Soils Management – How it Affects your Project

Excess Soils Storage

Often unnoticed, overlooked and presumed innocuous soils are actually surprisingly important. Soils may have a substantial impact on your project; be it construction, remediation or improvement of existing property. As such it is important to understand the laws, regulations and nuances of managing excess soils or bringing soils to a site for use.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has a series of best practices for the management of excess soils generated by construction projects which can be found here. The MOECC suggests wherever possible to reuse soils excavated at the site – for instance as landscaping, berms, or for re-grading – to minimize the amount of waste. If not reused at the site of excavation or another commercial fill site, excess soils are considered waste products and are subject to Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) terms and conditions for disposal. This of course may be costly and logistically difficult if there are large volumes of soil to be disposed. Re-use or sale of excess soil is far more beneficial to your project, however the quality of the soil must be assessed prior to removal.

If your project is on the other side – in that it requires soils for re-grading, a commercial fill etc. – it is most likely worth seeking to use excess soils from a construction project’s excavation. This avoids the higher costs of purchasing soils from natural or virgin sources and transporting it potentially much longer distances and mitigating the associated environmental impacts.

Regardless of whether you intend to re-use, export or import soils for your project, the MOECC requires that the soils are analyzed and characterized by a Qualified Person – a professional geoscientist or professional engineer.  Cambium is an excess soils leader with many MOECC certified Qualified Persons that would be happy to assist you. See here for more information and please give us a call at 866-217-7900 if you have any questions.

Online Tool will help Municipalities Manage Excess Soils

The Importance of Managing Excess Soils

As Ontario continues to rapidly develop and cities continue to expand, the management of soils being excavated from developments and construction projects have to be considered. Excess soils are both a useful economic resource and a growing problem due to the sheer amount being moved. Excess soils have many uses such as constructing embankments, leveling or raising ground, commercial fills, agriculture etc. As useful as it  may be, it is not without its fair share of issues; soils may be of very different types and consistencies, be contaminated with pollutants, contain invasive species, be of generally low quality or be inappropriate for use in environmentally sensitive areas.

These issues are very detailed and specific which can make it quite difficult for municipalities to create By-Laws or regulations on the use of excess soils – something that may be very important for local sustainability and environmental damage control. Due to this issue the Canadian Urban Institute has created an online tool for municipalities to use for the creation of excess soils By-Laws simply and easily. The tool provides an easy-to-use interface and provides the language, structure, technical details and examples on excess soils for the creation of By-Laws. This new development should help to improve excess soil management greatly – which in turn will help to protect human health and protect the natural environment.

Cambium offers soils handling services and our goal is to provide a viable and feasible approach that satisfies landowners, developers, municipalities, and conservation authorities in maintaining the integrity and functionality of the natural systems. Give us a call if you have any questions about excess soils or would like further information about our services.