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Managing fill- an update

A knowledgeable reader brings us up to date  about “Managing Fill: when is surplus soil a “waste”, and where can it go?” Hello Dianne, You have done an excellent job of briefly capturing the excess soil handling issues in Ontario including the high costs, the continuing regulatory confusion regarding surplus soils as a waste and the growing frustration at the municipal level of government, in dealing with the final, legal disposition of excess soils in compliance with regulatory requirements. I currently chair the Canadian Brownfields Network’s Technical Advisory Committee. As such, CBN has been examining, as part of an ongoing jurisdictional review, issues and potential solutions around excess soil management nationally with a particular focus on reducing the “dig and dump” practices in Ontario.

I would like to clarify or CL:AIRE-ify (as my friend Todd Latham suggested) the last paragraph of your posting with reference to the basis of the Ontario MOE’s draft “Soil Management – A Guide for Best Management Practices” document. The MOE based their initial 2011 and subsequent April 19th, 2012 draft BMP primarily on inputs from their ongoing stakeholder consultation process. During this consultation process there may have been limited references made to soil management approaches in other jurisdictions namely the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (CL:AIRE).

To their credit, the MOE in their most recent April 19th, 2012 draft recognized stakeholder comments and included in that document encouragement of the development of industry codes of practices to fill identified “gaps” . References (Pg 4) “…. encouraging the consideration of all applicable codes of practice.” and reference (Pg 8) “…..the ministry promotes the reuse of excess soils generated by civil construction activities.”

In consideration of the preceding opportunity and the need for the further development of appropriate industry specific excess soil practices, the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO), initiated the development of a construction industry best management practice document for excess construction soils. This process includes my engagement in drafting the document under the direction of an industry steering committee, including MOE representation, and led by Andy Manahan, Executive Director RCCAO.

For the record, the basis for the RCCAO document currently being drafted called “Best Management Practices for Handling Excess Construction Soils in Ontario” is in fact the recently developed and successfully implemented CL:AIRE document “Definition of Waste:Development Industry Code of Practice”. This UK document is a very comprehensive, voluntary code of practice recognizing sustainability principles and the identification of non-waste excess soils at the source of origin.This code of practice applies to both remediation projects or new construction development projects, is current and is a progressive approach. It addresses many of the needs or MOE BMP “gaps” in dealing effectively with non-waste excess soils from smaller civil and residential type projects in Ontario.

Just to update you, the referenced RCCAO draft BMP document is currently out for review on a limited basis. As part of this review, RCCAO has arranged for Mr. Nick Willenbrock, the CL:AIRE person responsible for the development and implementation of the UK Code of Practice, to come to Toronto and lead a half day workshop, September 21st, on the CL:AIRE voluntary approach and specifically their Definition of Waste:Development Industry Code of Practice covering excess soils.

My purpose in contacting you was to make you aware of the RCCAO initiative regarding excess construction soil handling practices and that the CL:AIRE Definition of Waste: Development Industry Code of Practice is in fact the basis of the construction industry best management practices currently being developed.

Should you have any questions regarding preceding information or wish to discuss further, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Andy Manahan. Yours truly, Alan J. Durand Chair – CBN Technical Advisory Committee Cell (647) 888-3797

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