companies mix clean soil with contaminated soil, some companies dispose of contaminated soil as clean soil, and other questionable practices.

The MOECC proposal clarifies where soils can be reused based on the soil characterization and aims to reduce greenhouse gasses from the transportation of soil by encouraging local reuse. The proposal also clarifies that the project leader is responsible for the management and relocation of the excess soil generated during a project to ensure proper characterization and relocation. Minor amendments to O.Reg. 153/04 and to O. Reg. 347 are also proposed.

The current proposal incorporates responses and comments from the previous proposal as well as from engagement with stakeholders and Indigenous communities. Changes from the previous proposal include:

  • A revised approach to waste designation
  • Reduced regulatory complexity and some details moved to guidance
  • A two to three years transition time for key regulations
  • Several O. Reg. 153/04 amendments to come into effect sooner
  • More flexibility for reuse through new reuse standards and a Beneficial Reuse Assessment Tool to develop site specific standards

This proposal is part of the MOECC’s response to the commitments outlined in Ontario’s Excess Soil Management Policy Framework. Other actions of the framework include developing priority education, outreach and training initiatives to support implementation.

The specific regulations and proposals provided for comments are summarized below:

  • A new proposed On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation
    • Excess soil would be designated as waste when it leaves the project area unless it is reused in accordance with the rules set out in this regulation.
    • If designated waste, the regulation would clarify when an ECA is not required.
    • Hauling of excess soil would generally not need an ECA, but is still subject to certain rules, such as maintaining records.
    • Project leaders may use temporary soil storage sites without an ECA as long as certain conditions are met.
    • Unless exempted, a project leader is responsible for preparing an Excess Soil Management Plan (ESMP), which involves determining contaminant concentrations on the soil, finding appropriate receiving sites, develop a tracking system and record keeping requirements.
    • Key information from the ESMP would be registered on a public registry. A qualified person (QP) would need to prepare or supervise the ESMP.
    • The regulation would be phased in over two to three years.
  • Amendments to O. Reg. 153/04
    • Align the requirements for soil being taken to Record of Site Condition (RSC) or phase two properties with the new rules for excess soil proposed in the On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation.
    • Resolve delineation challenges experienced at properties going through the Risk Assessment process.
    • Remove Record of Site Condition triggers for low risk projects.
    • Provide flexibility for meeting contamination standards where exceedances are cause by substances used for ice and snow safety, discharges of treated drinking water, and presence of fill that matches local background levels.
  • Amendments to O. Reg. 347
    • Clarify that excess soil is no longer part of the definition of “inert fill.”
    • Clarify operational requirements to support exemptions from ECA requirements for excess soil related activities.
  • Proposal of Rules for On-site and Excess Soil Management
    • A proposed document to be adopted by reference in the On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation
    • Specifies ESMP contents, including an assessment of past uses, sampling and analysis plan, excess soil characterization, requirements for excess soil tracking systems, a destination assessment and identification, and declarations required of the project leader and qualified person, and applicable soil quality standards and related rules.
  • The proposed “Beneficial Reuse Assessment Tool” (BRAT)
    • An alternative rules that aim to promote greater reuse of excess soil and the protection of human health and the environment
    • Allows a QP to generate site specific standards using a spreadsheet model

Comments can be made on the proposal up to June 15, 2018 on the Environmental Registry of Ontario proposal site or by mail.

Pario Engineering & Environmental Sciences LP Opens Moncton Office

Pario Engineering & Environmental Sciences LP, a provider of specialized engineering and environmental services to the insurance and risk management industries, recently announced it has opened a new branch in Moncton, New Brunswick. It also announced that Steven Vidito has joined Pario as its Senior Geoscientist for Environmental Services, and will work out of the new Moncton location.

Aerial View of Downtown Moncton, New Brunswick

Mr. Vidito has over 25 years of experience and demonstrated success in the planning and execution of complex hydrogeological and environmental programs throughout Canada. He has extensive experience in contaminant hydrogeology, contaminated site assessment, soil and groundwater remediation, and regulatory compliance. He has coordinated and managed numerous environmental projects for a broad range of sites including residential, commercial, and industrial properties as well as federal facilities across Canada.

Additionally, Mr. Vidito has experience in providing senior technical oversight and peer review for reports and regulatory applications. His familiarity with the insurance industry will be a major asset in providing exceptional service to our clients. In the field, Mr. Vidito’s experience extends to on-site investigation, remediation, treat in-situ, treat ex-situ, containment procedures, risk evaluation, cost benefit analysis, and the execution of complex remedial projects.

Pario identified New Brunswick as a key location for those clients seeking environmental and forensic expertise. This location, along with the company’s current Halifax location, will serve Atlantic Canada, and many of Pario’s insurance and claims clients will now have local support to manage and control the costs of spill response along with mitigation of environmental liabilities.

