The Government of Ontario has issued a letter to raise awareness of proposed amendments to its regulations governing the processing and disposal of sewage biosolids and other wastes that can be applied on agricultural lands.
The letter states:
This letter is written to advise you about the posting of proposed amendments to the General Nutrient Management Regulation (O. Reg. 267/03), under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002, (NMA) for the management of non-agricultural source materials (NASM), milking centre washwater and anaerobic digestion on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry (EBR #: 010-6515) on June 29, 2009. NASM includes sewage biosolids, food processing residuals and other materials not generated by an agricultural operation that can be used as a nutrient on agricultural lands.
As you may be aware the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) are working to complete the second stage of a two stage initiative to improve the regulatory framework governing the application of NASM on agricultural land. This initiative proposes to manage NASM as a nutrient instead of as a waste when used to enhance the productivity of agricultural land.
The ministries have developed a framework that would strengthen Ontario’s already strict land application standards for these materials. The proposed framework supports MOE’s waste diversion goals, as it encourages the proper beneficial use of organic materials through land application that will enhance the productivity of soils, rather than sending these materials for disposal.
The proposed regulatory framework would:
· manage non-agricultural source material on agricultural land as a beneficial nutrient;
· establish and revise existing standards and approval requirements for NASM, under O Reg. 267/03, to focus on the quality of the materials;
· streamline the regulatory process by removing overlapping approvals;
· provide notification to the local district office of the MOE prior to the land application of NASM;
· ensure environmental protection by extending the existing framework to include all agricultural land where NASM is applied in Ontario, as opposed to just those farms that are already required to have a nutrient management strategy;
· require approval under the NMA for the land application on agricultural land of materials with higher metal or pathogen concentrations, that are still within acceptable levels (e.g. sewage biosolids and pulp and paper biosolids); and
· amend requirements for anaerobic digestion facilities to allow for the inclusion of a wider variety of off-farm biomass sources and revise storage requirements.
The standards in the proposed regulatory framework focus on the quality of the NASM being land applied. A companion regulatory exemption would be added to Regulation 347 under the EPA, which would exempt the application of NASM on agricultural land that meets certain quality standards criteria, from the requirements of Regulation 347 and Part V of the EPA.
Responsibility for the proposed framework will be shared by OMAFRA and MOE. OMAFRA will administer and approve nutrient management strategies and plans. MOE will continue to be responsible for providing compliance and enforcement activities under the NMA, EPA and the Ontario Water Resources Act.
Further details of this proposal and the proposed regulatory amendments can be found on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry which is posted for public comment until July 29, 2009. You may view the proposal at http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/ (EBR Registry # 010-6515) Comments must be submitted in writing with reference to the EBR 010-6515 and received prior to July 30, 2009.
In addition to the posting MOE and OMAFRA and are hosting a series of sessions to review the proposed regulatory framework, provide an opportunity for discussion, and receive your feedback. The meetings will be held at the following locations and dates:
Kemptville – July 8, 2009
Newcastle – July 9, 2009
London – July 13, 2009
Barrie – July 14, 2009
If you would like to attend one of the meetings, please RSVP at least 24 hours prior to the meeting with your preferred meeting by contacting the Agriculture Informat
ion Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or email email@example.com The address and time will be provided upon registration. Please note that these consultation sessions will not discuss milking centre washwater or anaerobic digestion. Please contact Sharon Johnston (OMAFRA) at (519) 826-3118 or Michelle Whitbread (MOE) at (416) 314-9398 for further information on these topics.
Your involvement and input is appreciated as we continue working towards the government’s commitment to the protection of public health and the environment without placing undue burden on businesses and municipalities.
We look forward to receiving your comments.
Original signed by John Vidan Director of Waste Management Policy Branch, Ministry of the Environment and Peter Meerveld Director (Acting) of Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.