Ontario excess soil registry requirements take effect Jan. 1, 2022

Written by Alex Sadvari, Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP

The next phase in Ontario’s new excess soil regime is fast approaching. The Excess Soil Registry website goes live on Dec. 1, 2021 and the requirement to submit notices to document and track excess soil takes effect on Jan. 1, 2022.[1]

Many of the requirements for the handling and reuse of excess soil under the On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation, O. Reg. 406/19 (the “Excess Soil Regulation” or the “Regulation“) are already in force. The implementation of the tracking system is the next step and is intended to ensure that each regulated project’s soil reaches its preapproved soil reuse destination(s).

Background on the Excess Soil Regulation

In December 2019, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (“MECP“) released the Excess Soil Regulation under the Environmental Protection Act. The Ministry was concerned that clean soil from construction sites was being wasted and that contaminated soil was not being tracked. As a result, the Regulation requires both soil sampling and tracking, so that clean soil excavated from one site in Ontario is reused beneficially at another site in Ontario, and contaminated soil does not end up at a soil reuse site.

The Regulation adopts by reference a document setting out risk-based rules and standards for excess soil: Rules for Soil Management and Excess Soil Quality Standards, which is divided into two parts: “Part 1: Rules for Soil Management” and “Part II: Excess Soil Quality Standards” (referred to in the Regulation as the “Soil Rules” and the “Excess Soil Standards“, respectively).

Under the Regulation, a Qualified Person (“QP“), is required to assess the quality of excess soil, through sampling and analysis, as well as soil characterization, and determine potential reuse. In order to promote increased reuse of excess soil, the Regulation also allows a QP to develop site-specific standards for a reuse site and incorporates by reference a Beneficial Reuse Assessment Tool.

In drafting the Regulation, the Ministry took a phased approach so that different requirements come into effect at different times. The first phase, which includes the majority of the requirements, came into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. As noted above, we are now about to enter the second phase which requires soil tracking in the Excess Soil Registry as of Jan. 1, 2022.

The third phase is intended to take effect on Jan. 1, 2025 with additional restrictions on depositing soils at a “landfilling site or dump”.[2] Finally, on Jan. 1, 2026, the grandfathering provision for contracts that existed before the Regulation came into force will cease to apply.[3]

The Excess Soil Registry: What you need to know

  • Excess soil tracking using the Excess Soil Registry is required as of Jan. 1, 2022.
  • You can access the Excess Soil Registry online as of Dec. 1, 2021 and begin filing your notices ahead of the Jan. 1, 2022, effective date.
  • The filing fees are not yet finalized, but the fee proposal is posted here.
  • Project leaders, and owners and site operators of reuse sites must use the Excess Soil Registry to file (or assign an authorized person to file) notices for sites[4] where excess soil is produced and deposited:
    • a project leader must file a project area notice when a project generates 100 m3 or more of excess soil;[5] and
    • an owner or operator of a soil reuse site receiving 10,000 m3 or more must file a reuse site notice.[6]
  • Schedule 1 of the Regulation sets out the information required in a project area notice,[7] and Subsection 19(4) sets out the information required in a reuse site notice.[8]
  • The Resource Productivity & Recovery Authority (the “RPPA“) developed and will operate the Excess Soil Registry, but the Ministry will continue to be responsible for compliance with and enforcement of the Excess Soil Regulation.
  • The RPPA has a helpful FAQs page to assist with the Excess Soil Registry and has been offering training sessions.
  • As noted above, the threshold for project registration is generally 100 m3,[9] i.e., proponents of projects that generate 100 m3 or more of excess soil that cannot be reused onsite, are required to submit the required notices, unless the project fits under one of the exemptions under the Excess Soil Regulation.
  • Non-application provisions are set out in Section 2 of the Regulation and exemptions from registration are set out in Schedule 2. For example, the Regulation does not apply to the operation of a pit or quarry, including the excavation of topsoil, under the Aggregate Resources Act.[10] However, the Regulation does apply to excess soil placed at a pit or quarry for reuse, including for rehabilitation.[11]

Next steps

If your soil excavation activities are already caught by the Regulation and you are ultimately responsible for making the project decisions (i.e., the “project leader”), then you should become familiar with the Excess Soil Registry now and start submitting notices as soon as possible before the notice and tracking requirements come into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

If you are not sure if your activities are caught, and you think that they may fall under one of the non-application provisions or exemptions, we invite you to contact Gowling WLG to determine your obligations under the Regulation and whether you need to register. We would also be happy to assist with reviewing and amending construction contracts to incorporate the Regulation requirements, where applicable.


