Solid Waste & Recycling


Ontario adopts U.S. haz-waste pre-treatment standards

Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten has announced a new regulation in which hazardous waste will be required...

Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten has announced a new regulation in which hazardous waste will be required to meet the same pre-treatment standards before land disposal as those imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This includes any hazardous waste coming from other jurisdictions.

Because the regulation will change how Ontario manages hazardous waste, it’s being phased in to allow Ontario companies time to prepare and change their operations and to provide Ontario’s waste management industry sufficient time to respond to the increased demand for treatment.

The new requirements will affect approximately 95,000 tonnes of Ontario waste and 85,000 tonnes of imported waste. Roughly 450 tonnes of waste, generated annually by small producers such as local dry cleaners, will be exempt from the pre-treatment requirement but must still be properly handled.


The Land Disposal Restrictions (LDR) Regulation (O. Reg. O. Reg. 461/05) is now law. The LDR regulation prohibits the land disposal of untreated hazardous wastes and requires the wastes to meet specific treatment standards. These treatment standards will significantly reduce the harmful components in the waste, or minimize the ability of the hazardous components from entering the environment once they have been disposed.

The regulation contains the same pre-treatment standards that already exist in the U.S., Ontario’s largest hazardous waste trading partner. It will create a level playing field between the two jurisdictions and stop imports of hazardous wastes to Ontario to avoid U.S. requirements.

The land disposal restriction program will affect generators, carriers, treatment providers and disposal companies who handle hazardous waste. About 3,200 generators produce approximately 95,000 tonnes per year of hazardous waste in the province and send it for disposal in landfills (both on-site and off-site facilities) and land farms (typically used by the petrochemical industry to dispose of sludges produced during the refining process).

The new pre-treatment requirements are expected to impact about 1,950 of these hazardous waste generators. The regulation includes a small quantity generator exemption (those who generate less than 100 kilograms per month) which exempts the remaining 1,250 generators from having to pre-treat their hazardous waste. This group of generators accounts for only 0.5 per cent (approximately 450 tonnes) of the hazardous waste produced.

The requirements will primarily affect companies in the following industry sectors: primary metals, petroleum refining, transportation
equipment, fabricated metal products, and chemical and chemical products. These five sectors account for approximately 75 per cent of the hazardous waste that is being land disposed. The remainder of the waste is generated within all the other sectors in the province.

Hazardous wastes that are destined for land disposal in Ontario will need to meet the specific treatment standards in the regulation before they can be disposed. Hazardous wastes that are not land disposed (e.g. recycled) are not subject to these requirements.

The types of hazardous wastes affected by the regulation are divided into two categories:

1) Listed hazardous wastes. These are specific wastes that are listed in a series of schedules in the regulation (e.g. industrial waste streams, hazardous and acute waste chemicals and severely toxic wastes). These wastes can include industrial solvents and sludges, metal finishing wastes, and certain pesticides. Once treated, these listed wastes can only be disposed in a hazardous waste disposal facility.

2) Characteristic hazardous wastes are hazardous because they are ignitable, corrosive, reactive and leachate toxic. Tests for these characteristics are specified in the regulation. These wastes can include flammable liquids, compressed gases and cylinders, acids and various sludges containing heavy metals. Once the characteristic is removed and the waste is treated to the new standards, these wastes will no longer be considered hazardous and can be disposed of at either a hazardous or non-hazardous waste disposal facility.

The new rules will also apply to about 85,000 tonnes of hazardous wastes imported from the U.S. and other provinces for land disposal in Ontario.

Treatment is designed to physically or chemically change a hazardous waste to provide a level of protection over and above the design of a disposal facility which limits the potential for future impacts to soil, groundwater and air. Each type of hazardous waste must meet a specific standard before it can be land disposed. The waste must be treated to meet a specific concentration limit for a contaminant or where a limit is not available, by using a specified technology. These standards will either:

1) substantially diminish the toxicity of the waste by destroying or removing harmful constituents; or

2) reduce the mobility of the contaminants in the waste that could adversely affect land and groundwater.

The pre-treatment standards are based on what can be achieved currently with best available treatment technologies. Examples of these technologies include: metal recovery from metal bearing wastes using high temperature processes, neutralization of acids, solidification of inorganic sludges and liquids, and incineration of organic sludges and solvents.