Mr. Vidito will report to Brian Merrick, Director of Atlantic Canada. Mr. Merrick has been with Pario since 2007. He has over 22 years of experience, including senior technical and project management positions throughout Atlantic Canada.

“We are extremely pleased to be operating out of New Brunswick and to welcome Steven Vidito to the Pario team,” stated Martin Grech, Senior Vice President of National Operations. “As with all of our other locations, this new branch offers top talent with a continual emphasis on customer service. Mr. Vidito’s experience will be an ideal addition to our roster and we look forward to providing additional services to complement these strengths.”

SNC-Lavelin opens new London UK office to drive collaboration

Canadian construction, engineering and environmental services group SNC-Lavalin is to establish a new hub in London, UK.

Having completed the acquisition of British-based firm Atkins last summer (EA 04-Jul-17), the Montreal-headquartered firm is investing in the new office located in London’s Victoria, to support plans for growth in the UK market and continue its strong presence for the London clientbase, whilst also facilitating bringing together over 1,000 people from across SNC-Lavalin and its Atkins, Faithful+Gould and Acuity businesses into “a working space fit for the 21st Century”, it said.

Atkins president Nick Roberts said: “We’re focused on building a strong, unified and growing business in the UK. The decision to invest in a new UK hub in London is a positive statement from SNC-Lavalin about the significance of the UK to the company’s future aspirations. It provides a great foundation to further combine the market-leading strengths from our two organisations, and ensures we can continue to provide our clients with a high-quality customer experience and world-class project delivery.”

Philip Hoare, chief executive of SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business in the UK & Europe, added: “We are striving to play our part in improving productivity and growth in the UK, as well as within our wider industry sector. A core component of this will be the digital transformation agenda, where more than ever innovation, collaboration and disruption will be key to success. Nova North [the new office] offers us a modern, efficient and flexible working environment in central London from where we can drive these efforts.”

U.S. Environmental Industry generates $388 billion in revenues in 2017

The U.S. environmental industry generated revenues of $388 billion in 2017, up from $370 million in 2016, according to preliminary estimates by Environmental Business International Inc. (EBI), publisher of Environmental Business Journal (EBJ). The environmental industry’s annual growth rate of 4.8% in 2017 represents a steady increase from 3.6% in 2016 and 2.1% in 2015.

Every year, EBJ’s Annual Industry Overview presents estimates and forecasts for 13 business segments, in addition to offering perspective on how the environmental industry is responding to changing macroeconomic conditions and regulatory and policy trends. This year’s summary reviews conditions one year into the Trump Administration.

To purchase EBJ’s Annual Industry Overview and receive statistical summaries of the industry in 13 segments with multiple charts featuring revenues, growth, number of companies, forecasts, growth factors and revenue breakdowns by client, media and function, visit the EBI website.

FirstOnSite Restoration opens new Quebec branch

FirstOnSite Restoration, Canada’s leading independent disaster restoration services provider, has bolstered its Quebec offering with the opening of a new branch in Ste-Agathe, QC.  The branch will serve the restoration, remediation and reconstruction needs of both existing and new customers in the Laurentians region (including Mont Tremblant, Ste-Agathe and Saint-Sauveur) and complement service provided by the current branches in Montréal and Québec City.

This new branch is led by Senior Project Manager and Acting Branch Manager, Olivier Bertrand. Olivier, who resides in the Laurentians, originally joined FirstOnSite in 2010, and has had a successful history of entrepreneurship, business management and restoration industry expertise. He has more than 10-years experience in disaster recovery and restoration, and has worked on multimillion-dollar commercial restoration and reconstruction projects as well as condominiums and residential rebuilds. Olivier has also owned and operated his own construction firm, where he specialized in new build construction.

“Olivier’s experience in leadership, management and restoration uniquely qualifies him to launch and manage this new FirstOnSite location,” said Barry J. Ross, Executive Vice President, FirstOnSite Restoration.

Supporting Olivier is Project Manager, Eric Archambault, a 30-year veteran of the restoration industry, and an expert in loss evaluation and restoration of major residential and commercial properties. Eric is also a resident of the Laurentians.

The new branch will be reinforced by FirstOnSite’s flagship Montréal/Dorval branch – the largest full service commercial and residential restoration provider in the province, and is the next step of the company’s expansion plans in Quebec.

“The Ste-Agathe branch brings a dedicated and full-time staff to the region and reinforces our commitment to providing superior customer service,” said Ross. “It will help FirstOnSite extend the coverage we offer customers through our existing locations.”

About FirstOnSite Restoration

FirstOnSite Restoration Limited is an independent Canadian disaster restoration services provider, providing remediation, restoration and reconstruction services nationwide, and for the U.S. large loss and commercial market. With approximately 1,000 employees, more than 35 locations, 24/7 emergency service and a commitment to customer service, FirstOnSite  serves the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

In May 2016, FirstOnSite joined forces with U.S.-based Interstate Restoration, expanding its resource base, and extending its customer service offering and collectively becoming the second largest restoration service provider in North America.

