March Waste Bulletin: Organics Processing Technology

03/12/21

Spring is on the horizon and we are looking forward to the changing seasons. With spring comes thoughts of gardening and … compost!  See the following waste bulletin about organic waste management.

Contact our Waste Management Project Manager Heather Dzurko with any questions you have about implementing organics management at your workplace. For more information on our entire suite of Waste Management serivces check out our Waste Audits & Waste Reduction Work Plans

Check out the full federal report

Taking Stock: Reducing Food Loss and Waste in Canada

Excess Soil Guidelines

01/13/21

Starting Jan 1, 2021 the excess soil rules come into force, with the online excess soil registry starting Jan 1, 2022. These two milestones don’t have a direct impact on landfills. Section 22 of O. Reg. 406 pertains directly to landfills and comes into force Jan 1, 2025.

Read more about the upcoming changes you might have to consider at Municipal Landfills:

Harmonizing Cottage Redevelopment with the Natural Environment.

06/1/18

Do your cottage redevelopment plans for improvement align with current acts and regulations?

Your cottage is often seen as a place to unwind and centre yourself; a haven among the trees and cool waters that allows you to step back from the business of life and reconnect with nature. It’s where you laugh, play, and spend endless  hours of quality time with family and friends. The design of an environment can have a powerful effect on your life and as such cottage owners will attest to the continual desire for improvements at the cottage to further enhance their connection and experience with the outdoors.

Cottage improvements could involve anything from removing trees to improve the view to replacing the old, rickety dock with something better. On a larger scale, it may be installing a new septic system or expanding the cottage footprint to accommodate your growing family.

As our understanding of the natural environment grows and our approaches to protecting it change, so do the government policies that regulate development. Improvements or redevelopments to your cottage that were allowed 20 years ago may face a very different set of policies and regulations today. With their close connections to nature and water, there are a myriad of policies that may have implications to cottage redevelopment.

Every municipality has their own set of policies for protecting features of the natural environment. Water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and wetlands are also administered by local conservation authorities. The provincial and federal governments have established a number of acts to protect our natural biodiversity, such as the Endangered Species Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, and the Fisheries Act. Likewise, provincial policies such as the Provincial Policy Statement and the new Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2017) are also in place to guide development in cottage country.

A first step in  redevelopment is to check with your Municipal Development Department. 

With so many guidelines, policies and governing bodies, how can you be sure your cottage redevelopment plans won’t land you in hot water? Which improvements can you implement without the need of an approval or permit? How do you know where to turn if you have to deal with the municipality, Conservation Authority, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)?

Cottagers can be left swimming in circles without knowing how to proceed. But don’t give up on your cottage dreams yet. Often the best place to look for answers is the development department of your local municipality. A competent development planner can help guide you through the various policy requirements for cottage improvements, as well as provide details on other regulatory agencies that need to be involved.

An Environmental impact Study is a tool that guides how redevelopment can fit with the natural environment.

Municipalities and Conservation Authorities often require you to complete an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) or a Natural Heritage Evaluation (NHE) to provide details on any implications your development plans may have on the natural environment. An EIS or NHE is completed by an ecologist, often employed at a science and engineering company, and aims to provide plans and recommendations for how a proposed redevelopment can fit with the surrounding natural environment. It demonstrates to the regulatory authorities the way in which your proposed redevelopment will respond to the policies and regulations mentioned above and helps to streamline the approval and permitting process. It is important to choose an ecologist who will collaborate with you, providing advice and input into your redevelopment plans. They offer an objective assessment of potential impacts a development can have on the environment and will recommend ways to avoid or minimize potential adverse effects. Consulting ecologists are your advocates through the EIA/NHE process and strive to deliver mutually beneficial solutions that ensure your project meets the obligations of the related acts and policies.

With the right connection to people who can answer your questions and a consulting ecologist to provide solutions and alternatives, an EIA/NHE assessment is a key tool that will help make your redevelopments fit within the natural environment.

