Extending Grandfathering for Infrastructure Projects and Providing Additional Flexibility for Excess Soil Reuse

ERO number
019-2462
Notice type
Policy
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
October 6, 2020 - November 20, 2020 (45 days) Open
Last updated

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
November 20, 2020

Proposal summary

As a result of COVID-19-related delays to infrastructure projects and to support reuse of excess soil, we are proposing amendments to the Excess Soil Regulation and other regulations so that technical assessments are not repeated, delayed projects can proceed and soil can be managed more flexibly while protecting human health and the environment.

Proposal details

In December 2019, Ontario made a new On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation (O. Reg. 406/19), supported by risk-based standards that will make it safer and easier for industry to reuse more excess soil locally.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide further clarity and flexibility to support appropriate beneficial reuse of excess soil, we are now proposing amendments to O. Reg. 406/19 and O. Reg. 153/04 under the Environmental Protection Act. The proposed changes include:

  • extending the date applicable to the grandfathering provisions by which construction projects must be entered into by one year, from January 1, 2021 to January 1, 2022, to accommodate projects that are close to starting construction but delayed due to COVID-19
  • clarifying the scope of grandfathering provisions to include geotechnical studies completed by January 1, 2022, to ensure these studies do not have to be repeated
  • replacing waste-related Environmental Compliance Approvals with standard rules for operations processing excess soil for resale as a garden product, and operations managing clean soils for residential development projects
  • providing added flexibility to soil management rules such as those for soil storage and reuse of soil impacted by salt
  • enabling Environmental Compliance Approvals to specify alternative soil management requirements to provide project-specific flexibility
  • updating O. Reg. 406/19 and the Protocol for Analytical Methods Used in the Assessment of Properties under Part XV.1 of the EPA (Analytical Procedure) with the modified Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure (mSPLP)
  • clarifying that the excess soil registry to be used for filing notices will be delivered by the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority and expand the registry’s purposes to also include integration with other third-party systems supporting reuse of excess soil, such as tracking systems, soil matching systems and other non-regulatory programs, considering cost, security and other relevant matters.

Please refer to the Supporting Materials for a more detailed description of the proposed changes and rationale.

The proposed changes would:

  • reduce construction costs associated with managing and transporting excess soil
  • limit the amount of soil being sent to landfill
  • lower greenhouse gas emissions from the sector
  • continue to ensure strong protection of human health and the environment

These proposed amendments support delivery of actions in Ontario’s “Made-In-Ontario” Environment Plan including:

  • recognizing excess soil as a resource
  • developing clear rules to support beneficial reuses of excess soil and to help address issues of illegal dumping

We will continue to work collaboratively with stakeholders and Indigenous communities on the proposed amendments and to ensure the regulations are implemented effectively.

Regulatory impact statement

The proposed changes would result in additional flexibility that would facilitate more beneficial reuse of excess soil. This would result in cost savings for some projects that would no longer need to dispose of excess soil at a waste disposal site or to haul soils long distances.

Changes proposed to grandfathering provisions will ensure projects delayed due to COVID-19, and that were intended to be grandfathered under the existing provision, will still be able to be exempt from the provisions that commence in January 2022, and geotechnical work completed will not have to be repeated. This is anticipated to result in further cost savings.

Other changes provide flexibility, reducing costs of requirements in specific circumstances (e.g. removing the need for and cost of obtaining an Environmental Compliance Approval for certain low-risk activities, flexibility in temporary storage of excess soil and reuse of salt-impacted soils will reduce handling and disposal costs, etc.).

Supporting materials

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Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

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Contact

Laura Blease

Phone number
Email address
Office
Land Use Policy (Environment and Climate Change)
Address

40 St. Clair Ave West
Foster Building, 10th floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1M2
Canada

Connect with us

Contact

Laura Blease

Phone number
Email address
Office
Land Use Policy (Environment and Climate Change)
Address

40 St. Clair Ave West
Foster Building, 10th floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1M2
Canada

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