How to Dispose of Contaminated Soils: A Guide for Ontario

Dealing with contaminated soil can be a complex process. Proper disposal is not only crucial for environmental protection but also for legal compliance and avoiding potential financial liabilities. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to dispose of contaminated soils in Ontario.


Testing and Understanding Soil Composition

Before any disposal efforts, it’s essential to know precisely what contaminants are in the soil. This involves having soils tested to meet O. Reg. 406/19, and sampled by a QP to test the soil at a certified lab. The type of contaminants—whether heavy metals, pesticides, petroleum products, or other substances—will determine the appropriate disposal method and facility. In Ontario, certain types of contaminated soil can only be treated at specific facilities equipped to handle those contaminants.

Soil should be tested for the purpose to satisfy the Reg. 406/19: On-site and Excess soils management(excess soil regulation). This includes provisions applicable to soil excavated at a project area, managed within a project area, and being removed from a project area.

This should be done by a Qualified person. Who is a Qualified Person (QP) for 406 19? Reg. 406/19 is defined the same as is O. Reg. 153/04. The QP must holds a licence under the Professional Engineers Act or hold a certificate of registration under the Professional Geoscientists Act, 2000 and is a practising member.

Choosing Licensed Facilities

It’s crucial to work only with facilities that are licensed to handle and dispose of contaminated soils under Ontario’s soil regulations. These facilities are equipped to manage various types of contaminated soils in accordance with provincial standards. Importantly, Ontario’s regulations also stipulate that the soil generator (the party that originally possessed the contaminated soil) could be financially responsible for the entire disposal process, including any future issues that arise from improper disposal. Therefore, ensuring that the facility adheres to all regulations is not just regulatory compliance but also a financial safeguard.

Quantifying the Soil

Understanding the volume of contaminated soil you need to dispose of is critical. Quantities are typically measured in metric tonnes or cubic metres. This quantification will help in planning the logistics of soil removal and in estimating costs. Larger quantities may receive different handling procedures or pricing structures from disposal facilities.

Arranging Transportation

Transporting contaminated soil requires careful planning. Depending on the quantity and distance to the disposal facility, you might need multiple trucks or specific types of vehicles equipped to handle hazardous materials. Ensuring that the transport company is licensed for the transport of contaminated materials is also essential for compliance and safety.

Utilizing Transfer Stations

For many cases, a transfer station can be a practical interim solution. These facilities allow for the temporary storage and subsequent redistribution of soil to the appropriate disposal facilities. Essential Soils Solutions (ESS), for instance, leverages its network to efficiently manage the transfer of inbound soils to a Class 1+ facility, ensuring safe and compliant disposal. This can be particularly beneficial for large-scale remediation projects where direct transport to a final disposal site is logistically or financially unfeasible.

Seek Professional Help

Navigating the complexities of soil disposal regulations and logistics can be daunting. It’s advisable to seek assistance from experts in the field. Essential Soils Solutions offers comprehensive services that ensure your soil disposal needs are managed professionally and in compliance with regulations. Asking for professional help can not only streamline the process but also provide peace of mind knowing that your soil disposal strategy is environmentally sound and legally compliant.

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