A regulatory proposal to allow for the management and land application of nutrient feedwater under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002.
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Nutrient Management Act, 2002
Summary of Decision:
The regulation has been approved with some changes some of which respond to comments received as a result of the posting. For more information on changes that resulted from consultation, please read the related posting on the Environmental Registry accessible via the link on this page.
The regulation will take effect on January 1, 2015.
Summary of Proposal:
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) and Ministry of the Environment (MOE) are asking for feedback on a discussion paper which outlines a proposal for a regulation under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (NMA) to allow for the land application of nutrient feedwater.
Recently, greenhouse discharges have been identified as contributing to the degradation of water quality in certain Ontario watercourses. Consistent with commitments in the Ontario Great Lakes Strategy (see EBR Notice 011-6418), OMAF and MOE continue to promote rural and agricultural environmental stewardship practices, including water quality protection and the implementation of innovative practices related to water and nutrient recycling.
There are currently options to reduce the impacts of greenhouse discharges on water quality, such as discharging treated wastewater and land applying treated wastewater in compliance with an Environmental Compliance Approval under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and Environmental Protection Act (EPA). The greenhouse sector is seeking additional options that have a more predictable and less costly approvals process and that are specifically geared towards the greenhouse sector.
Nutrient feedwater has been found to contain valuable nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that is beneficial to agricultural crops. This material can be stored and land applied to crops in quantities and at frequencies useful for optimizing plant growth.
The proposal sets out a framework for managing and land applying nutrient feedwater through the use of nutrient management strategies and plans under the NMA, which would ensure the environment continues to be protected. It is important to note that land application under the NMA may not be possible for all greenhouse operations, meaning they will continue to be subject to the current regulatory requirements.
Approval requirements for nutrient management strategies and plans are dependent on the number of nutrient units generated at a greenhouse or received by a farmer. Strategies and plans are suggested to span one to five years and be updated annually.
The proposal includes requirements for storage facilities, transferring materials, applying the materials to land, and sampling and analysis requirements for the nutrient feedwater and soil. It sets out rules for the application of nutrient feedwater on agricultural land, the intent of which is to reduce discharges into waterways and benefit crops. General restrictions to land application are suggested for anyone land applying nutrient feedwater.
In some cases, the proposed rules are stricter than those currently in place for the land application of agricultural and non-agricultural source materials. For example, general requirements would be set for all operations land applying nutrient feedwater, spreading would be restricted on land that is snow-covered or frozen, and nutrient management plans would be required to be completed by a certified person if a significant change to the operation or application occurs.
In keeping with Ontario's goal to promote Great Lakes that are drinkable, swimmable and fishable, the nutrients in nutrient feedwater would be reused on agricultural land and applied in a manner that prevents runoff to our tributaries, which may contribute to algae blooms in the Great Lakes.
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
1 Stone Road West
Floor 2 SW
Phone: (519) 826-4599
Fax: (519) 826-3492
January 1, 2015