This past week, CFFO called on government to set higher standards for soil testing on excess soil from urban brownfields sites. Government is proposing changes in order to ease red tape for developers.
CFFO has strongly supported brownfield development because it helps to protect farmland. But we are worried that loosening up the rules could harm farmers who accept excess soil on their property. Many farmers have seen first-hand how improperly tested soil has contaminated their fields. Human health is put at risk, and farmland is permanently removed from food production.
CFFO has offered a number of recommendations to government.
First, CFFO has asked the government to enforce a tracking system for excess soil testing and transportation. Ontario has a soil evaluation tool called the Beneficial Reuse Assessment Tool (BRAT). Unfortunately, its use is not legislated or monitored. The result is that the whole excess soil sector seems to run on what is basically the honour system.