New provincial “excess soil management” requirements to create additional tracking and testing requirements beginning in 2021

excess soil bulletin nchca

Ontario Construction News staff writer

New “excess soil management” provincial regulations set to be introduced next January will create new demands and costs for contractors hauling surplus soil from construction sites.

The regulations are intended to ensure that contaminated waste soil doesn’t get mixed in with reusable material. They are being introduced in stages over the next six years, The National Capital Heavy Construction Association (NCHCA) says in a report outlining the new rules and challenges they present for contractors and soil haulers.

“Excess soil means soil, or soil mixed with rock, that has been excavated as part of a project and removed from the project area because it cannot or will not be resulted at the site.”

NCHCA says the first phase of the new regulations (Jan. 1, 2021) sets “new risk-based soil and leachate standards, waste designation and approvals.”

The following year (Jan. 1, 2022), requirements will be introduced for “testing, tracking, hauling records and registration.

The final stage, Jan. 1, 2025, will see “restrictions on landfilling of clean soils.”

There will be grandfathering provisions from Jan. 1, 2021 to Jan. 1, 2025.

NCHCA says estimators need to take into account the extra costs and requirements in bidding jobs subject to the new rules.

Considerations include:

  • How much soil will be removed from the site and of what quality?
  • Will soil be removed from the site in 2021 or 2022?
  • How much testing will be required based on the quantity removed?
  • Has the client identified a beneficial reuse site?
  • Have the additional administrative costs of excess soil management been considered?
  • What approvals will be required?
  • Does the owner have any environmental assessments?  Do you need to engage a qualified person to investigate the site?

Key elements of the regulations include:

  • Clarifying when excess soil can be reused or is considered waste;
  • Replaces or simplifies waste-related approvals;
  • Reuse planning;
  • Ensures reuse sites are not receiving contaminated soil;
  • Requires larger reuse sites to register and develop procedures to track and inspect soil; and
  • Restrictions on landfiling clean soil that is suitable for reuse.

It is likely owners including municipalities and public agencies will build the new rules into their project and bidding specifications. For example, the NCHCA reports the City of Ottawa is identifying potential storage and disposal sites for city projects.

“Specs are being developed regrading excess soil management requirements on city projects and are expected to be ready in 2020,” the NCHCA says. “Currently the city is using general wording such as ‘must comply with regulation 406/19’.”

“The city (of Ottawa) suggests that the city and contractors should  be using the same tracking software when tracking requirements come into effect in 2012,” NCHCA says. “No software has been chosen by the city yet.”


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