A growing demand for Record of Site Conditions is leading the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to consider modernizing its approval process for brownfield projects and surplus soil, according to a September 2013 ministry-hosted roundtable meeting.
A Record of Site Condition has become a key document required in many commercial real estate transactions involving contaminated lands. Out of more than 650 brownfield submissions to the MOE each year, as many as 500 of those files want a Record of Site Condition to determine whether to conduct remediation, build, purchase or lend the property.
The MOE is meeting with stakeholders over fall 2013 “to raise awareness of the brownfields modernization initiative and to solicit feedback, and identify areas for improvement for the various brownfield services performed by the Ministry,” states a summary of the recent roundtable meeting.
Under the scope of the brownfields modernization initiative, the MOE wants to create a transparent, electronic, and client-centred approvals approach. It also wants to undertake a regulatory review of what is required for service delivery changes.
A key issue at play occurs when properties are unable to meet generic standards and remediation is not a feasible option. Property owners may then undertake a Risk Assessment to establish property-specific standards in order to submit a Record of Site Condition, states the roundtable summary. However, the MOE says it realizes that Risk Assessments are considered costly, time-consuming and uncertain means of achieving a remediated status.
Ontario averages about 175 Risk Assessment submissions each year, as many as 60 being new files, states the MOE.
The MOE wants suggestions about how best to move forward with the issue of surplus construction soils. While there is strong demand for the preservation and reuse of soil as a resource, exactly where in Ontario a business operates could affect the rules.
“Some allow no fill into their jurisdictions, while others have no rules in place relating to soil quality or volume,” states the MOE roundtable summary.
The MOE knows it must consider how changing the process for surplus could affect brownfield regulations and amendments to other waste-related regulations.
To view the groups’ 12 recommendations for permits to take water in Ontario, please click here.
This news item first appeared in EcoLog News. To learn how to subscribe, visit www.ecolog.com