[1] On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation, O. Reg 406/19, s. 30(2) (the “Excess Soil Regulation” or the “Regulation“): “Sections 8 to 16 and 19 and subsections 29 (2) and (3) come into force on Jan. 1, 2022.”

[2] Ibid., s. 30(3): “Section 22 comes into force on Jan. 1, 2025.”

[3] Ibid., s. 30(4): “Subsection 29 (1) comes into force on Jan. 1, 2026” and will replace subsection 8(2) which exempts project leaders from registration “in respect of a project and its project area” if the project leader entered into a soil management contract before Jan. 1, 2021.

[4] In the Regulation, a “project” is defined very broadly as “any project that involves the excavation of soil and includes, (a) any form of development or site alteration, (b) the construction, reconstruction, erecting or placing of a building or structure of any kind, (c) the establishment, replacement, alteration or extension of infrastructure, or (d) any removal of liquid soil or sediment from a surface water body” and “project area” is defined as “a single property or adjoining properties on which the project is carried out” (Ibid., s. 1(1)).

[5] A “project leader” is defined as “…the person or persons who are ultimately responsible for making decisions relating to the planning and implementation of the project” (Ibid., s. 1(1)). Subsection 8(1) of the Regulation sets out the requirement for a project leader to file a notice with the information set out in Schedule 1. Exemptions from the requirement to register and file notices are set out in Schedule 2 (Ibid., s. 8(2)). As long as you excavate and remove less than 100 m3 of soil then you do not need to register as long as: “[t]he excess soil is directly transported to a waste disposal site that is not a Class 2 soil management site” or “[t]he soil is being deposited at a local waste transfer facility” (Ibid., Schedule 2, ss. 2 and 7).

[6] Ibid., s. 19.

[7] Ibid., Schedule 1: “INFORMATION TO BE SET OUT IN NOTICE (SECTION 8 OF THE REGULATION)”, which includes “1. A description of the project. 2. A description of the project area… 3. The name, mailing address, postal code, telephone number and email address of each project leader for the project… 8. An estimate of how much excess soil will be removed from the project area, broken down by any applicable Table in the Excess Soil Standards that the excess soil meets, if it is to be finally placed at a reuse site… 10. The location of each Class 2 soil management site and local waste transfer facility at which excess soil is intended to be deposited and temporarily managed… 14. The location of each Class 1 soil management site, landfilling site or dump at which excess soil is intended to be deposited… 16. A declaration by the project leader…”

[8] As of Jan. 1, 2022, “hauling records” are also required under s. 18 of the Regulation: “18. (1) A person who is operating a vehicle for the purpose of transporting excess soil shall ensure that a record including the following information is available at all times during the transportation:…”

[9] Ibid., Schedule 2, ss. 2 and 7, as long as the other conditions under these subsections of Schedule 2 are met as set out in the footnote above.

[10] Ibid., s. 2(1).

[11] Ibid., s. 2(2).


NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Information made available on this website in any form is for information purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or fail to take any action based upon this information. Never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website. Gowling WLG professionals will be pleased to discuss resolutions to specific legal concerns you may have.

 This article was published with the permission of Gowling WLG LLP.  It was first published here on the Gowling WLG (Canada) website.

About the Author

Alex Sadvari is a lawyer in Gowling WLG‘s Toronto office, practising in the areas of environmental, land use planning, and development law. She advises corporate, municipal, and Indigenous clients, providing strategic regulatory advice and representation. Gowling WLG has more than 1,500 legal professionals and a presence in Canada, the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America. The firm provides clients with in-depth knowledge in key global sectors and a suite of legal services at home and abroad.

