The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has released
new voluntary guidelines for the handling, transport and temporary
storage of "excess soil" generated during construction or
redevelopment activities (Guidelines). The MOE is encouraging
municipalities and Conservation Authorities to consider the
Management of Excess Soil – A Guide for Best Management
Practices when establishing by-laws and issuing permits or
approvals. The MOE anticipates that industry will develop
complementary codes of practice to support the Guidelines.
Excess soil is excavated, usually during construction, and moved
off-site to be stored temporarily; reused at another development or
commercial fill site; or processed, treated and/or disposed at an
The MOE is encouraging owners/operators of both soil source and
receiving sites to engage a Qualified Person (QP) to undertake a
risk assessment of the proposed reuse opportunities, based on the
analysis and characterization of the soil and the pre-existing
condition at the receiving site. In addition, the MOE
that each load of excess soil removed be accompanied by
documentation (signed by the source site QP) that includes
appropriate and representative soil analyses
not mixing and diluting contaminated soils to reduce the
concentrations of contaminants
tracking all shipments and retaining records retained for at
least seven years after the completion of all excess soil
management activities or their removal from a temporary storage
identifying, mitigating and/or eradicating invasive species in
that owners/operators of potential receiving sites conduct
public consultation, as well as proactive engagement with First
Nations and Métis communities and other stakeholders
not establishing temporary storage sites for more than two
years, and ensuring that all activities are overseen by a QP. The
Guidelines suggest operational best management practices for
Limitations of the Guidelines
The MOE says the Guidelines "will provide essential
guidance for site owners, developers and contractors and will
promote a consistent approach to managing excess soil across the
province." However, the Guidelines do not provide an overall
regulatory framework for soil management in Ontario, nor do they
clarify when an excess soil is a "waste." Standards that
could be used to assess the suitability of excess soils sent to
receiving sites are also "outside the scope of the
1 Soil treatment or processing facilities are not covered
by the Guidelines and are subject to Environmental Compliance
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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