After much speculation and delay, the Province of Ontario finally announced that the On-site and Excess Soil Regulation will take effect on July 1, 2020. In a speech at the Excess Soil Symposium in Ajax, Ontario, the Environmental Minister, Jeff Yurek announced that the government is moving ahead with making changes to and finalizing the regulations under the Environmental Protection Act.
“As Ontario’s population continues to grow, we need to ensure our valuable resources and prime land don’t go to waste,” said Minister Yurek. “These changes will remove barriers for communities, developers and property owners to clean up and redevelop vacant, contaminated lands and put them back into productive use. This will benefit the local economy and create jobs, and keep good, reusable soil out of our landfills.”
Under the new regulations, Ontario is clarifying rules on the management and transport of excess soil to help optimize the resources we have and reduce costs in development, which will benefit communities. Clear rules and new tools to work with municipalities and other law enforcement agencies will also strengthen enforcement of illegal dumping of excess soil. These regulatory changes will provide greater assurance that soil of the right quality is being reused locally, reduce greenhouse gas impacts from truck transportation, and prevent reusable soil from ending up in landfills.
Ontario’s government is moving forward with its commitment to make it safer and easier to use local excess soil and put vacant, prime lands back into good use
“The Ontario Home Builders’ Association is supportive of clarifying rules regarding the reuse and management of excess soils generated from construction sites,” said Joe Voccaro, CEO, Ontario Home Builders’ Association. “This will create business certainty, while ensuring the tracking and quality of soil being deposited and increasing opportunities for reuse on other sites. Furthermore, exempting historic road salting that was preventing developers from obtaining an RSC is a very positive amendment supporting new housing supply.”
Ontario is also reducing barriers to clean up brownfields, which are properties where past industrial or commercial activities may have left contamination, so underused land in prime locations can be cleaned up and put back to productive use, benefitting the neighbourhood and businesses. This will also provide developers with more certainty and opportunity to redevelop brownfield properties, while still maintaining human health and environmental protection.
- An estimated 25 million cubic metres of excess construction soil is generated each year.
- The management of excess soil, including trucking and disposal fees, can account for a significant part of the costs in large development projects, accounting for an estimated 14 per cent of overall construction costs.
- Soils travel long distances to either a landfill or reuse site. On average, a load of excess soil travels 65 km or more.
- Greater local reuse of excess soils can save between five to 10 per cent of overall project costs.