Ontario HazWaste program changes
Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment has approved changes to the Consolidated Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (CMHSW) program plan proposed by Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO). The revisions are intended to address the issue that arose approximately two years ago, when retailers began charging eco-fees on various hazardous household products and significant opposition to the fees was mounted. The fees had been introduced by retailers because certain groups of products had become subject to the CMHSW program. With the revisions, the CMHSW program will, as of October 1, 2012, only include Phase 1 municipal hazardous or special wastes (such as paints and coatings, solvents, oil filters, antifreeze, propane tanks, fertilizers and pesticides).
Responsibility for Phase 2 municipal hazardous or special wastes will be transferred to a provincially-funded program entitled the “Selected Household Hazardous Waste Initiative,” which will be managed by a not-for-profit organization that has yet to be determined. Funding in the amount of up to $3.5 million per year for the next three years will be provided to permit municipal management of six wastes: fire extinguishers, rechargeable batteries, fluorescent light bulbs and tubes, mercury-containing devices such as thermostats and thermometers, pharmaceuticals, and sharps and syringes.
Containers for Phase 3 wastes, which include items such as household cleaning products, bleaches and camping fuels, will be required to be completely emptied by consumers such that no toxic or hazardous wastes remain in these containers. On this basis, there will be no need for a diversion program or for funding associated with these hazardous materials.
Stewardship Ontario will continue to manage Phase 2 and Phase 3 wastes during the transition period, with municipal costs being covered until September 30, 2012. Municipalities that currently manage waste materials will need to plan for the transition, since they will be required to provide this service without funding from the Province of Ontario, or retailers or manufacturers of the products.
Incineration projects in BC
British Columbia recently amended its Reviewable Projects Regulation to address environmental assessment requirements for incineration projects. The amendments apply to certain facilities for the treatment or disposal of municipal solid waste.
Facilities include: landfills with a design capacity of greater than 250,000 tonnes per year; devices that, with or without energy recovery, destroy waste using high temperatures with a design capacity of greater than 225 tonnes per day; or devices that, with or without energy recovery, destroy waste using high temperatures and which are located in the Greater Vancouver Regional District or the Fraser Valley Regional District.
Excess soil management in Ontario
Ontario’s environment ministry is updating its guide for best practices for managing excess soil generated by large scale redevelopment and construction projects. The reason for the update is the numerous requests for clarification of the rules that apply to excess soil management, including when such soil must be managed as waste. The ministry has indicated that it doesn’t intend that the guide apply to small-scale construction activities at single-dwelling residential properties, or activities associated with small-scale municipal road work or sewer and water main construction.
The guide proposes that excess soil may be reused at a project site or other redevelopment sites, where the quality of the soil is appropriate. It also permits the use of excess soil for site alteration or re-grading. Excess soil may also be managed at approved soil recycling or treatment facilities, placed at a commercial fill site, or disposed of at a ministry-approved landfill site.
The guide recommends that a Soil Management Plan include testing of soil to ensure chemical parameters are characterized based on the assessment of a qualified person. In addition, the guide suggests that a Fill Management Plan include erosion control and run off controls. The guide also suggests that consideration should be given to whether other municipal or conservation authority approvals or permits are required for soil banking operations and that soil should not be stored at a soil bank for more than two years.
Rosalind Cooper, LL.B., is a partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Toronto, Ontario. Contact Rosalind at email@example.com