4. Pollution prevention (Part 4)
Part 4 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) provides the authority for the Minister of the Environment to require the preparation and implementation of pollution prevention plans. The act also provides the authority for the establishment of a national pollution prevention information clearinghouse to facilitate the collection, exchange and distribution of information about pollution prevention. Authority is also provided to create an awards program to recognize significant achievements in the area of pollution prevention.
The provisions within Part 4 of the act allow the Minister of the Environment to require designated persons to prepare, implement and report on pollution prevention plans for toxic substances. Pollution prevention planning notices provide the flexibility for industry to determine the best methods within their processes and activities to meet the risk management objective within the notice.
While there were no new pollution prevention (P2) planning notices published in 2008-2009, there were eight P2 planning notices affecting 229 facilities across Canada, and managing 18 substances found on Schedule 1.
This notice applies to certain vehicle manufacturers and steel mills, and requires preparation of a P2 plan by July 2008. The risk management objective is to reduce releases of mercury to the environment through participation in a mercury switch management program. The first interim progress reports were submitted in January 2009 and the results are being analyzed.
This notice applies to 11 facilities. Nine of these facilities are also subject to 2008 and 2015 annual limit targets for air releases of sulphur dioxide and particulate matter. In addition, one of the nine facilities is subject to a 2008 annual limit target for mercury, and another facility is subject to a 2008 annual limit target for dioxins and furans.
In 2008-2009, the Minister received annual interim reports from the facilities. Analysis of the 2006 and 2007 data submitted by facilities indicates the following:
- Sulphur dioxide -- Six out of nine facilities reported discharges that were lower than their 2008 targets.
- Particulate matter -- Six out of nine facilities reported discharges that were lower than their 2008 targets.
- Mercury -- The facility subject to a 2008 target reported releases that were greater than the 2008 target.
- Dioxins and furans -- The facility subject to a 2008 target reported releases that were greater than the 2008 target.
As of March 31, 2009, 63 facilities had indicated that they had prepared and were implementing P2 plans that take into consideration the following two objectives:
- reduce the annual use of nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates by at least 97% by 2009, relative to the annual use in 1998; and
- reduce the toxicity of effluent to a maximum acute toxicity of 13% IC50 (50% inhibiting concentration) by 2009.
Analysis of interim progress reports indicate that use of nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates dropped by 95.4% by 2005. By 2006, all facilities reported using, in total, less than 700 kg, surpassing the objective established in the P2 planning notice, for a total reduction of 99.7%. Toxicity tests performed in 2006 revealed that only 22% of facilities were successful at that time. However, the majority of facilities indicated that they intend to meet the toxicity objective by 2009.
This notice applies to certain persons or facilities that manufacture or import soap and cleaning products, or processing aids used in the wet textile industry or pulp and paper industry. Phase 1 sets a reduction target of 50% from base year levels (typically 1998), of the total mass of nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates used in the manufacturing of products or imported annually. Phase 2 sets a target of 95% reduction from base year levels of the total mass used in the manufacturing of products or imported annually.
As of March 31, 2009, 72 facilities had declared that they had prepared and were implementing a P2 plan. In 2006, interim progress reports were received along with five submissions declaring that their facility had fully implemented their P2 plan. Analysis of these reports indicates that the annual use of nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates in manufacturing was reduced to 0.80 million kg in 2006 (a 63% reduction from 1998 base year) and imports were reduced to 0.23 million kg in 2006 (an 81% reduction from 1998 base year).
This notice applies to owners or operators of certain wastewater systems. The risk management objective is to achieve and maintain a concentration of total residual chlorine that is less than or equal to 0.02 mg/L in the effluent released to surface water by December 15, 2009.
As of March 31, 2009, 84 facilities had declared that they had prepared and were implementing a P2 plan. Four of the 84 facilities declared that they had already fully implemented their P2 plan. The remaining facilities have until June 15, 2010, to implement their P2 plans.
This notice applies to wood preservation facilities that use inorganic arsenic compounds, hexavalent chromium compounds, polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans or hexachlorobenzene. The risk management objective is to reduce releases of these substances to the lowest achievable levels by applying or achieving equivalence with certain best management practices.
The five facilities that were named in the notice were required to prepare and implement a P2 plan by March 2006. As of March 31, 2009, three of the facilities had declared that they had fully implemented P2 plans. The other two facilities closed their operations.
A total of 38 facilities from 5 different industry sectors prepared and implemented pollution prevention plans in response to this notice. Table 3 identifies the overall objectives of the notice as well as the targeted sectors, the deadlines for implementation and the corresponding risk management objectives.
|Deadline for implementation
|Risk management objective
|Reduce annual release by 85% from 1995 base year level
|70% reduction of uses
|Aircraft paint stripping, including the stripping of aircraft components
|80% reduction of annual releases
|Flexible polyurethane foam blowing
|100% reduction of annual releases
|80% reduction of annual release and 100% elimination of uses for cleaning the mixing chamber low-pressure injection molding machines
|Pharmaceuticals and chemical intermediates manufacturing and tablet coating
|80% reduction of annual releases
Final results indicated that releases were reduced by 93% compared with 1995 levels, thereby exceeding the overall objective. More specifically, the notice resulted in reductions in uses of dichloromethane from 900 000 kg in 1995 to 60 000 kg by the end of the P2 plan implementation period. These reductions were achieved through the replacement of dichloromethane with alternatives, the reformulation of products and other pollution prevention methods.
This notice requires facilities that manufacture synthetic rubber to reduce the releases of acrylonitrile to the lowest possible level.
One facility falls under the notice and fully implemented their P2 plan in 2006. The facility reduced fugitive releases by 89%, and storage or handling releases by 82%, from a base year of 1996. The facility continued to control emissions below 2006 levels until 2008 when acrylonitrile emissions ceased as the nitrile rubber manufacturing unit in the plant was closed.
Environment Canada participates in the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Pollution Prevention Awards Program, which recognizes organizations that have shown leadership and innovation in pollution prevention. The five award recipients in 2008 were
- Micro Business Category -- Awarded to LOGical Creations Ltd. from Airdrie, Alberta, for their TREECYCLE program.
- Medium Business Category -- Awarded to Steelcase Canada from Markham, Ontario, for reducing the use and releases of toxic substances within their processes.
- Organization/Institution/Group Category -- Awarded to two recipients: the North York General Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, for their Green Team Initiative; and the University Health Network in Toronto, Ontario, for their Environmental Management System.
- Greenhouse Gas Reduction Category -- Awarded to the Cogeneration Facility Operated by Hamilton Renewable Power Incorporated at the Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant for their impressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse is a public website that was developed in 1998 to provide comprehensive information and tools for Canadians to strengthen their capacity to prevent pollution.
In 2008-2009, 180 new records were added to the clearinghouse and the number of visits levelled off to an average of 15 000 visits each month. The clearinghouse continues to be an important tool for the public, industry and youth when researching pollution prevention techniques, case studies and resources. Efforts to promote the clearinghouse continue through website links, articles and newsletters.
Figure 2: Number of visits to the Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse (March 2005 (site relaunch) to March 2009)
Long description for figure 2
This line graph shows a gradual increase in visits in 2005 from about 5 000 to 15 000, and a dip in mid-2006 to a low of about 1000 visits. A sharp increase to a peak of 70 000 visits is seen in mid-2007 and a peak of about 50 000 in May 2008. Visits towards the end of 2008, and 2009 level off at about 15 000 visits.
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