Your Options for Excess Soil Temporary Storage Under Ontario’s O. Reg. 406/19
October 26, 2020
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In Canada, the province of Ontario has passed new regulations on the management of Excess Soil – essentially soil excavated from construction sites.

Ontario Regulation 406/19 sets out five options for temporary storage of Excess Soil, if you are not able to find another site to take immediate delivery. Excess Soil that is sent directly to a Reuse Site will not be considered as waste. Excess soil that is sent to a temporary storage site will remain categorized as waste until the soil is sent to an approved receiving Reuse Site. Knowing your options is an important part of a construction project’s success when it comes to Excess Soil management including temporary soil storage pending final re-use site disposition or off-site disposal.

Project Area

This is defined as “the property on which the Project activities are being carried out, including site development/alteration, construction including infrastructure projects, and any removal of liquid soil/sediment from a surface water body”. The most economical and sustainable option for your excavated soils is to reuse it on-site (i.e., within the Project Area) if possible. In fact, if it does not need to leave the Project Area, it is not considered Excess Soil under O.Reg. 406/19. Consider that there may be a need for fill for your project, such as to bring part of the property up to grade, or to create soil berms for a purpose such as noise-shielding. However, if these soils are used in your Project Area, you still want to make sure that the soil in question has the geotechnical properties that meet your project’s construction requirements and that it is environmentally suitable for the proposed land use.

If you can’t use the material on the Project Area, it will be considered Excess Soil if sent directly to a Reuse Site. If you don’t yet have a place to take it, O.Reg. 406/19 does allow for temporary storage of the soil on your property. O.Reg. 406/19 also permits the use of the Project Area for soil processing such as passive and active dewatering, passive aeration, mixing of soils for consolidation, size-based sorting including debris removal, and mixing for dewatering/solidification; however, soil mixing is NOT to be done with the intention of diluting contaminant concentrations.

This option works best if:

  • You have a large building site, with open areas available to stockpile soil and if necessary, carry out the required activities within your Project Area.
  • The soil on site is relatively “clean” or only lightly impacted (as in a Greenfield site), or you have a clear idea where the impacted soil is in your Project Area, and you can keep this segregated from the clean soil. Failure to properly segregate the clean and impacted soils can result in significantly higher management and disposal costs later.

Class 2 Soil Management Site

This is a temporary off-site location, on property owned and managed by a public body, or the Project Leader for the project the soil originally came from. It does not need an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) if it stays below 10,000 cubic metres. A Class 2 site can do limited soil processing, including passive aeration, soil turning, size-based sorting, and debris removal, but NOT dewatering or mixing for solidification.

This option works best if:

  • You lack space at your Project Area to manage the Excess Soils.
  • You are a Public public body such as a municipality or provincial/federal government.
  • You have available, unused properties nearby.
  • You can keep your soil under the 10,000 cubic metre limit – and your soil in piles of no more than 2,500 cubic metres.
  • The site is used only for soils from your project site(s) (i.e. not for soils generated by others).
  • You find a beneficial reuse for the soil within two years after the Excess Soil is first deposited at the Class 2 soil management site.

Class 1 Soil Management Site Approved for Soil Processing

This type of facility can accept soil that does not meet excess soil standards, needing treatment before it is destined for a Reuse Site. This is an off-site location, owned and operated by a third party. It requires an ECA that permits the treatment process, and can accept soil from more than one project. Types of contaminated soil accepted vary among Class 1 sites depending on the permitted treatment technology at the facilities available. As soils are processed for meeting ECA requirements, the Excess Soil lifecycle stops once sent to the Class 1 site. For reusing the treated soil, the Excess Soil lifecycle restarts with the Class 1 site as the originating property.

This option works best if:

  • You have impacted soil that you need to move off your site as quickly as possible.
  • The soil you offer has impacts that are within those meeting the criteria set out by the Class 1 soil management site ECA.
  • A suitable Class 1 site is available near your Project Area.

Class 1 Soil Management Site Approved as a Soil Bank

This type of facility is for clean soil from more than one project and requires an ECA. It can be stored for up to two years at an off-site location that is owned and operated by a third party, until the soil can be deposited at a Reuse Site.

This works best if you:

  • Lack space at your Project Area to manage the Excess Soil or you don’t have a suitable Class 2 site available.
  • Have a project in the works that will need some fill within the two-year limit.
  • Have documentation showing that your soil has been tested according to the legislation, and you can prove that you’ve followed due process.

Local Waste Transfer Facility

This is a public body operated waste processing location, which may be permitted to do the same processing as a Class 2 site including mixing and liquid soil processing, for soil from Public Infrastructure projects. Dependent on the actual site ECA, many of these may have limited capacity and offer only a short-term storage solution.

This works best if you:

  • Are working on a public-sector infrastructure project.
  • Lack space at your Project Area to manage the Excess Soils.
  • Have a relatively small quantity of soil (as is the case with many linear projects such as sewer line or water main replacements).
  • Need to get soil off your site quickly (as with projects in a roadway).
  • Have a nearby waste transfer site that happens to have space for some Excess Soil.

It’s clear that O.Reg 406/19 has created new options for soil reuse, storage and disposal – each with a role to play. It is to be expected that the development of construction sites that meet the criteria outlined in the legislation will be a fast-changing picture. For members of the industry, it will be important to stay current on what storage and disposal sites are available.


Denise Lacchin

Denise Lacchin Member Name

Senior Environmental Engineer


Carl Schroeder Member Name

Senior Environmental Engineer


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INFOGRAPHIC:
GOT DIRT? Understanding Terminology in Ontario's Excess Soil Regulations
READ MORE

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:




JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Sign up to get content delivered directly to your inbox

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INFOGRAPHIC:
GOT DIRT? Understanding Terminology in Ontario's Excess Soil Regulations
READ MORE

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:


Denise Lacchin

Denise Lacchin Member Name

Senior Environmental Engineer


Carl Schroeder Member Name

Senior Environmental Engineer



ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Denise Lacchin is a Senior Environmental Engineer with more than 28 years of experience providing brownfield redevelopment strategies and solutions in Ontario. She has successfully worked with clients assessing environmental impacts on numerous sites contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, inorganics and metals, chlorinated solvents and low-level radioactive waste and developing strategies for remediation that complements their redevelopment objectives. Her experience as a Qualified Person (QPESA) in Ontario and as an Environmental Professional (EP) for Site Assessment and Reclamation, includes; developing soil management plans, implementing soil management best practices and tracking systems, and using risk-based approaches for large brownfield/infrastructure sites in accordance with Ontario Regulation 153/04 and now the new On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation 406/19.

Carl Schroeder (M.A.Sc., P.Eng.) is a professional engineer in Ontario with over twenty (20) years of experience as an environmental consultant with Golder. Carl is a Qualified Person under Ontario Regulation 153/04 and has assisted numerous clients with Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) and site remediation for general due diligence and in support of Record of Site Conditions in this role. As a generalist environmental engineer, over the course of his career Carl has undertaken or managed hundreds of environmental projects for large and small clients, including the provision of strategic, regulatory and practical advice to clients on managing their environmental risk relating to property transactions, management of excess soil material, demolition, decommissioning and infrastructure (culvert) management.


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