New provincial regulation calls for higher soil administration on building websites

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TBM staff say a new provincial ordinance on excess land management will have budgetary implications for several of the city’s capital projects

A new provincial ordinance implemented under the Environmental Protection Act is putting pressure on the construction and development industries to better manage excess land on construction sites.

In January the Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Parks issued the new Ordinance on Local Management and Excessive Soil Management (O. Reg. 406/19).

The new regulation is intended to ensure that excavated soil is treated as a resource and, if possible, reused. It is also intended to help prevent contaminated soil from ending up in otherwise clean locations.

“It’s really about the province trying to get a better grip on how to deal with excess land. It’s been an ongoing problem in the province for a while, ”said Shawn Carey, City of the Blue Mountains (TBM) operations manager.

While the new regulation has several environmental benefits, the new standard has a significant impact on planning and project costs in the construction, infrastructure and development industries.

“The idea behind the regulation is good, it’s about reusing soil where we can,” said Carey. “But that causes some cost increases.”

As already reported, the employees of the TBM city have recorded an increase in construction costs for capital projects by 30 percent due to the tendering process. Carey said the new land code is one of the factors contributing to this inflated cost.

Under the new regulation, projects that require excavation must now develop a soil sampling plan that includes sampling, characterization, laboratory analysis, data tracking and a plan for managing the excess soil.

“It requires a qualified person to sample this material and use this sampling and soil characterization to tell us where this soil could potentially end up, where it needs to be, or what it could be reused for,” said Carey.

“Depending on the scale and scope of the capital project, as it depends on how much sampling is actually required based on the volume of excess material, the cost of this part of the project can range from $ 15,000 to $ 30,000,” he continued.

The regulation, which was implemented in January, is the first of three phases to be introduced over the next five years.

Additional requirements for testing, tracking and filing of clues related to excess soil will come into effect in 2022, and restrictions on the dumping of excess soil in landfills will come into effect by 2025.

Carey said TBM workers are currently exploring the possibility of how the city could incorporate temporary storage of excess soil into the redesign of its landfill.

TBM employees are expected to prepare individual employee reports for each capital project in 2021, detailing how the new regulation will affect budgets and project schedules. The first report is expected to be presented to the Council on April 6th.