On May 18, 2012, the government strengthened the regulation of vertical closed loop drilling for geothermal systems to protect public safety and the environment by making Ontario Regulation 98/12 (Ground Source Heat Pumps) under the Environmental Protection Act. The new regulation requires anyone constructing new or altering, replacing or extending existing vertical closed loop geothermal systems that extend or will extend more than 5 metres below the level of the original ground surface to obtain an Environmental Compliance Approval from the Ministry of the Environment.
As part of an application for an Ontario Regulation 98/12 Environmental Compliance Approval, the applicant (i.e., installer or driller) would be required to submit a work plan prepared by a licensed engineering practitioner or a professional geoscientist, which would include measures to be taken to prevent an adverse effect if hazardous gas is encountered while constructing, altering, extending or replacing the system.
To assist applicants, the Ministry has published instructions titled, “Environmental Compliance Approval Requirements for Vertical Closed Loop Ground Heat Source Pumps”. The instructions are intended to explain to applicants what the Ministry takes into account when evaluating an ECA application relating to the construction, alteration, extension or replacement of vertical closed loop geothermal systems.
For more details about Regulation 98/12, please view EBR Registry #011-6376 and the E-Laws website (links available under Additional Information).