The revitalisation of Toronto’s waterfront is one of the largest urban brownfield remediation projects in the world. Much of Toronto’s waterfront was constructed by filling in parts of Lake Ontario with materials that are considered contaminated by current standards. Remediation efforts within the waterfront area included the excavation and removal of contaminated soil, which was expected to generate in excess of two million cubic metres of impacted soil.
To deal with the almost 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of waterfront land requiring remediation prior to redevelopment, Waterfront Toronto wanted to establish a pilot soil recycling facility to evaluate the best soil remediation tools and techniques available to determine the technological, environmental and economic feasibility before proceeding with a permanent, full-scale facility.
Waterfront Toronto planned to use the latest and best technologies to treat and reuse the soil, rather than ‘digging and dumping’, which simply transfers the contamination and problems to landfill sites. The strategy was to recycle the soil as much as possible. It would also provide a source of treated soil that can be used in the revitalisation of the waterfront.
The goals of the pilot were to identify the range of treatment options and costs of remediating soil, as well as to confirm that impacted soil can be treated to environmental standards set by the Ministry of the Environment.
Every effort was made to ensure that the pilot soil recycling facility was operated in a way that is protective of human health and the natural environment. Dust control, air monitoring, water, and runoff control measures were all put in place.
DEC and the other facility operator processed approximately 20,000 cubic metres of soil and then prepared reports for Waterfront Toronto’s review and assessment.