Give us a call and one of Cambium’s ecologist would be happy to provide further information and advice Environmental Impact Studies or Natural Heritage Evaluations.

 

Septic System Solutions for Challenging Cottage Properties

06/1/18

Interested in improving the water quality of your lake?  Qualified Wastewater Designers Offer Septic Solutions to Reduce Environmental Impact.

Article written by Cambium’s Project Coordinator, Stew Dolstra, B.Sc., Hon., Dipl., BCIN  Well Technician.

On-site wastewater treatment systems commonly referred to as septic systems can be found at just about every rural residence or cottage.  In most cases, a conventional on-site wastewater treatment system consists of a septic tank followed by a leaching bed, both sized and designed accordingly based on the type of building it services.

Many cottage or lakeshore properties in Ontario exhibit challenging conditions in which even the smallest conventional system footprint may not be suitable for a property.  This can be due to limited space available, shallow groundwater, poor soils, shallow bedrock or steep slopes. There may also be setbacks from supply wells, water bodies, property lines, and buildings.

More discrete blending into the existing grade, minimizes tree removal.

In these cases an advanced treatment unit is considered as an alternative to a conventional system.  Advanced treatment typically use some form of media such as plastic, foam, or peat to circulate or spread the wastewater over an area to allow filtration and aeration to provide additional treatment.  Due to the higher quality of sewage treatment provided by this type of unit, a smaller leaching bed is permitted for final treatment and dispersion of the wastewater.  This allows more flexibility to place the leaching bed in an area where a conventional system will not fit.  Typically, the smaller footprint also saves trees from removal, allows for a more discrete installation and saves invaluable space on the property.

Up to 50% less footprint than conventional systems

There are many different manufacturers of advanced treatment units, however in order to be used in Ontario all advanced treatment units must obtain the same certification.  Although held to the same standard, these units offer a wide variety of technology to achieve the required treatment for your property use.

It is important that you consult with a qualified designer prior to selecting an advance treatment unit to ensure the property specific challenges of your site are considered. The designer will take into consideration any challenges with respect to restricted burial depths, power requirements, winterization, variable flows, as well as purchase and installation cost, maintenance requirements, and lifespan to ensure the ideal advanced treatment unit is chosen for the site.

These challenging conditions are typical of cottage properties, making it more important than ever for a property owner to work with a qualified third party wastewater system designer.  Conventional wastewater systems typically cost less to install and require lower maintenance than a system that incorporates an advanced treatment unit.  As such, a qualified designer takes into consideration the site challenges, system requirements and cost, as well as the design specifications to meet the Ontario Building Code requirements. Property owners can be assured that the wastewater system design options presented meet their needs and are tailored specific to the site.

A wastewater treatment system is the responsibility of the property owner as are the costs associated with it.  It is up to you to make informed decisions when selecting both a qualified and experienced designer and installer for your system. It is of the utmost importance to ensure the wastewater treatment system functions properly to protect you and your neighbor’s health and the environment as well as prolong the life of your investment.

Redside Dace now Listed as Endangered in Canada – What Does it Mean for You?

05/18/17

Photo Credit: K. Schmidt

Redside Dace are small freshwater fish that live in shallow streams and slow moving water. They range across the Northern United States and Southern Canada with populations concentrated around the GTA. They were added to the Species at Risk Act in 2009 due to diminishing populations from habitat loss and degradation. Redside Dace require gravel-bottomed waters with overhanging vegetation, much of which has been impacted by agricultural developments as well as diversion of streams and rivers. As of May 3rd, Redside Dace are federally listed as endangered in Canada affording them (and their habitats) substantial protections.

So what does this mean for you? The Provincial and Federal governments provide significant protections for species listed as threatened, endangered or extirpated which may affect any activity that will cause harm to the listed species or its habitat. When a species is listed, it is illegal to:

  • Kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a listed species;
  • Possess, collect, buy, sell or trade an individual of a listed species, or any part or derivative of a listed species; and
  • Damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals of a listed species.

