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Originally, SOiiL (Supporting Ontario Infrastructure Investments and Lands) was designed to be a web-based electronic database similar to a very successful soil-matching registry model that had been implemented in the United Kingdom through an organization called CL:AIRE. Demand for this soil matching service in Ontario was low for a variety of reasons, including relatively low tipping fees. As the new regulatory package has the potential to better track and monitor soil quantities and movements, it was determined in 2020 that the matching service would no longer be offered.
Created under the auspices of the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO), SOiiL was launched in 2013 to support the responsible movement of excess soils from construction projects in Ontario through the use of recognized industry excess soils best management practices (BMPs) and in compliance with emerging regulatory requirements.
In recent years, industry stakeholders involved in the excavation, handling and disposal of excess "clean" soils* in Ontario - typically from infrastructure, development and construction projects - have been working to implement acceptable BMPs 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.
Through various stakeholder groups RCCAO and SOiiL have worked with regulators since 2010 to implement excess soil BMPs. Activities have included carrying out studies and consultation sessions examining the issues involved and recommending responsible approaches to soil management and handling. SOiiL has provide input to draft regulations and local bylaws promoting the responsible and beneficial reuse of excess construction soils.
In December 2019, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) announced a series of new regulatory driven changes intended to clarify and promote the responsible handling of excess construction soils in Ontario.
In consideration of the planned new Excess Soil Regulatory requirements being implemented over the next few years the vision, mission and original key goals of SOiiL have been realigned.
The Vision, Mission 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 in compliance with regulatory development.
- Our Mission: To work with Regulators and assist both industry and local municipalities to better understand and adopt emerging new Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Regulations supporting the responsible, beneficial reuse of excess soils locally.
- Key Goals:
- To provide industry input to those entities provincially and locally responsible for developing and implementing new practices and regulatory requirements for the responsible management of excess construction soils in Ontario.
- To provide timely information, studies and reports on excess soil handling developments to all stakeholders involved in excess construction soils and their beneficial reuse.
- To promote new approaches to transporting and beneficially reusing excess construction soils locally in a safe, secure and cost effective responsible manner in compliance with developing new regulatory requirements.
- To encourage the use of the practice of "soil matching" by supporting the development of BMPs and Regulations that facilitate the creation of a Registry and network of both private and municipal soil recycling depots in Ontario.
- To foster collaboration and the open exchange of ideas between stakeholders in Ontario and other international organizations like CL:AIRE in the UK for the adoption of a governance approach, including better practices and regulations focused on the beneficial reuse of excess construction soils in excess soil handling matters.
- To encourage better soil handling decision-making by improving Ontario's data analytics capabilities by supporting the development of the enhanced electronic capture of soil movement information and using metrics to understand the benefits of beneficial soil reuse locally.
* For the purposes of SOiiL, excess "clean" soils refer 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.