On December 9, 2009 significant amendments to O. Reg. 153/04 (Records of Site Condition) were made. They were filed on December 29, 2009. The road to a successful risk assessment has become much more prescriptive.
Descriptions of the changes may be found in the Ontario Ministry of the Environment's Overview of Amendments to Ontario Regulation 153/04 and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing's Stepping up Ontario's Action on Brownfields: New Regulations and Standards pamphlet.
The reforms are intended to achieve the following:
- create a more predictable and transparent (and prescriptive) process for submitting records of site condition ("RSCs") by clarifying what environmental site assessment work must be done to submit a RSC and allowing the Province to check and in some cases review the integrity of submissions before a RSC is filed to the Registry;
- improve the protection of human health and the environment by providing updated soil, sediment and groundwater standards based on new science;
- offer a more timely and cost effective approval in some circumstances by implementing a new "modified generic" or streamlined risk assessment as an alternative to meeting generic standards and completing the traditional risk assessment process;
- clarify liability for property owners by allowing those who have not caused pollution to enjoy the protection RSCs give from provincial orders so long as contaminants do not migrate beyond the property boundaries above specified levels, and provided that the owners meet other conditions for protection.
The Ministry of the Environment and other ministries are in the process of developing new guidelines to accompany the regulatory reforms. Several fact sheets and other background information are available on the EBR posting for the amendments.
Stay tuned for further details.