CASE STUDY: Waterfront Toronto

Quantifying the net impacts of soil recycling versus “dig and dump”

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“BLOOM is an expert in impact quantification. Their analysis was a key input into our decision-making process, and allowed us to move forward with confidence on our long-term plans for a soil recycling facility.”

Lisa Prime, (former) Director of Environment and Innovation, Waterfront Toronto

Waterfront Toronto has a mandate to transform and revitalize 800 hectares of industrial land into vibrant public and cultural spaces, and sustainable mixed-use neighbourhoods. An estimated two million cubic metres of contaminated soil needs to be managed to enable this transformation.

Waterfront Toronto wanted to shift away from business as usual and manage soils differently than the traditional “dig and dump” approach. They recognized the triple-bottom line benefit of managing soils sustainably as a resource, rather than a liability. The first step was a Pilot Soil Recycling project in 2010, to field test different systems to determine if the soil could be reused and meet environmental standards. The pilot was designed to give Waterfront Toronto the information required to determine the feasibility of a permanent soil recycling facility.

Waterfront Toronto also wanted to understand, quantify and compare the long-term net environmental, social and health impacts of “dig and dump” versus soil recycling. They retained BLOOM to conduct this analysis for both the Pilot project and for a possible long-term facility.

WHAT BLOOM DID

  • Conducted a BLOOM IQ (Impact Quantification) of two on-site soil recycling systems and “dig and dump”.
  • Identified a comprehensive set of meaningful environmental and social indicators, important to Waterfront Toronto and other stakeholders.
  • Quantified the net impacts of soil recycling versus “dig and dump” over a 10-year time frame in metrics that were easily understandable.

HOW WATERFRONT TORONTO BENEFITTED

  • Obtained 3rd party quantified data on the net benefits of soil recycling.
  • Used the data to assist in the decision-making process on whether to proceed with a long-term soil recycling facility.
  • Used the report to support communicating the benefits of the Pilot and soil recycling with external stakeholders and regulators.
  • Waterfront Toronto now encourages developer and construction managers working on waterfront projects to use the soil recycling facility, which is projected to yield environmental and social cost savings of $65 million over 10 years and reduce GHGs by 36 kg per tonne of remedial soil.