ONEIA Board Nominations deadline for applications is December 2nd

ONEIA is now accepting applications from those who occupy senior positions at member companies and are interested in serving on our board for the 2022-2025 term.  Our current board of 15 members is made up of industry leaders who also serve on ONEIA committees, attend our events and support a strong voice for our industry and its concerns.

If you would like to make a contribution to your industry and to ONEIA, we would be pleased to add your name to the roster being considered by the nominations committee.

Please forward your CV, and a letter expressing interest which outlines how you could support the work of ONEIA, to Janelle Yanishewski, Operations Manager, at info@oneia.ca, prior to December 2, 2021. For a sample of what this letter may look like, please contact [email protected] and we can send you a template.

For more information, please contact Denise Lacchin, Chair of the Nominations Committee at [email protected]

Englobe announces the acquisition of Ontario-based Terraprobe

Englobe Corporation, a soils, materials and environmental engineering firm with a established network of offices across Canada and in Europe, recently announced that it has acquired Terraprobe, an Ontario-based consulting engineering firm. Terraprobe’s technical and engineering expertise will help position Englobe as a provider of geotechnical, materials testing and environmental engineering (GME) services in the province.  

Founded in 1977, Terraprobe’s areas of specialization include geotechnical, environmental, shoring design, building science, and hydrogeological engineering. In addition to its head office in Brampton, the company has satellite offices in Barrie, Sudbury and Stoney Creek, Ontario. As a result, some 200 Terraprobe employees will join the Englobe family. 

In addition, Englobe stands to gain market benefits from this new partnership. Notably, Terraprobe’s  geotechnical, hydrogeology and soil/rock testing capabilities, when combined with Englobe’s construction materials testing expertise, will serve to build a team able to deliver diverse GME services across Ontario.  

“By working in tandem, Englobe and Terraprobe will be much better positioned to pursue major provincial transit and infrastructure projects requiring higher-complexity qualifications,” notes Mike Cormier, Co-President of Englobe. “We’re excited to welcome Terraprobe’s experienced engineers, scientists and technicians to Englobe’s Ontario Professional Services team. In doing so, Englobe’s bench strength will grow to more than 450 staff – primarily in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area – with an impressive range of technical and administrative expertise.” 

The two companies have partnered on numerous projects over the years, developing a solid track record of positive and close collaboration as well as an excellent cultural fit. “Terraprobe has always adopted a client-centric approach in delivering full customer satisfaction,” says Billy Singh, Terraprobe President and CEO. “We’re very pleased to be joining Englobe, a company that shares our own ethical, fair and rewarding work practices to benefit their clients, employees and community. I’m certain this new relationship between our two companies will be fruitful and mutually beneficial.” 

 

 

Midas Gold Reaches Agreement to Begin Environmental Restoration at Abandoned Mine Site in Idaho

Midas Gold Corp., presently headquartered in British Columbia, recently announced, following three years of extensive discussions, that U.S. federal agencies have authorized and directed the Company to perform agree-upon clean up actions to address contaminated legacy conditions within Idaho’s abandoned Stibnite mining district that are negatively impacting water quality.

While Midas Gold did not cause the legacy environmental problems at Stibnite, the recently signed agreement points to the need for timely environmental action. The Agreement between the company the the U.S. government allows the Company to voluntarily address environmental conditions at the abandoned mine site without inheriting the liability of the conditions left behind by past operators.

Should the Stibnite Gold Project move forward with proposed mining and restoration activities, the Agreement will also allow for comprehensive site cleanup by directing the Company to address legacy features including millions of tons of legacy mine tailings that fall outside of the Project footprint and would otherwise not be addressed.

With the Agreement in place, Midas Gold is now moving forward with plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from British Columbia, Canada to Boise, Idaho and intends to redomicile the Company to the United States.

