Regulation - LGIC

An Update of Ontario’s Compost Guideline and Regulatory Framework

Regulation Number(s):
Ontario Regulation 347
Ontario Regulation 267/03
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990 and Nutrient Management Act, 2002
Summary of Decision:
In order to support a new Compost Framework, amendments to Regulation 347 under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and Ontario Regulation 267/03 under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (NMA) to support the new Ontario Compost Quality Standards, filed on September 24, 2012.

The new Compost Framework includes three new categories of finished compost - AA, A, and B to replace the current single category and new standards to encourage composting of more organic materials.

The new Ontario Compost Framework will continue to uphold a strict set of standards. Each category has standards for metals, pathogens, maturity and foreign matter for each category of compost that reflect the quality of the compost and a risk-based approach to public health and environmental protection. There are also new feedstock standards for metals concentrations (i.e., input materials) for each category.

The new quality standards would start taking effect on January 1, 2013 with some requirements being phased in by July 1, 2015. Existing composting facilities already producing high quality compost that is being used without ministry approvals would have until July 1, 2015 to meet all of the Category AA standards. This would allow those facilities to make changes to their operations over a two and a half year timeframe to meet all the Category AA standards. Starting in Summer 2012, the ministry will use the new composting facility guidelines when issuing and amending facility environmental compliance approvals.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
November 25, 2009
Summary of Proposal:
To support the composting of more organic materials, the proposed new compost Guideline would establish three new categories for finished compost (AA, A and B). The Guideline would set out quality standards (metals, pathogens, maturity and foreign matter) for each category of compost, as well as restrictions for the use of each category commensurate with the quality of the product and the risks associated with its application, to ensure protection of the environment and human health.

Amendments to Reg. 347 under the EPA:
The proposed amendments to Reg. 347 would establish the following exemptions from the definition of “waste” for certain compost that meets the standards and requirements in the compost Guideline:

Exempt Category AA compost that meets the quality standards set out in the Guideline from the definition of “waste”, which would exempt Category AA compost from the ministry’s approval requirements for use and transport.

Exempt Category A compost that meets both the quality standards and labelling requirements set out in the Guideline from the definition of “waste”, which would exempt Category A compost from the ministry’s approval requirements for use and transport. Labelling requirements would ensure that generators inform end-users about proper compost application to prevent excessive levels of metal in the soil.

Category B compost would continue to be a “waste” under the EPA, which is subject to all of the ministry approval requirements for transportation, use and disposal. However, Category B compost may be put to beneficial use through a variety of regulated uses, such as on agricultural land as a ‘nutrient’ under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002, or as a soil conditioner on non-agricultural land (e.g., for land reclamation, mining rehabilitation, reforestation, etc.), pursuant to an organic soil conditioning site Certificate of Approval.

The ministry also proposes to exclude compost from the retail exemption in s.3(2)1 of Reg. 347. Currently, any compost that is “offered for retail sale to meet a realistic market demand” is exempt from the requirements under Part V of the EPA and Reg. 347.

Amendments to O. Reg. 267/03 under the NMA:
The following amendments to O. Reg. 267/03 are proposed to ensure consistency with the proposed Compost Guideline and the proposed amendments to Reg. 347 under the EPA:

Amend the definition of “Compost Guidelines” in O. Reg. 267/03 to reflect the revised name of the guidelines.

Amend the definitions of “non-agricultural source material“ (NASM) and “agricultural source material“ (ASM) in O. Reg. 267/03 to exclude compost that meets the “Category AA” or “Category A” quality criteria set out in the revised Compost Guideline.

List “Category B Compost” as a “Category 3” material in O. Reg. 267/03. Under the NASM framework, all materials that contain sewage biosolids or human body waste are listed as a “Category 3” material. Category B compost is likely to contain sewage biosolids.

Exempt Category B compost from the additional pathogen testing requirements set out in O. Reg. 267/03. Under the compost framework, all compost would be required to meet strict pathogen treatment and testing requirements, which meet the low pathogen requirements (“CP1”) under the NASM framework. Therefore, compost would not need to be tested for pathogens again.
Contact Address:
Stephen Jones
Senior Policy Analyst
Ministry of the Environment
Integrated Environmental Policy Division
Waste Management Policy Branch
Non-Hazardous Waste Policy Section
135 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 7th
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1P5
Phone: (416) 314-4633
Fax: (416) 325-4233
Effective Date:
January 1, 2013