Alternate treatment standards have also been included for hazardous soils and debris to address their distinct qualities.

Other changes have been made to the hazardous waste rules. The regulation includes additional requirements for on-site storage, mixing and processing of wastes. This will depend on the type of wastes generated (non-hazardous and hazardous) and the waste activities being done onsite. The following requirements apply to the majority of the hazardous waste generators in the province.

– On-site storage, processing and mixing

Wastes that are stored on-site at a waste generation facility for a period of more than three months will be required to meet new standards. Wastes that are stored onsite for more than two years will require a certificate of approval for the continued storage.

These requirements provide waste generation facilities with some flexibility to accumulate sufficient volumes of waste before disposal while ensuring that wastes are stored appropriately and not indefinitely.

The regulatory changes regarding on-site processing of waste clarify existing practices, outlining when approvals are required and when approvals are not required.

Requirements prohibiting the mixing of wastes with other wastes or materials are included in the regulation to prevent dilution as a means to avoid the pre-treatment standards. This activity can occur if it is allowed by a certificate of approval.

– Generator registration

The regulation includes enhanced requirements for waste characterization, through either analytical testing or the knowledge generators have about their wastes. In addition, generators will be required to identify contaminants, the pre-treatment requirements and the intended treatment method for hazardous wastes destined for land disposal.

– Notification, certification and reporting

The regulation identifies notification and reporting requirements for the generators of hazardous wastes requiring pre-treatment, for the treatment providers and processors of these wastes, and for the receivers that dispose these wastes. Waste analysis requirements are also identified for the treatment providers and processors of these hazardous wastes.


This regulation will change how Ontario manages its hazardous waste. As a result, it is necessary to phase in various portions of the regulation to

1) allow Ontario’s hazardous waste management industry sufficient time to r
espond to the increased demand for treatment capability and capacity, and

2) ensure that the regulated community has t
ime to understand the new requirements and make necessary changes to drive pollution prevention and waste reduction initiatives.

– Storage, mixing and on-site processing approval requirements will be effective March 31, 2006.

– New generator registration requirements will take effect January 1, 2007.

– Land disposal restrictions:

– Listed and characteristic inorganic wastes – August 31, 2007.

– Listed and characteristic organic and mixed wastes – December 31,

– Listed and characteristic wastes – treated to specified standard and removal of all underlying hazardous constituents – December 31, 2009.

The government states that the LDR program is a proactive step to achieve continual improvement in environmental management of hazardous wastes in Ontario.

"It helps ensure that Ontario is not viewed as a dumping ground and that hazardous waste movements between jurisdictions are based on sound business and environmental decisions," says the government media release.

The media release continues: "The program provides an incentive for industry to reduce the generation of hazardous waste, thus reducing costs in the long run. It challenges generators to change their processes and implement pollution prevention initiatives which reduce or eliminate pollution at the source, reducing environmental damage and protecting human health.

"The new rules would also act as a catalyst for Ontario’s environmental
industry to develop new technologies and new business opportunities as needed facilities are set up in Ontario to meet the new requirements."

Overview of hazardous wastes in Ontario

– Hazardous wastes are defined in Regulation 347 through a listing and testing process. These wastes can be corrosive, ignitable, or toxic and require special treatment because they can be harmful to human health and the environment.

– Hazardous wastes are typically generated during manufacturing processes but can also include common household products like cleaning products, used oil and oil-based paints.

– Ontario requires registration and tracking (i.e., manifests) for all hazardous waste by:

– requiring annual re-registration by generators;

– requiring a registration fee; and

– monitoring through an electronic Hazardous Waste Information Network (HWIN) with on-line registration and real time tracking.

– In Ontario, requirements for the design and operation of hazardous waste transfer and processing facilities are regulated by terms and conditions in site-specific Certificates of Approval issued under authority of Part V of the Environmental Protection Act. These approvals and regulatory requirements provide a comprehensive framework for the safe management of hazardous wastes in Ontario.

For further information contact:

Public Information Centre
Ministry of the Environment
135 St. Clair Avenue West
Toronto, ON M4V 1P5
Tel: 416-325-4000 or 1-800-565-4923

Further contacts:

Anne O’Hagan, Minister’s Office, 416-314-5139
John Steele, Communications Branch, 416 314-6666

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