Agreement Reached to Address Legacy Water Quality

Through an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent (“ASAOC” or the “Agreement”) signed on January 15, 2021 by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and U.S. Forest Service, with concurrence by the U.S. Department of Justice, Midas Gold has been instructed to clean up certain contaminated conditions within the Stibnite mining district in Idaho. The sources of contamination to be addressed by the Agreement are decades old and largely stem from tungsten and antimony mining during World War II and the Korean War, long before Midas Gold started planning for redevelopment of the site.

The cleanup Agreement was entered into under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) and is the result of almost three years of discussion with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The U.S. EPA also lead discussions with U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Forest ServiceState of Idaho, and two Idaho tribes.  Before finalizing the agreement, the EPA also conducted government-to-government consultation with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and Nez Perce Tribe.

“For decades, ground and surface water at Stibnite have suffered from elevated levels of arsenic and antimony,” said Laurel Sayer, CEO of Midas Gold Corp. and Midas Gold Idaho. “Yet, because the problems stem from historic mining activity, there are no responsible parties left to address the issues at hand. While we did not cause the problems impacting water quality today, we have always been clear on our intentions to be a part of the solution. We know redevelopment of the Stibnite Mining District for mining activity must include restoration of legacy features. So, when we saw the need to address sources of water contamination more quickly at Stibnite, we knew we had to offer our help.”

Stibnite provided the U.S. with key minerals to support the war effort during World War II and the Korean War. This picture shows a miner working at site in 1943.

Importantly, the Agreement does not change the permitting process or anticipated permitting schedule for the Stibnite Gold Project through the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), nor does it alter any potential CERCLA liability or CERLCA defenses for Midas Gold or federal entities should the Stibnite Gold Project be fully permitted and move into operations. The Agreement only allows for specified EPA directed cleanup actions to occur.

“Today’s agreement develops a clear pathway for comprehensive cleanup activity at a long abandoned mine site and marks an important opportunity for meaningful water quality improvement at Stibnite,” said John C. Cruden, outside counsel for Midas Gold and former Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division in the Department of Justice in President Obama’s Administration.

The Agreement comes with a determination by federal regulators that due to historical activity, site conditions presently constitute an “actual or threatened release of hazardous substances” and that time critical removal actions are necessary to protect human health and welfare and the environment. In order to provide investment and cleanup the legacy environmental hazards and waste left behind at Stibnite, Midas Gold reached an agreement with federal agencies under CERCLA to define the cleanup work the Company will conduct and to clarify how to protect the Company from inheriting the environmental liability of past actors who abandoned the site. This situation is not unique to Midas Gold but one that has stalled cleanup work at abandoned mine sites across the country. This Agreement may well provide an example for cleaning up abandoned mining sites elsewhere in the nation.

“Water quality in the Stibnite Mining District has been a known problem for decades. As the closest community to the site, I can tell you that cleanup is long overdue,” said Willie Sullivan, Yellow Pine Resident and board member of the Yellow Pine Water Users Association. “This agreement between the EPA and Midas Gold is the first meaningful step toward real improvements in water quality conditions for the East Fork South Fork Salmon River and downstream communities like Yellow Pine. We have seen Midas Gold’s commitment to doing business the right way and their willingness to help with clean up now tells me they are the right partner for this effort.”

Clean-up Phases

The ASAOC consists of three primary phases. The first phase of the Agreement is designed to significantly improve water quality over the next four years. It includes several CERCLA “time critical removal actions” consisting of water diversion projects designed to move water so it may avoid contaminated areas of the site, and removal of over at least 325,000 tons of historical mine waste from problematic locations that are currently affecting water quality. In addition, Midas Gold has agreed to conduct a full biological assessment, Clean Water Act evaluation, and a cultural resource survey.  To ensure all that important work will be done, Midas Gold is providing US$7.5 million in financial assurance for Phase 1 projects.

Phases 2 and 3 of the ASAOC would move forward if the Stibnite Gold Project receives permission to proceed with mining under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and would provide the opportunity for comprehensive and site-wide cleanup of legacy features and waste by including permission to address legacy areas that are not included in the restoration activities proposed by the Stibnite Gold Project.