This means that any activity that might affect Redside Dace’s habitat (such as storm water management systems, changing the course of a waterway, excessive sediment or removal of vegetation that might be associated with land development) is illegal without approval.  According to O. Reg. 242/08:

A person who wishes to carry out an activity [that affects Redside Dace habitat] shall comply with the following conditions:

Before beginning any part of the activity that is likely to kill, harm or harass Redside Dace or damage or destroy the habitat of Redside Dace,

i. The person must prepare a mitigation report in accordance with subsection (5),

ii. The person must submit the mitigation report to the district manager of the Ministry, and

iii. The district manager must approve the mitigation report, subject to subsection (6), and the person must have received written notice of the approval.

If you or your company are looking to do work that may affect endangered Redside Dace (or any other listed species) and require a mitigation report, or simply are unsure if your activity may affect an endangered species – give Cambium’s biology team a call, they will be happy to assist you! http://cambium-inc.com/biological-impact-assessment-and-monitoring.php

For more information, see: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/080242#BK28

Shifting Gears and Spring Clean Ups: Fun Ways to Support a Greener Tomorrow

05/11/17

Clean and Green Environmental Sustainability

Spring has arrived and with it a number of environmental clean ups and community eco-events have started in Peterborough. It’s time to spring up and clean up – here are some local Peterborough events to consider taking part in to encourage a green and clean community!

Shifting Gears is one of the annual spring events that Cambium staff has participated in for the past number of years. We take part in the Workplace Challenge and choose car-alternatives – bike, walk, and carpool or telecommute – for getting to work and appointments. Peterborough Moves organizes this month long event. Last year one of our staff even biked to work from Cavan-Monaghan to our Hunter Street Office! The event offers a number of activities including special nights for bike tune-ups, and group rides in addition to weekly draws. Check out the website and sign up – it’s your chance to make the shift towards active and sustainable transportation in a fun and competitive manner.

Everyone has a part to play in keeping our community healthy and green. If you are spring-cleaning your home, check out the City of Peterborough’s Spring Environment Day. It is happening on Saturday May 13, 2017 at Eastgate Park parking lot (2150 Ashburnham Road) from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., rain or shine. This is great opportunity to clean out and recycle items from your home – scrap metal, electronics, single use batteries, and more. A complete listing of items and event details are available on the City website.

Sustainability is a strong component of both Cambium’s work and general office culture. Our team is committed to support community development initiatives and sustainable practices for a greener and better tomorrow. If you or your business are looking for ways to increase sustainability give us a call and we can help; Cambium works with a number of clients to provide options for waste management solutions & audits, sustainability planning, hazardous material disposal, and much more.

Five Solutions to Common Environmental Site Assessment Errors

04/6/17

One of Cambium’s areas of expertise is with Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) and Peer Reviews. Our team completes hundreds of ESAs and Peer Reviews annually.  If you require a phase I or phase II ESA, this technical update provides general information on common, frustrating mistakes in Environmental Site Assessments related work and reporting.  With added due diligence, and words of wisdom, many of these common errors should and can be avoided.

Scenario One: Consultant conducts a Phase I ESA and recommends Phase II ESA work as during the records review; hazardous waste generation took place on neighbouring sites within the prescribed 250 m search radius.

Solution: Regulators allow Consultants to make arguments for exclusion, based on 3 facts, including but not limited to depth to groundwater, direction of groundwater flow, soil stratigraphy etc. Did your Consultant postulate with reasoning why a Phase II ESA was required here or merely provide default recommendations without further consideration?

Scenario Two: Consultant conducts Phase II ESA – Soils Investigation and finds samples near surface elevated with pH, EC and SAR. Consultant then suggests site remediation take place.

Solution: Regulators allow Consultants to take mathematical approaches to averaging pH within a 2 metre radius within the same soil unit. Regulators also allow Consultants to consider whether the Site Condition Standards were exceeded at the property solely because a substance was applied to a highway (i.e. street etc.) which is deemed exempt from the regulations.  Did your Consultant examine these possibilities prior to rendering a judgement?

