Looking back on their extensive experience with contaminated soil waste (CSW) management globally, the TUQ4 Team wondered - would the millions of tonnes of CSW managed annually ever be considered a “Resource?”
The industry is dominated by the practice of excavating CSW and trucking it many miles away for placement in a landfill, and then hauling excess soil or virgin materials back from pits and quarries to backfill the CSW excavation – known as “Dig, Dump and Replace (DDR).” DDR in the urban setting just moves the problem and is a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint, contamination of groundwater resources, placement of CSW on rural lands and depletion of the non-renewable pit and quarry natural resources.
It was then that “The Urban Quarry (TUQ)” concept, driven-by the “Four Sustainability Principles” (Natural StepTM), was born. It was TUQ4‘s opinion that for a CSW “Soil Recycling Facility (SRF)” to be successful the following conditions had to be in-place.
- The CSW recycling technology(s) employed is proven and produces for unrestricted beneficial reuse clean soil and granular fill / aggregate, and is cost competitive with DDR;
- The price to customers for the CSW recycling services had to be the same, or less expensive, than DDR pricing;
- The CSW SRF is designed, built and operated to minimize impact on the environment;
- The host community is supportive of the SRF and benefits (local employment, community outreach, and produced product use) from the Facilities presence;
- The local regulatory and economic environment recognizes the need for ”real” Sustainable CSW Recycling Solutions; and,
- Clarity on excess soil reuse quality criteria / standards are established so the local community can confidently use the SRF-produced materials.
In December 2019, the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP) augmented existing regulations, under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), with “Ontario Regulation 406/19: On-Site and Excess Soil Management” and the associated “Rules for Soil Management and Excess Soil Quality Standards,” and combined with TUQ4‘s ECA Granular (>2mm diameter) quality standard, completed the picture for determination of unrestricted beneficial reuse criteria for SRF-produced soil and soil-like materials.
The sixth condition was addressed and environment for SRF success complete!