Char Technologies Ltd. Announces Acquisition of the Altech Group

CHAR Technologies Ltd. (“CHAR”) (YES:TSXV) recently announced that it has closed the acquisition of  the Altech Group (“Altech”), which is comprised of  Altech Environmental Consulting Ltd. and Altech Technologies Systems Inc.  Altech provides solutions to environmental engineering challenges.  Founded in 1986, Altech has 12 employees and a diverse and stable client base.  CHAR acquired all issued equity in both Altech Environmental Consulting Ltd., and Altech Technology Systems Inc.  Altech shareholders received 4,523,810 in common shares of CHAR as well as $150,000 in cash.

Bill White, Chairman of CHAR stated that, “The acquisition of the Altech Group adds over 30 years of experience in environmental technologies and professional engineering consulting” and that “Altech provides CHAR with a growth catalyst to move much of our engineering design in-house, while at the same time allows us to greatly expand our technology solutions offering for industrial clean air and clean water.”

CHAR brings the shareholders of Altech a succession plan and an opportunity to realize value at an optimal time.  According to Alexander Keen, Founder and CEO of Altech, “CHAR brings an exciting future for Altech. Our joint efforts going forward will bring tremendous opportunities”.

The new joint enterprise plans to commercialize a new cleantech solid fuel branded “CleanFyre”.  This product is a GHG neutral coal replacement, generically referred to as biocoal.  CleanFyre will allow large industrial customers the ability to greatly reduce their GHG emissions without significant capital expenditures.  According to Andrew White, CEO of CHAR, “CleanFyre will leverage both Altech’s experience and expertise, and CHAR’s platform pyrolysis technology, the same technology used to create SulfaCHAR, to create a solution with strong market pull and significant growth opportunity.”

About CHAR

CHAR is in the business of producing a proprietary activated charcoal like material (“SulfaCHAR”), which can be used to removed hydrogen sulfide from various gas streams (focusing on methane-rich and odorous air).  The SulfaCHAR, once used for the gas cleaning application, has further use as a sulfur-enriched biochar for agricultural purposes (saleable soil amendment product).

About Altech Group

Altech is a full-service engineering and consulting firm providing energy, environmental, and health and safety services to clients.  Altech specializes in corporate management systems, energy and environmental audits and assessments, contaminated site investigation and remediation, health & safety management, training, and industrial hygiene.  Established in 1986, Altechemploys multi-disciplinary professionals including energy and environmental engineers, scientists, hydrogeologists, geologists, and technicians committed to providing our clients the highest quality service and integrated solutions for business and the environment.

QM Environmental Announces Appointment of New CEO

QM Environmental, a Canadian environmental and industrial services company, recently announced the appointment of Justin Sharp as Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Sharp brings more than two decades of experience in senior leadership roles, most recently as President and Chief Operating Officer of FirstOnSite Restoration, a Canadian disaster restoration company, where he led a restructuring effort to position the company for sale to a US operator, resulting in the creation of the second largest restoration firm in North America.  Prior to that, he held progressive positions over almost twenty years at SNC-Lavalin, serving his last five years as Senior Vice President, Operations and Maintenance across North America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, where he led expansion efforts, refined product offerings to better serve the local markets and clientele, created a world-class team, and prepared the groundwork to position the company for long-term growth.

Mr. Sharp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto.

QM Environmental is a environmental and industrial services company with offices located across Canada.  QM services include: Environmental Remediation, Demolition and Decommissioning, Hazardous Materials Abatement, Civil Earthworks, Emergency Response, Training, Waste Management and Facilities, and Water Treatment.

CHAR Technologies Ltd. Announces Approval of $1 Million Grant

CHAR Technologies Ltd. (the “CHAR”) (YES – TSXV) is pleased to announce that it has been approved for a grant totalling $1 million provided by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence (“OCE”). The grant is in support of CHAR’s current SulfaCHAR production project, which has previously received funding and support from both Sustainable Development Technology Canada (“SDTC”) and the Canadian Gas Association (“CGA”).

“This grant will allow CHAR to both redeploy financial resources currently committed to the SulfaCHAR project, while at the same time will allow CHAR to expand the scope of the project,” said Andrew White, CEO of CHAR. “The funding recognizes the carbon-related benefits of the project, and will allow CHAR to more rapidly execute on the production and use of SulfaCHAR.”

Funding will be disbursed on completion of three milestones. CHAR has received initial funding of $237,759, and will receive three additional payments on milestone and project completion.

About CHAR
CHAR is in the business of producing a proprietary activated charcoal like material (“SulfaCHAR”), which can be used to removed hydrogen sulfide from various gas streams (focusing on methane-rich and odorous air). The SulfaCHAR, once used for the gas cleaning application, has further use as a sulfur-enriched biochar for agricultural purposes (saleable soil amendment product).

About OCE
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario’s industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs.