In response to certain concerns for “low-risk” projects and for smaller project areas with limited space for managing soil, the Ministry of the Environmental and Climate Change (MECP) has finalized amendments to the Excess Soil Regulation came into effect on January 1, 2023.
The amendments focus on providing exemptions to the regulation’s Soil Reuse Planning Requirements for certain “low-risk” projects, and increasing the allowable size of temporary stockpile volumes.
Removing Reuse Planning Requirements for Low-Risk Projects
Under the Excess Soil Regulation, as of January 1, 2023, soil reuse planning is required for certain projects, including:
- Filing a Notice of Project on the Excess Soil Registry
- Preparing an Assessment of Past Uses (APU)
- Preparing a Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP)
- Preparing a Soil Characterization Report (SCR)
- Preparing an Excess Soil Destination Assessment Report (ESDAR)
- Implementing an excess soil Tracking System
The amendment provides an exemption of the soil reuse planning requirements if the project is determined to be “low risk”. A “low-risk” project area is defined as a being used, or was most recently used, for agricultural, residential, parkland, or institutional land use, as defined by the Ontario Regulation 153/04: Records of Site Condition.
The exemption does not apply if the Project Leader determines that the project area was used as an Enhanced Investigation Project Area (e.g., garage, gas station, dry cleaning) or that it is impacted by historical contamination or where potentially contaminating activities have been identified. The soil reuse site or licensed receiving facility Qualified Person (QP) may still require environmental soil quality characterization from “low-risk” sites.
Temporary Soil Storage Amendment
The amendment to the Soil Rules document initially considered increasing the temporary soil stockpile limit from 2,500 m3 to 10,000 m3 for each temporary stockpile within a project area. However, the finalized amendment has now completely removed the temporary soil stockpile storage limit from the regulation.
Amendments Impacts on Projects
These amendments will not result in increased compliance costs to developers, municipalities, infrastructure companies, or other stakeholders. The amendments eliminate, reduce, or provide greater flexibility regarding the requirement currently in the Excess Soil Regulation.
- The amendment to exempt “low-risk” projects from the Excess Soil Regulation planning requirements are anticipated to result in cost savings to certain applicable projects.
- The amendment to remove temporary soil stockpile storage volume limit will provide soil management flexibility, that may result in reduced soil movement to other storage sites, if the project area is limited in available storage area.