Initiative aiming to manage NASM as nutrient, not waste

By Gary Sliworsky, Ag rep, Emo

Proposed amendments to the General Nutrient Management Regulation (O. Reg. 267/03), under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002, for the management of non-agricultural source materials (NASM), milking centre washwater, and anaerobic digestion were posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry (EBR #: 010-6515) occurred on June 29.
NASM includes sewage biosolids, food-processing residuals, and other materials not generated by an agricultural operation (such as wood ash) that can be used as a nutrient on agricultural lands.
The Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs are working to complete the second stage of a two-stage initiative to improve the regulatory framework governing the application of NASM on agricultural land.
This initiative proposes to manage NASM as a nutrient instead of as a waste when used to enhance the productivity of agricultural land.
The proposed framework supports MoE’s waste diversion goals, as it encourages the proper beneficial use of organic materials through land application that will enhance the productivity of soils, rather than sending these materials for disposal.
The proposed regulatory framework would:
•manage non-agricultural source material on agricultural land as a beneficial nutrient;
•establish and revise existing standards and approval requirements for NASM, under O Reg. 267/03, to focus on the quality of the materials;
•streamline the regulatory process by removing overlapping approvals;
•provide notification to the local district office of the MoE prior to the land application of NASM;
•ensure environmental protection by extending the existing framework to include all agricultural land where NASM is applied in Ontario, as opposed to just those farms that already are required to have a nutrient management strategy; and
•require approval under the NMA for the land application on agricultural land of materials with higher metal or pathogen concentrations, that still are within acceptable levels (e.g., sewage biosolids and pulp and paper biosolids).
The standards in the proposed regulatory framework focus on the quality of the NASM being land applied.
Responsibility for the proposed framework will be shared by OMAFRA and the MoE.
OMAFRA will administer and approve nutrient management strategies and plans. The MoE will continue to be responsible for providing compliance and enforcement activities under the NMA, EPA, and the Ontario Water Resources Act.
Further details of this proposal, and the proposed regulatory amendments, can be found on the Environmental Bill of Rights’ registry which is posted for public comment until July 29.
You may view the proposal at www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/ (EBR # 010-6515).
Comments must be submitted in writing with reference to the EBR 010-6515 and received prior to July 30.
Dates to remember
•July 8-11–Large animal clinic dates for Dr. Blair Simonson (call 274-7393 to book an appointment).

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