Amendments to Excess Soil Regulation

February 14, 2023



  • Brant Gill, P.Geo., QPESA – Senior Hydrogeologist 
  • Jacky So, P.Eng., QPESA – Senior Environmental Engineer
  • Kam Chan, P.Eng., QPESA – Sector Lead, Infrastructure


In response to certain concerns for “low-risk” projects and for smaller Project Areas with limited space for managing soil, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) has finalized the amendments to the Excess Soil Regulation (Ontario Regulation 406/19: On-Site and Excess Soil Management) which 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.

Click to view Excess Soil Regulation Proposed Amendment (MECP).

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 area is determined to be a “low risk” site, such as a property currently 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 is, or was, an Enhanced Investigation Project Area (e.g., garage, gas station, dry cleaner) or that it has been impacted by historical contamination or where potentially contaminating activities have been identified. The Qualified Person (QP) for the soil reuse site or licensed receiving facility 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 storage limit from 2,500 m3 to 10,000 m3 for each temporary stockpile within a project area. However, the finalized amendment from the MECP has now completely removed the temporary soil stockpile storage limit from the regulation, allowing for even greater soil management flexibility.

Amendment Impacts on Projects

These amendments are not anticipated to result in increased compliance costs to developers, municipalities, infrastructure companies, or other stakeholders. The amendments eliminate, reduce, or provide greater flexibility regarding the requirements currently in the Excess Soil Regulation.

  • The amendment to exempt “low-risk” projects from the Excess Soil Regulation soil reuse planning requirements is anticipated to result in cost savings to certain applicable projects.
  • The amendment to remove temporary soil stockpile storage volume limit will provide increased soil management flexibility
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