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How does the industry steward the environment?

The aggregate industry is regulated by more than 24 pieces of legislation that protect the environment and future resources. Pits and quarries are what we call temporary land uses, which means that once they are no longer being used to extract aggregate (and even while they are still being used) the producers either return them to their original land use or, in many cases, improve upon it. This practice has made this industry one of the largest creators of wetlands in Ontario. It has also created several well-known attractions such as local golf courses, parks, botanical gardens, and vineyards.

For more information on Ontario Wetlands please visit:

Aggregate extraction is actually a very clean and largely mechanical process. The only processing that aggregate requires is crushing, screening, blending and sometimes washing (with water). No chemicals are used in the processing of aggregates.

The water that's used in aggregate processing is recycled in a closed loop system and is regulated by the Ontario Water Resources Act and controlled through Permits to Take Water.

The aggregate industry is safe, clean and environmentally responsible. 

No chemicals are used when processing aggregate. Water pumped out of a quarry and into a nearby stream has not been contaminated. In fact, sand and gravel is the very material that is used to filter water!

Small amounts of chemicals are used in blasting in quarries, but are tightly controlled. Fuelling stations are used on sites, but are also strictly regulated. 

Aggregate operators are primarily water managers, not water users. Water is used to wash fine particles from extracted stone and sand - but in a closed-loop system so that water is recycled. There is virtually no change in the quantity of water in the watershed. 

Wildlife and natural environmental features are protected. 

Over 25 different pieces of legislation currently regulate aggregate operators. These include the Endangered Species Act and Provincial Plans which mandate producers to understand the unique needs of their operations, and take all appropriate safeguards to protect the environment, wildlife and species at risk.