Excess soil is soil that has been dug up, typically during construction activities. It must be moved off-site because it can't or won't be reused at the development site.
An estimated 25 million cubic metres of excess soil is generated in Ontario every year. While most excess soil can be reused safely, some excess soil may have limited levels of contaminants and care must be taken when determining where it may be reused. This is a significant concern in urban centres and surrounding communities (including suburban municipalities, rural areas and Indigenous communities).
Improper management of excess soil can negatively affect ground or surface water quality and/or quantity in natural areas and agricultural lands. It is also associated with local issues like noise, dust, truck traffic, road damage, erosion, drainage and other social, economic, health and environmental concerns.
Local reuse and proper management and tracking of excess soil has many benefits including:
- significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transporting soil
- reducing illegal dumping and inappropriate relocation
- decreasing road damage
- decreasing amount of reusable soil going to landfill
- cost savings associated with decreases in transportation and landfilling of excess soil