To read more on this Agreement additional information may be found here:  www.MidasGoldIdaho.com/news/asaoc/

SOURCE: Midas Gold

 

Emergency Preparedness and Prevention under the U.S. Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule

Written by Ryan W. Trail, Williams Mullen

Generators of hazardous waste have long understood the importance of emergency preparedness and prevention to regulatory compliance and facility safety.  Contingency planning and coordination with emergency service providers have been requirements of United States Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations for many years.  For states that have adopted the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (HWGIR), however, new and more stringent requirements for emergency preparedness and prevention now apply.  These states include Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as 28 other states.  All authorized states are required to adopt most aspects of the HWGIR, including those aspects discussed below, but many have not yet done so.

Under the old regulations, generators of hazardous waste (both small and large quantity) had to make arrangements with local emergency response entities, which may be called upon in the event of a release, fire, or explosion involving hazardous waste at the facility.  Facilities were required to make the emergency responders familiar with the layout of the site, the risks associated with the type(s) of hazardous waste onsite, the locations where employees would likely be throughout the site, and possible evacuation routes.  While not specified in the regulations, many facilities accomplished this by inviting local emergency response personnel to tour the facility.

Under the HWGIR, generators must still make arrangements with emergency response personnel. However, the associated recordkeeping requirements have changed.  Previously, there was no affirmative duty to document the arrangements.  Generators who were unable to make the necessary arrangements were required to document this shortcoming, but otherwise no recordkeeping obligation existed.  The HWGIR added a requirement that the generator must keep documentation of the fact that it made arrangements with local emergency responders.  The arrangements must be noted in the facility’s operating record.

Hazardous waste contingency plans are another essential element of emergency preparedness and prevention under both the prior regulations and the HWGIR.  A contingency plan ensures facility and emergency response personnel have complete and accurate information to respond safely and efficiently to an emergency involving hazardous waste.

The HWGIR created new obligations for facilities with hazardous waste continency plans.  One significant update is the requirement to produce a Quick Reference Guide as part of the contingency plan.  The Quick Reference Guide is intended to summarize the broader contingency plan and must include eight elements essential for local responders when an emergency occurs:

  1. Types/names of hazardous wastes and the hazard associated with each;
  2. Estimated maximum amount of each hazardous waste that may be present;
  3. Identification of hazardous wastes where exposure would require unique or special medical treatment;
  4. Map of the facility showing where hazardous wastes are generated, accumulated and treated and routes for accessing these wastes;
  5. Street map of the facility in relation to surrounding businesses, schools and residential areas for evacuation purposes;
  6. Locations of water supply (e.g., fire hydrant and its flow rate);
  7. Identification of on-site notification systems (e.g., fire alarm, smoke alarms); and
  8. Name of the emergency coordinator(s) and 7/24-hour emergency telephone number(s) or, in the case of a facility where an emergency coordinator is on duty continuously, the emergency telephone number for the emergency coordinator.

A facility that became a large quantity generator after the date the HWGIR became effective in its state must submit a Quick Reference Guide of its contingency plan to local emergency responders at the time it becomes a large quantity generator.  However, for large quantity generators in existence on the effective date of the HWGIR in their state, the Quick Reference Guide need only be submitted when the contingency plan is next amended.  A facility is required to amend its contingency plan if any of the following occur:

  • Applicable regulations are revised;
  • The plan fails in an emergency;
  • The facility changes—in its design, construction, operation, maintenance, or other circumstances—in a way that materially increases the potential for fires, explosions, or releases of hazardous waste or hazardous waste constituents, or changes the response necessary in an emergency;
  • The list of emergency coordinators changes; or
  • The list of emergency equipment changes.

Violations for inaccurate, incomplete or deficient hazardous waste contingency plans are common among RCRA enforcement actions.  With the HWGIR now in effect in many states, facilities may soon be amending their contingency plans.  New requirements for documenting arrangements with emergency responders and creating and maintaining a Quick Reference Guide could easily be overlooked.  It is important for hazardous waste generators to review emergency preparedness and prevention requirements of the HWGIR carefully to ensure continued compliance.

Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule81 Fed. Reg. 85732 (Nov. 28, 2016)

__________________________

About the Author

Ryan Trail represents companies facing complex environmental regulatory issues in the industrial, manufacturing, real estate and banking industries. He helps companies maintain compliance with constantly evolving environmental laws and regulations, and he counsels landowners, potential purchasers and lenders on environmental liabilities related to contaminated real estate. Ryan also helps clients obtain and comply with numerous environmental permits, including industrial wastewater discharge permits, stormwater permits and air permits.

U.S. Based Vivakor Seeks IPO For Soil Remediation Growth Efforts

U.S.-based Vivakor, a firm that provides soil remediation services for hydrocarbon contaminated soils, recently filed a Registration Statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $15 million (USD) for an initial public offering (IPO).  The public money raised will be used by the company to equip itself with the necessary capital equipment to perform its soil remediation services as well as further develop its ‘hydrocarbon upgrading’ capabilities.

The company is currently a private listing company for over-the-counter securities trading as VIVK.  It has a market capitalization of approximately $167 million (USD).

 

Company & Technology

South Salt Lake City, Utah-based Vivakor was founded to develop soil remediation capabilities primarily for the extraction of hydrocarbons from properties that have been contaminated with crude oil or other hydrocarbon-based substances.

The firm is currently focused on clean-up opportunities for hydrocarbon contaminated soil in Kuwait and in naturally occurring oil sands areas in Utah.

Also, more recently, the company inked a deal to purchase wastewater removal equipment, allowing it to provide remediation services to project areas that combine dry and wet areas.

Vivakor also is pursuing the ability to ‘upgrade the hydrocarbons recovered’ from the remediation process, although this technology has not been proven in commercial operations.

Vivakor has received at least $53 million from investors.

Market & Competition

According to a 2016 market research report by Grand View Research, the global pre-oil spill management market was an estimated $100 billion in 2015 and the oil spill management market is expected to reach an estimated $178 billion by 2025.

This represents a forecast CAGR of 3.2% from 2016 to 2025.

The main drivers for this expected growth are an increasing concern regarding the environmental impacts from oil spills in water and soil as well as continued technology development for remediation processes.

Also, North America represented the largest oil spill management market in 2015 and is expected to increase its share due to increased deep sea exploration & production activities.

Major competitive or other industry participants include:

  • National Oilwell Varco (NOV)
  • Fender & Spill Response Services
  • Ecolab (ECL)
  • SkimOil

IPO Details

Vivakor intends to raise $14.7 million in gross proceeds from an IPO of its common stock, although the final figure may differ.  No existing shareholders have indicated an interest to purchase shares of the IPO.

Management says it will use the net proceeds from the IPO as follows:

  • for the purchase of two RPC units, together with related equipment and enhancements;
  • towards the continued development of our hydrocarbon upgrading technologies; and
  • for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including potential repayment of outstanding bridge notes.

How CBRN training programmes can benefit from lessons learned

Written by Bryan W Sommers, Argon Electronics

As major incidents such as the 2018 Novichok nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury have demonstrated, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) emergencies can push national and international response capabilities to their very limits.

Conversely though, these types of challenging CBRN events can also provide a powerful learning opportunity by highlighting the core skills, resources and training that most effectively support and underpin emergency response.

Salisbury poisonings prompt chemical attack questions

In an article published by the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Retired Col. Liam Collins, former director of the Modern War Institute at West Point, explores some of the key lessons learned from the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

He also discusses how this knowledge might best be applied in order to strengthen military readiness in the chemical environment, to identify readiness shortfalls and to improve proficiency.

Among Collins’ key observations is the importance of increasing the focus on CBRN training within the military operational force.

In particular, he emphasises the value of staging “operational-level war games” that incorporate not just disaster response but the full spectrum of CBRN operations.

Combat operations in a CBRN environment

As commander of a Special Forces detachment in the 1990s, Collins says, he routinely conducted close-quarters battle training with live ammunition while wearing protective masks and, on occasion, with full protective equipment.

But with the decision to minimise CBRN training during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he believes the Army’s expertise in the CBRN environment underwent a period of “atrophy.”

