Large-Scale Fill Operations / Excess Soil



There is a lot of construction happening in southern Ontario, especially in the greater Toronto area.  As the ground is excavated for subways, concourses and parking, where does the dirt go?  Companies have been paying rural land-owners (~$60 per load) to take truckloads of dirt/fill off their hands.  It has become a lucrative business with one Highway 9 aerodrome rumoured to be making around one million dollars a month.


There are several problems for local communities and neighbours where the fill operation is taking place:

  1. Is the fill contaminated? 
  2. Will there be an impact on local water sources?
  3. Who pays for the wear and tear of the trucks on the roadways?
  4. What about the additional traffic, noise and dust?
  5. How does it affect property values?
  6. Who has jurisdiction when there is a problem?
  7. Why are there no government standards?
  8. What happened to the original plan for the land?  What is the community giving up?
  9. How does it impact the natural topography of the land?
  10. Is there an impact on other industries such as tourism?


Adding insult to injury, old quarry sites or gravel pits are being purchased as dump sites for the fill.  This is not the pit rehabilitation originally promised to the community.  The “interim” life-span of the aggregate site is increased.  The traffic, noise and dust are problems.  Neighbouring property values decrease.  Also, with all the stone and gravel extracted from the site, the water table is particularly vulnerable to contamination. 


Ontario does not have a lot of rules and regulations around large-scale fill operations.  It also gets more complicated when an aerodrome or airport is involved as they fall under federal jurisdiction.


“This is not your problem.  Let’s get it solved where it should be solved – at Queen’s Park in downtown Toronto”.  Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (source)



Specific Issues


-            Beechwood Road Environmental Centre, Tyendinaga Township near Napanee

-            Brock Aggregates - Tottenham pit


-            Carmeuse Lime, Ingersoll, Guelph 


-            Ramara Quarry, Ramara Township


-            Tottenham Airfield Corporation (TAC), New Tecumseth, Simcoe County





General News – Large-Scale Fill Operations







CBC News

GTA building boom spawns shadowy “black market” for waste soil

Michael Smee


Dirt dumping under the microscope in Ramara

Frank Matys

AO News - Ramara Quarry


CBC News (Montreal)

Using GPS trackers to fight toxic soil dumping



Dufferin County pit operator fined $67K for violating aggregate license

Chris Halliday

AO News - Aggregate


Stouffville mayor refuses to sign gravel pit amendment into law

Ali Raza

- AO News - Aggregate


Americans Distracted By The Transgender Bathroom Argument While 3 Nuclear Disasters Unfold

Brianna Acuesta

- Bridgeton Landfill, Missouri, fire

AO News - Nuclear


Orangeville Citizen

Mono farmer loses his bid to cover ravines with landfill



In the Hills Magazine

How ‘Clean Fill’ Became a Dirty Word

Tim Shuff


CBC Hamilton

Flamborough struggles to combat dumping of illegal Toronto dirt

Samantha Craggs


Petition:  Rescind the SIA (South Island Aggregates) permit to dump contaminated soil in the Shawnigan Lake Watershed

Shawnigan Lake, B.C.

[indicative of a common attitude re: quarry sites & fill operations]


Toronto Star

Contaminated soil from Toronto construction sites barred from Scugog

David Rider


Toronto Star

Toxic dirt dumped in Ontario’s prime farmland

Moira Welsh


Inside Halton

Court dimisses Burlington airpark appeal

Tina Depko-Denver

Burlington Executive Airpark

- upholds Burlington’s fill by-law


CBC News

Rural Ontario residents fear contents of soil dumped near their properties

Marnie Luke


Sarnia’s Waterfront Park Is Still Closed Due to Asbestos Poisoning

Colin Graf


Mono doesn’t climb on board with farmer’s fill request

Todd McEwen


Youtube / accscscainfo

Video:  Battle for the Springs (17 mins)

Taggart-Miller Environmental Services’ landfill proposal in Carlsbad Springs, City of Ottawa


Inside Halton

Burlington wins airpark landfill dispute

Tim Whitnell


Canadian Environmental Law Association

Blog:  How to say "no" to unsuitable landfill sites in Ontario

Richard D. Lindgren


Judge says jurisdiction over fill at core of airport dispute

Burlington Executive Airport


CBC News

Taxpayers could pay for lost landfill revenue

Colin Butler


ON Nature (Summer 2013)

A Dirty Business – Residents of Oxford County are fighting a proposed landfill in a quarry ...

Ian Merringer

Carmeuse Lime - Walker Industries


Burlington Gazette

Air Park meeting takes place; all survived – did enough happen to result in a second meeting and will they make a difference?

Pepper Parr


Inside Halton

Neighbours of Burlington airport complain of ongoing fill activity

Julia Le


Caledon Enterprise

Cheltenham residents upset about lack of notice on Brampton Brick rehab plan

Matthew Strader


Lakeridge Citizens for Clean Water, Carmela Marshall

Video:  Presentation to 2013 Managing Large-Scale Fill Symposium, Port Perry (2013-01-25)

(16 mins)


Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Gord Miller

Video:  Presentation to 2013 Managing Large-Scale Fill Symposium, Port Perry (2013-01-25)

Kawartha Conservation



Richard Anderson

Video:  Tally Ho Spoil Dump

8th line of Essa Township, Alliston


MOE shuts down fill haulage to Taylor’s Road property after second round of testing reveals elevated levels of metals and hydrocarbons

Mary Riley

City of Kawartha Lakes

Former gravel pit



Other sources of information:


Lakeridge Citizens for Clean Water -


Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL)



Other links:


Myth Busting – Richardson Corridor Community Association (Waste Management proposed Carp Landfill site)


AWARE-Ontario’s Waste Management News


AWARE-Ontario’s Aggregate News summary


AWARE-Ontario's Aggregate Site Rehabilitation


Oak Ridges Moraine – pending




Return to Home Page


List of Ontario’s Issues


What Can I Do?



Disclaimer: This information has been compiled through private amateur research for the purpose of allowing the reader to make an informed and educated decision.  However, while the information is believed to be reliable, accuracy cannot be guaranteed.











Realize that large-scale fill operations are a province-wide problem taking advantage of the jurisdictional finger-pointing for aerodromes and lax rehabilitation laws for exhausted pits and quarries.  As Gord Miller, former Environmental Commissioner for Ontario said, “This is not your problem.  Let’s get it solved where it should be solved – at Queen’s Park in downtown Toronto”.  Follow-up with your MP and make sure that you’re heard!