2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ontario: Draft Guide - Soil Management - A Guide for Best Management Practices

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has released a draft best management practice guide concerning soil management for public review and comment until January 18, 2013.  The MOE explains on the entry in the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry:

Every day, in Ontario, large amounts of soil are being moved to support development activities. This excess soil is mainly generated by excavation during construction and redevelopment activities, and often cannot be reused at the site of generation. Excess soil must be managed in a safe and sustainable manner in order to maintain a healthy economy while protecting the environment.

The ministry encourages the reuse of excess soil, where appropriate, provided that the use does not have a potential to cause adverse effect on human health and the environment, or impairment of water quality, as described under the ministry’s Acts and Regulations. It is the responsibility of all parties who generate, haul or receive excess soil to ensure that it is being managed in an environmentally sound manner in accordance with all regulatory requirements. The ministry would like to clarify some best management practices when engaging in soil management activities.

The proposed guidance document “Soil Management – A Guide for Best Management Practices” is attached for your review and comment. This proposed Best Management Practices guide is intended to provide essential guidance on many aspects of soil management. Please provide comments on the proposed guidance document to support safe, sustainable soil movement and reuse. The ministry will evaluate all comments received to determine if future actions for soil management are required.

The proposed document would provide guidance for the management of excess soils generated from construction and redevelopment projects with a focus on those soils generated from brownfields redevelopment activities taken to commercial fill operations. While the guidance may be applicable to a wide variety of soil management projects, they are not intended to apply to small scale construction such as maintenance and repair activities or construction activities at single-dwelling residential properties based on the volumes generated.

The Soil Management - A Guide for Best Management Practices document only addresses the management of soil (soil as defined by Ontario Regulation 153/04 (O. Reg. 153/04)). The document provides guidance on how to handle excess soil from a source site where it is generated, through to the transportation of the excess soil to a site where the soil can be reused for a beneficial purpose, such as site alterations, re-grading, or filling in excavations, or to soil stockpiling sites for temporary storage. These activities must meet any relevant regulatory requirements and should ensure that there is no adverse effect.

This proposed guidance document would promote some of the best practices that are currently being exercised by those who actively manage excess soil across the province. The proposed guidance is intended to assist municipalities and conservation authorities in their oversight of fill operations through their existing permitting regimes. This proposed guidance will help to provide consistency across the province in expectations for excess soil management.
Soil Management – A Guide for Best Management Practices currently focuses on five key areas of interest:
  • Soil reuse at civil construction and other commercial development activities;
  • Soil generation at source sites, assessment and management;
  • Soil acceptance at receiving sites, assessment and management;
  • Procurement practices for the removal and management of excess soils;
  • Temporary Soil Banking (soil stockpiling).
As part of the Best Management Practices document, the ministry is not intending to introduce new standards that apply to soil movement. The ministry does however anticipate supporting industry in the development of complementary industry code of practices, such as guidance for Qualified Persons for the development of appropriate soil standards for receiving sites.

The ministry encourages all comments and input into the proposed guidance document. The ministry is looking for particular input into what terms within the document require further definition and recommendations on how to define terms within the document, such as “large-scale”.

A copy of the draft guide is available at: For Consultation - Soil Management - A Guide for Best Management Practices