Management of Excess Soil



The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has recently revisited policy related to the management of excess soil.  "Excess soil" is soil that has been excavated, mainly during construction activities that cannot or will not be reused at the site where the soil was excavated, and therefore must be moved off site.  Changes to this policy framework would shift more responsibility onto the source site to better plan for its appropriate re-use and track and record excess soil leaving the property, using management plans certified by a Qualified Person (QP).

Ontario Regulation 153/04 sets out standards for soil, ground water and sediment which apply when a Record of Site Condition (RSC) is submitted to the MOECC for filing on the Environmental Site Registry.  The generic contaminant standards are set out in, "Soil, Ground Water and Sediment Standards, for Use under Part XV.1 of the Environmental Protection Act" dated April 15, 2011, (Standards) and are referred to as Tables 1 through 9.  These Standards assume certain conditions at an RSC property as well as an intended property use.  The property uses are categorized in Ontario Regulation 153/04.

The Table 1 Standards (Background) values currently used under Ontario Regulation 153/04 were developed from an analyses of typical uncontaminated surface soil from around the province.  Since naturally occurring concentrations vary throughout Ontario, the Table 1 Standards are based on statistical estimates where approximately 98% of uncontaminated Ontario soils will be below the Table 1 Standards.

However, the Table 1 Standards are not intended to address overall soil management activities, and in some cases may not be appropriate for assessing soil being imported to a Receiving Site.  When considering the applicability of the Standards to a particular site, note that elevated concentrations of contaminants, when compared to the Standards, do not necessary imply that there is a risk to human health or the environment and that remediation is required.  Elevated concentrations may instead suggest that additional site-specific studies, evaluations or assessments are warranted.

For additional information, please refer to the MOECC website and the Fact Sheet entitled, "Bringing Soil to an RSC Property" (PIBS 8429e April 2011).

Trinity Consultants has the knowledge, experience and resources to assist you with any ESA requirements.  For more information, please contact Lou Locatelli at (416) 391-2527 x59, or Suzy Sabanathan at (416) 391-2527 x22.