According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 Waste Management Industry Survey, almost two million tonnes of soil go to Ontario landfills as waste, some of which are reusable. In response, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) has introduced new measures related to excess soil management and brownfields redevelopment.
“Excess soil is a growing concern for communities, developers and our environment,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks in the ministry’s press release.
“When improperly managed, excess soil can negatively affect groundwater quality, farmland and other sensitive areas. Lack of clarity around the rules has also resulted in sending healthy soil to landfills,” he said.
The proposed changes announced on May 1, 2019., 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.
- 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.
The ministry anticipates the proposed amendments will divert more soil from landfill, reduce soil management costs and ensure strong environmental protection.
The ministry also anticipates that the changes will encourage more brownfields redevelopment by removing barriers faced by property owners or businesses that are filing for a Record of Site Condition on the Ministry’s Environmental Site Registry.
The MECP proposal is posted for public consultation until May 31, 2019.