Why should the Ministry of the Environment encourage soil
banking (stockpiling surplus soil for reuse), instead of labelling
excess soil as "waste"? Guelph's Laird Road / Hanlon Expressway
interchange project is a good example of the many environmental and
economic benefits from soil reuse. According to an editorial in the
"The story of how 230,000 cubic metres of recycled fill
came to be headed for the new roadway interchange at Laird Road and
Hanlon Expressway is a good one...Kudos to the City of Guelph and
Ministry of Transportation officials for making
this come about.
To salvage and locally store surplus fill from 34 different
Guelph road jobs over the last three years has prevented enormous
waste, hauling expenses and a loss of a valuable road-building
material. Were it not saved and stored locally, the same huge
volume of material would have had to come from much farther away
and most likely from an extractive quarrying operation.
In hard dollars, this long-term, carefully planned initiative
will see the city save an estimated $900,000 in trucking and
material costs. In softer economics, this saved much more, even in
just shortening the distance that in-city road fill excess needed
to be hauled and where it could next be harvested for this other
local works project.
Seemingly capping this ingenious recycling story is the fact
that the greenfield site used to store the material has been tested
and has been found to not have been environmentally harmed in
serving this function. Nor has groundwater in the area been
As well, the denouement of this story will see the site topped
with earth and seed and returned to pristine condition....
This is the first time the city has carried out such a project
to such a scale. It was a smart idea that appears to have worked.
Perhaps it will serve as something other communities can learn
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