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SOiiL (Supporting Ontario Infrastructure Investments and Lands) was created under the auspices of the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) to support the responsible movement of excess soils from construction projects in Ontario. The SOiiL initiative and the corresponding development of an Ontario soil matching registry was an opportunity identified during various stakeholder workshops and activities involved in the development of construction industry Best Management Practices (BMP's) for soil handling in Ontario.

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has worked with many stakeholders to develop draft soil management best practices focused on dealing with clean soils involved with site work being carried out under a Record of Site Condition (RSC) as part of the Ontario Brownfields Regulation O,Reg. 153/04 as amended. During this stakeholder engagement activity it was also identified that there was a further need to develop more detailed, industry specific BMP's for non-RSC construction and infrastructure development projects.

Accordingly RCCAO undertook a number of further consultation sessions and carried out additional studies examining the issues and potential enhancements to handling practices for excess construction soils in Ontario. These studies and reports are available for review at RCCAO website.

Over the past two years industry stakeholders involved in the excavation, handling and disposal of excess "clean" soils* in Ontario have been working with regulators to establish acceptable best soil management practices in Ontario. This is in the face of growing public and community concerns and the absence of clear regulatory policy direction or regulations related to clean, uncontaminated soils from non-brownfield sites. These excess soils are typically from infrastructure, development and construction projects.

As part of the development of sound soil best management practices, a number of related supporting activities have been identified. In addition to public education on this issue, two other key components have been identified. One is the need to establish soil handling and recycling facilities and depots to support the beneficial reuse of excess soils by smoothing supply and demand imbalances. The other need or opportunity is to put in place a wide area mechanism to capture soil related information and match those donor sites and projects with excess soils to those receiving sites requiring soil.

SOiiL is targeted to fill this soil matching need in conjunction with the usage of recognized industry excess soils best management practices. SOiiL has the potential to offer users a number of benefits including project cost savings, certainty of soils handling procedures, regulatory compliance, and user due diligence records, reduced transportation costs, lower environmental impacts as well as responsible and beneficial reuse of excess soils.

SOiiL is a web based electronic database similar to a very successful soil matching registry model that has been implemented in the United Kingdom (UK) through an organization called CL:AIRE (Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments). The creation of SOiiL, with the support and input from government and industry partners in Ontario, is intended to create a leading edge soil matching service.

Following is the Vision, Mission or Mandate and Key Goals of SOiiL:

  • Our Vision
    An Ontario construction and development industry that fully utilizes best soil management practices and encourages the beneficial reuse of excess construction soils
  • Our Mission
    To connect soil owners with those requiring soil through the management of a leading edge soil registry system and soil matching database
  • Key Goals:
    1. To establish Ontario's first state-of-the-art soil registry system
    2. To maintain an effective, safe and secure soil matching database supporting regulatory requirements and community expectations
    3. To promote the development of best soil management practices in Ontario by linking the operation of the soil registry database to an appropriate network of industry professionals and government stakeholders
    4. To simplify the complexities of matching those entities with excess construction soils to those requiring soil by encouraging the environmentally responsible beneficial reuse of soils in an effective manner
    5. To foster collaboration and the open exchange of ideas between stakeholders in Ontario and internationally in excess soil handling matters

*For the purposes SOiiL, excess "clean" soils refers to soils that are generated in the course of development and infrastructure projects and excludes impacted or contaminated soils typically found at brownfield type sites.