There is a rapidly growing concern on the part of waste generators today, over the issues of waste ownership and on-going environmental liability.
In the United States, the issue of on-going environmental liability has surfaced as the major concern for most generators. In the U.S., it is not possible to transfer legal ownership or liability for waste materials. Even in the case where a Permitted U.S. Waste Disposal Site were to agree to accept ownership of the waste, an agreement which circumvents the law is not a binding agreement, and will not be honoured by the U.S. E.P.A. We are all reading information pertaining to fines, closures and superfund sites. Many generators are already aware that they may well face major costs for cleanup, as former shippers to these closed, contaminated sites.
There are NO such "cradle to grave" regulations in Ontario, whereby waste generators remain liable, so long as several criteria are met. Ownership and on-going liability are legally transferred to the permitted facility in Ontario.
Following are excerpts from the Environmental Protection Act (Revised Statutes of Ontario), 1990 amended 1992, printed May 1993 (http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/env_reg/ebr/index.htm).
Chapter E19, Section 42(1) states that "ownership of waste that is accepted by a Waste Disposal Site is transferred upon acceptance by the operator of the site."
Section 42(3) states that "ownership transfer applies only in respect of a Waste Disposal Site holding a valid Certificate of Approval."
Section 42(5) states that "liability as owner of a waste is relieved when that waste is delivered to and accepted by a Waste Disposal Site with an applicable Certificate of Approval."
Section 43 states that "should any waste be sent to a site that has not been approved as a Waste Disposal Site, the waste may be ordered to be the responsibility of the previous owner, by the Director." This reinforces the importance that generators must satisfy themselves that Waste Disposal Sites in Ontario possess a valid Certificate of Approval, clearly authorising the facility to accept the subject waste(s).