In October 2008, the Ontario Government proposed amendments to Ontario Regulation 153/04, Brownfields Records of Site Condition. If passed, the proposed amendments will implement the balance of the legislative reforms made to the Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Water Resources Act in 2007. Highlights of the proposed amendments, which were posted for comment on the Environmental Registry, include: the process involved in submission of records of site condition and environmental site assessments; offsite liability protection; streamlined risk assessment; and strengthened soil and groundwater site condition standards.
Submission of Records of Site Condition (“RSC”) and Environmental Site Assessments (“ESAs”)
Under the proposed amendments, the Ministry of the Environment would advise the property owner within thirty business days if the submitted RSC can be filed or if the Ministry will undertake a technical review. Minimum requirements would be set for conducting Phase One and Phase Two ESAs. In addition, conflict of interest requirements may affect a “Qualified Person” or his or her employer if such person holds a direct or indirect interest in property that is the subject of a RSC, risk assessment, or ESA.
Offsite Liability Protection
The proposed amendments would clarify off-site liability protection by specifying what concentration of contaminants migrating off-site would result in loss of liability protection. The proposed amendments would also set out the requirements for eligible property owners to obtain off-site liability protection, namely, by undertaking additional work and making additional certifications in the RSC.
Streamlined Risk Assessment
As an alternative to meeting generic standards and the traditional risk-based assessment process, the proposed amendments would provide practitioners with a Ministry-approved Modified Generic Risk Assessment model via a web-based tool that would allow applicants to modify the Ministry’s generic site condition standards for use in a RSC. The model could be adjusted to match the applicant’s site-specific conditions.
Strengthened Soil and Groundwater Site Condition Standards (“SCS”)
The proposed amendments would update SCSs for soil and groundwater to reflect advances in science as well as include new standards for several contaminants. Various technical amendments to complement the Brownfield reforms are also included in the proposed amendments.
The comment period for the proposed amendments closed on February 10, 2009 and the Ministry is now considering comments that were received.