The challenge now, says Collins, is to refocus military efforts on the conducting of combat operations in a CBRN environment, including decontamination training.

He also emphasises the importance of having access to sufficient stocks of equipment and PPE is vital in ensuring that personnel are able to operate for extended periods of time in environmentally challenging conditions.

“Taking a timeout, unfortunately, is not an option in a true chemical environment,” he says, “(and) even the most mundane of tasks can pose severe challenges.”

A joint-agency approach to CBRN response

Another factor that the Salisbury attack highlights is the diverse variety of individuals and teams that can be called on to respond to a CBRN emergency – from police, ambulance, the fire service and the military to healthcare organisations, crisis management institutions and detection/verification specialists.

How well these different groups are able to work with and alongside each other can be a hugely significant factor in the effectiveness of emergency response.

What is important is that CBRN training offers a sufficient degree of flexibility and adaptability in order to accommodate individual learning outcomes and to acknowledge differences in emergency management structures.

Enhancing CBRN training with real-world capability

Realistic exercises can provide an invaluable training ground for testing the effectiveness of response to a CBRN incident.

Through the provision of realistic scenarios there is the opportunity for personnel to hone their practical skills, strengthen their knowledge and enhance their decision-making abilities within a safe, immersive and controlled environment.

Incorporating the use of simulator detector equipment into military CBRN training continues to provide instructors with a flexible, scaleable and safe training solution.

In addition there is now also the option to take realistic CBRN instruction to a new level through the use of new software that interacts directly with actual operational detector equipment.

With the introduction of the new Radiation Field Training Simulator (RaFTS) for example, there is the opportunity to extend CBRN training capability beyond the realm of radiological training to encompass a much wider variety of hazardous substances, even more complex virtual scenarios and multiple instrument types.

The security environment in which CBRN responders are required to operate is in a state of continuing evolution – fuelled in no small part by the growth of international free trade, increased cross-border movement, globalisation, fundamentalism and the information-sharing capabilities of the internet.

In this challenging and ever-changing CBRN environment, a commitment to hands-on, realistic training has a vital role to play in ensuring a common knowledge base, a minimum level of best practice and the highest possible standard of operational readiness.


About the Author

Sergeant Major Bryan W Sommers has forged a distinguished career in the fields of CBRNe and HazMat training. He recently retired after twenty-two years service in the US Army, with fourteen years spent operating specifically in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) environments. In 2020 he was appointed as Argon Electronics’ North American business development manager.

Are Regulatory Changes coming to B.C. for home heating fuel tanks?

As reported in the Saanich News, a Councillor from the Town of View Royal in British Columbia is pushing for provincial legislation to enhance safety and security issues for fuel oil tanks.  Councillor John Rogers wants to lessens the risk of environmental contamination from leaking heating fuel tanks.

Last month, Rogers’ motion to the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ annual meeting, calling on the province to legislate changes to enhance oil tanks’ safety and security, was tabled for later discussion.  The motion called on the province to legislate mandatory registration and tagging of home heating oil tanks  as being in good condition, and prohibit the filling of untagged tanks.

Under the proposed legislation, a mandatory inspection system would be established that included authorized inspector access.  Such a regulation would place liability on fuel delivery companies for spills from tanks they fill and require those companies to carry related insurance.

Under this proposal, the cost for the public clean up costs associated to leakage from properties where the owner has self-identified as having a heating oil tank would be covered by insurance.  To offset the additional costs for fuel delivery companies, owners of fuel oil tanks would have a surcharge added to their bill.

The proposal would have also required proper decommissioning of tanks that no longer meet certification or are unused for a prescribed time.

“The regulations are the province’s purview, and if the province were to take this on, every municipality would receive the benefit,” Councillor John Rogers said.

Currently in British Columbia, homeowners are responsible for ensuring that their home heating oil tanks are safe, secure, and in good operating condition.  Insurance companies in B.C. have required homeowners to move oil tanks outdoors as well as ensuring their tank meets B.C. fire and building code standards for construction and maximum age.

