A wavedeck

Remediating the hundreds of hectares of former industrial lands on Toronto's waterfront will improve environmental health and reduce urban sprawl.

Waterfront Toronto is studying the latest on-site soil-washing technologies as it seeks ways to turn the contaminated soil from a liability into a resource. In a field test, two contractors processed approximately 20,000 cubic metres of soil on site in less than three months.

The cost per tonne was comparable to the traditional dig-and-dump approach, which involves trucking contaminated soil to a landfill. Not only does recycling keep contaminated soil out of landfills, it virtually eliminates dump truck traffic between the site and the landfill. This reduces damage to roadsand to the environment.


Environmental Economic Social
  • Reduces the need to import clean fill, limiting the impact on other sites.
  • When environmental and social costs are included, soil recycling costs approximately $18 less per tonne than the dig-and-dump approach.
  • Soil recycling reduces the noise and road congestion associated with dig-and-dump truck traffic.
  • Revitalized waterfront lands will include vibrant, sustainable mixed-use communities.


  • Finding a way to remediate two million cubic metres of soil contaminated by more than 150 years of industrial activity
  • Finding environmentally and economically suitable ways to remediate contaminated soil on site, rather than removing it to landfills and trucking in clean fill
  • Testing soil-washing, a practice not yet permitted under Ontario regulations

Lessons learned

  • Soil recycling is an affordable alternative to digging and dumping. Given its environmental and social benefits, governments should encourage it.
  • Ontario environmental regulations should permit movement of contaminated soil in the waterfront area, and categorize recycled soil as safe rather than waste.
  • On-site evaluations of similar soil-washing technologies led to more accurate comparisons.


Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Raffi Bedrosyan, Director
Port Lands and Civil Infrastructure
Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation
T. 416-214-1479

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