Scenario Three: Consultant provides a Phase II ESA – Proposal and recommends analytical testing for just about every regulated parameter listed in the regulation.   Realtor solicits two (2) more proposals from competitors and finds completely different analytical work programs.

Solution: Experienced professionals understand which analytical test groups are associated with a particular industry or activity. There is no need to over analyze a site and test for all regulated compounds.   If in doubt, Consultants should rely on MOECC and CCME Guidance Manuals and reference documents, rather than offering everything available via our regulations.

Scenario Four: Consultant conducts a Phase III ESA – Environmental Site Cleanup at a former petroleum tankfarm location. Compliance is achieved for soils remediation, however no groundwater sampling was undertaken or if done, did not include recovery of groundwater within the open excavation.

Solution: A mandatory requirement of Ontario Regulation 153/04, as amended includes sampling and analysis of groundwater when a property was used in part for the following commercial uses: as a garage, gasoline outlet, or dry cleaner. Furthermore, to validate this requirement, groundwater must be recovered within the former remediation area, which means that installation of a monitoring well is necessary, post remediation to ensure satisfactory site cleanup.

Scenario Five: Consultant conducts a Phase II ESA Groundwater Investigation and finds elevated concentrations of several petroleum hydrocarbon compounds and/or volatile organic compounds. Consultant then suggests that site remediation take place, or worse yet, nothing can be done here.

Solution: Never rely on one set of data in such a circumstance. Have your Consultant resample and examine trends within the due diligence period.  Consultants need to recognize when more advanced sampling techniques should be employed.  Examples – Low Flow (Minimal Drawdown) Sampling, finer field filtration (0.20 um filters, when permitted) etc.  Consultants also need to recognize whether the results are trulyrepresentative (repeatable, defendable) or perhaps due to sampling/lab error.

We hope you find value in this blog. If you have any questions or would like further information on our ESA services, feel free to contact our experienced professionals: David Mably, P. Eng., out of the Cambium Barrie office or Brad Sawdon, P. Geo., at the Peterborough office.

Asbestos, a Dangerous Designated Substance Not Visible to the Eye

03/8/17

In a recent article, Asbestos Exposure is Still Making People Sick,  CNN reportes that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to see people suffer asbestos-related medical issues.

In Ontario, Designated Substances are defined as “a biological, chemical or physical agent to which the exposure of a worker is prohibited, regulated, restricted, limited or controlled.” Asbestos is one of 17 designated substances that present health and environmental risks. It can be found in a variety of everyday materials that may be present inside your work and home environment like vinyl sheet flooring, vinyl floor tiles, plaster, vermiculite insulation, ceiling tiles, drywall joint compound, and sealants.  It’s fibres are smaller than the diametre of human hair and even smaller than glass fibre. The risk for exposure and inhalation increase when the fibres are disturbed and exposed to air through the poor condition of the material, demolition/construction, or regular maintenance.

A problem with illnesses related to asbestos is the latency period. It takes a long time for the effects of asbestos exposure to develop and is hard to determine when the exposure happened to an individual.  In Ontario, asbestos is a designated substance and governed under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation 278/05, Asbestos on Construction Projects and In Buildings and Repair operations.  It is important for businesses to have a non-intrusive compliance survey completed for the health and safety of your employees.  If the presence of asbestos is confirmed, a management plan is required to provide instructions and training for staff and maintenance on the proper procedures to prevent fibres and asbestos containing materials (ACM) from being exposed in the work environment.

Additionally, prior to any renovation or demolition, business and home owners hiring an independent contractor are required to complete an intrusive survey to determine the presence of materials which may be uncovered during those activities. Tearing down walls, removing ceiling tiles or insulation – these types of actions can disturb and release ACM fibres into the air.  It is always best to put the safety of your family, employees, and contractors first to ensure they are not exposed to this designated substance.

The removal, disposal and management of the asbestos abatement should be done by qualified professionals. Cambium specializes in Designated Substances Surveys (DSS), Asbestos and Hazardous Material Assessments. If you have any concerns or have questions, Cambium can assess and test for designated substances and develop an abatement plan to manage the removal.

