Excess Soils Regulation & Amendments to Record of Site Condition (Brownfields) Regulation

On December 4th, OHBA attended an announcement by the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Honourable Jeff Yurek releasing a final excess soils regulation under the Environmental Protection Act as well as an amendment to the Record of Site Condition (brownfields) regulation 153/04. The MECP has finalized a package of regulatory amendments generally supported by OHBA that will make it safer and easier for more excess soil to be reused locally by clarifying rules for managing and transporting excess soil. Full details on the announcement can be found HERE.

The MECP released a proposed Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan earlier this year which OHBA responded to with the OHBA Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan Submission in January 2019. The OHBA submission articulated our support for the MECP setting clear rules to allow the industry to reduce construction costs, limit soil being sent to landfill and lower GHG emissions from trucking by supporting beneficial reuses of safe soils. OHBA made an Excess Soils Submission generally supporting a proposed environmental registry posting (ERO-013-5000) on June 17, 2019.

The amendments posted on the Environmental Registry (ERO 013-5000) include: 

• A new On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation
• Complementary and burden reduction amendments to O. Reg. 153/04 (Records of Site Condition)
• Complementary amendments to Regulation 347 (General: Waste Management)
• Complementary amendments to O. Reg. 351/12 (Registrations under Part II.2 of the Act – Waste Management Systems)
• A document adopted by reference in the On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation titled “Rules for Soil Management and Excess Soil Quality Standards”
• Beneficial Reuse Assessment Tool and Related Guide

The regulatory changes will do the following:

1. Reuse of Soil – The On-Site and Excess Soil Management Reg will clarify requirements for the reuse and management of excess soil, including risk-based standards for safe reuse. The Reg also clarifies when the waste designation applies to the movement and disposal of excess soil and replaces or simplifies waste-related approvals with regulatory rules for low-risk soil management activities. These provisions will come into effect on July 1, 2020.
2. Excess Soil Planning Actions – Subject to exceptions, project leaders of certain projects generating or receiving excess soil will be required, starting January 1, 2022, to conduct excess soil management actions before any excess soil leaves the project area, including in some cases characterizing the soil to determine the concentrations of contaminants in the soil. It would also include identifying appropriate reuse sites and tracking excess soil movements. Key information would be required to be registered on a public registry.
3. Landfilling of Excess Soil – The On-site and Excess Soil Management Regulation will restrict the deposit of clean soil at landfill sites unless the soil is needed for cover or functions beneficial to the functioning of the landfill. This requirement will come into effect on January 1, 2025.
4. Brownfields Redevelopment – The amendments to O. Reg. 153/04 include reduced requirements associated with filing a RSC. This includes a reduced need to fully delineate contaminants for properties going through the Risk Assessment process, flexibility on meeting standards in specific circumstances, and removing the requirement for a RSC for specific low-risk redevelopment situations. These changes came into effect immediately.

We would like to in particular highlight three key recommendations we have advocated for: 

– The proposal has doubled the minimum from 1,000 m³ to 2,000 m³ of excess soil leaving the project area to support the housing and renovation-related opportunities created by smaller projects and infill projects.

– OHBA passed a resolution at our 2014 AMM, that the MECP provide an exemption to the Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Regulation 153/04 for requiring a Record of Site Condition (RSC) for temporary roads. This regulatory posting removes the requirement for a RSC for specific low-risk redevelopment situations, including converting temporary roads in construction areas to residential.

– Enabling additional professional discretion while maintaining appropriate levels of protection where salt in the soil is in an area where salt will continue to be applied for road safety.