Important Announcement!

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is seeking your input on proposed FINAL REGULATIONS for excess soil management in Ontario.

Have your say on how Ontario deals with dirty dirt!
Please visit the Environmental Registry by clicking on the link or searching EBR #013-5000.
Comments are due by May 31, 2019


Click here for our Model Fill By-law!


Do you have a soil dump in your neighbourhood?

Are you seeing a lot of dump trucks filled with dirt on your roads? Is the soil being dumped to fill an old gravel pit, or ravine, or to build an aerodrome? It could be a soil dump. There are dozens across southern Ontario.

How bad could it be?

There could be one truck every minute, of every work day, for several years, going past your house to go in and out of just one fill site. The soil at one site in the protected Oak Ridges Moraine has cyanide at 3000 times the acceptable limit. Soil dumped at a sheep farm turned out to be toxic to sheep. A homeowner now has carcinogenic dry cleaning fluid in his drinking water well.

Where is it from?

Most of the dirt is from excavations dug for condo towers, subways, and homes. Some comes from the cleanup of old industrial sites for redevelopment. A lot of money can be made by unscrupulous operators who will pass off as clean fill soil that should be treated as an industrial waste.

Why is it happening now?

In the past centuries and decades excess soil expanded the lakeshore into Lake Ontario for new development. There is unprecedented construction activity taking place now in our urban areas and the incentives to redevelop old contaminated industrial sites have only been in place for a decade.

Surely, somebody is in charge?

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment is in charge if there is an adverse environmental impact, but their initial assumption is that all soil is clean. They have guidelines for handling excess soil but they are only voluntary. Your local municipality is in charge of clean fill but most do not have the by-laws, expertise, nor resources to control the large-scale commercial fill operations nor test the soil for cleanliness.

Somebody should do something!

Volunteer community action groups have sprung up across the province. Several of these groups have joined forces to create the Ontario Soil Regulation Task Force (ORSTF) dedicated to highlighting this issue and pressing for change on behalf of all the citizens across the Province.

What can I do?

Call the MOE spill hotline 1-800-268-6060 if you see dumped soil with debris or smelling of oil. Get the facts about a suspected soil dump by asking at your town hall if they issued a permit for it. Ask if the soil was independently tested to be clean. Educate yourself and others with information from OSRTF and its friends. Inform OSRTF at Express your concerns to your councillor, your mayor, and your member of provincial parliament. Write letters to the editors of your local newspapers and talk to your friends and neighbours.

Click here for our Model Fill By-law!


Support the Ontario Soil Regulation Task Force
to protect Ontario’s farmland and drinking water from dirty dirt.




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