Leaks from Domestic Heating Fuel Storage Tanks

It is estimated that more than 40% of all oil spills in Canada are from domestic oil tanks used to heat homes.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the cost for clean-up of a leaking fuel oil tank averages between $250,000 and $500,000.

Since 2012, in the community of Saanich, B.C., a district municipality on Vancouver Island, there has been environmental response crews have had to respond to reports of six buried oil tanks that failed, four copper lines leaking (running from the tank to the furnace) and 12 above ground tanks leaking.

“We do know that there can be severe problems when tanks have been unknowingly left in the ground,” Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said in an interview with Saanich News. “For new homeowners, it has caused severe hardship and environmental damage. Buried tanks are a continuing concern in Saanich we seem to have a fairly robust approach to that.”

Rogers plans to provide the UBCM executive with further details around his motion in hopes that it may make it onto next year’s recommended list.

Canada ranks #1 in investment for cleantech innovation and #16 in cleantech commercialization

A recent survey conducted by Eco Canada of cleantech employers in Canada to assess market and industry trends.  Specifically, ECO Canada surveyed cleantech employers to uncover in-demand occupations, skills, trends, and opportunities facing the sector and its workforce.  The survey was conduct prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a global level, clean innovation is a trillion-dollar industry. Investments, activities and jobs in clean technology are expected to grow further, likely exceeding $2.5 trillion by 2022. While Canada has potential to become a market leader, ensuring an adequate supply of skilled workers is vital to supporting the sector’s growth.

ECO Canada surveyed 81 cleantech employers to gather relevant data such as in-demand occupations, skills, trends, and opportunities facing the sector and its workforce. Their responses provided the following key insights:

  • Employers that hire cleantech workers come from a variety of industries such as Natural Resources, Utilities, Construction, Manufacturing, among others.
  • Increased demand, corporate environmental commitment, and overall growth are driving cleantech revenue amongst businesses surveyed.
  • More than half of respondents plan to hire cleantech positions in the next 12 months, but they are experiencing shortages in a variety of occupations, and skills.
  • Some employers are implementing strategies to address labour shortages, however broader workforce solutions are needed to ensure an adequate supply of skilled workers are available in the months and years to come.

What is Cleantech?

In the survey, Eco Canada defined Cleantech as any technological process, product, or service that:
1) provides superior performance or lower costs than the current norm or standards,
2) minimizes negative environmental impacts, and
3) makes more efficient and responsible use of natural resources.

In other words, it is any technology that uses less material or energy, generates less waste, and causes less negative environmental impacts than the industry standard.

Download the report to get more insights into the cleantech sector.

About Eco Canada

ECO Canada is the steward for the Canadian environmental workforce across all industries. The organization is involved in job creation and wage funding, environmental training and labour market research. For over 25 years, the not-for-profit organization has forged academic partnerships, tools, and research not only to train and certify environmental job seekers, but also to help address labour and skill shortages.

 

Nominations for the 2020 Canadian Brownie Awards Are Now Open

The Canadian Brownfields Network (CBN) Brownie Awards are given to recognize excellence in brownfield remediation and reuse. They are presented in six categories for projects/programs and one category for individual achievement. All project/program nominations are eligible for consideration as Best Overall Project and, depending on their size/scope, for either Best Large or Best Small Project. Information on the award categories is available at https://canadianbrownfieldsnetwork.ca/brownfield-awards/brownies.

 

There is no charge to submit a nomination, and there is no requirement that anyone involved with the project be a CBN member. Additional information on the nomination and judging process is available on the FAQ page at https://canadianbrownfieldsnetwork.ca/brownfield-awards/brownies/brownies-faq.

Starting with last year’s Brownies, CBN introduced a two-stage nomination process. The first stage involves submission of a simplified nomination form. These will be reviewed by our judging panel and finalists in each category will be invited to submit a more detailed nomination. Key dates are:

Nominations open Now
Short-form nominations due September 18
Finalists selected September 25
Detailed nominations due October 14
Awards Gala November 24

For ideas on what makes a winning project, please see:

For questions with regards to the awards process, please contact CBN Past President Grant Walsom by email at [email protected] or by phone at 519-741-5774 ext. 7246.