Online Tool will help Municipalities Manage Excess Soils

03/7/17

The Importance of Managing Excess Soils

As Ontario continues to rapidly develop and cities continue to expand, the management of soils being excavated from developments and construction projects have to be considered. Excess soils are both a useful economic resource and a growing problem due to the sheer amount being moved. Excess soils have many uses such as constructing embankments, leveling or raising ground, commercial fills, agriculture etc. As useful as it  may be, it is not without its fair share of issues; soils may be of very different types and consistencies, be contaminated with pollutants, contain invasive species, be of generally low quality or be inappropriate for use in environmentally sensitive areas.

These issues are very detailed and specific which can make it quite difficult for municipalities to create By-Laws or regulations on the use of excess soils – something that may be very important for local sustainability and environmental damage control. Due to this issue the Canadian Urban Institute has created an online tool for municipalities to use for the creation of excess soils By-Laws simply and easily. The tool provides an easy-to-use interface and provides the language, structure, technical details and examples on excess soils for the creation of By-Laws. This new development should help to improve excess soil management greatly – which in turn will help to protect human health and protect the natural environment.

Cambium offers soils handling services and our goal is to provide a viable and feasible approach that satisfies landowners, developers, municipalities, and conservation authorities in maintaining the integrity and functionality of the natural systems. Give us a call if you have any questions about excess soils or would like further information about our services.

Environmental Activity and Sector Registry: How will the Air Emissions EASR Impact Your Facility

03/7/17

A guide to the new Environmental Activity and Sector Registry

Sadie Bachynski, Project Manager with Cambium, has written a blog to answer a number of questions about what the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) is, who it applies to and what it means to your operations.

What is the EASR?

After quite an extensive process of public consultations and stakeholder input, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is now operating the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). The purpose of this new registry system is to provide a streamlined and easy approach to registering an activity that an individual or facility might be engaged in that releases any type of emission into the natural environment – as is required by the MOECC. Emissions may include air, noise and odourous emissions from a given site. This new system is an easy-to-access registry that can be found online on the Service Ontario website.

The idea behind this new system is fairly straightforward: if a person or business is emitting anything into the natural environment they must self-register online before they do so. The government of Ontario website puts this as: “O. Reg. 1/17 requires persons engaging in activities that discharge or may discharge contaminants to the natural environment, other than water, to register in the EASR unless the activities do not meet the criteria in the Regulation”.

Who does this apply to?

New and existing facilities are required to register if they make any modification to their emissions related activity. In essence this is a phasing out of the existing ECA process; however, if a person or business submitted an application for an activity outlined in O. Reg 1/17 on or before December 31, 2016 they will have the option of remaining in the current ECA process or withdraw their application and instead register with the EASR. If a facility receives an ECA process approval, the facility will have to register with the EASR by January 31, 2027 or when the modification to the facility/activity occurs. In essence, the MOECC is looking to phase out the ECA process for eligible EASR facilities by 2027 completely.

One of the major criterions of those who must apply to the EASR is the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code that they report under – these have carefully been assessed for potential environmental impact. Another major criterion is the complexity of the operations/activity being performed. In essence, anyone is eligible – unless the activity/operation in question is complex in nature and deemed to be a “potentially heavy emitter”. Complex operations remain under the realm of requiring an Environmental Compliance Approval from the MOECC. For more details on who is and is not eligible, see the link below to the full Regulation outline.

 

What does this mean for reporting?

This in no way alters the way a facility would have to assess, model, and even report on the air, noise and odour emissions. Nothing has changed in regards to registering – it is essentially the same as it would be for a full ECA in the sense that you still require full reports (or at least the associated screening to say that a report is not required). One difference is that the work is now to be signed off on by a professional engineer independent of the MOECC rather than by the MOECC. Specific documents related to a facility’s emissions of air, noise and odour will have to be supplied to the Ministry and the public and the detailed reports and any addendums made over time are to be kept at the facility.