3.0 Proposed Regulatory Revisions

  1. Existing Regulations
  2. Propose of Revisions
  3. Proposed Changes to Definitions
  4. Proposed Changes to Application of the Regulations
  5. Update of Standards
  6. Addition of Environmental Management System (EMS) and Reporting Measures

The Regulations were originally published in 1989 to establish controls, on a project-by-project basis, for PCB destruction activities undertaken on federal or aboriginal land using mobile systems. They were developed to implement the federal government's PCB destruction program in the 1990s, and they reflect the best available technology at the time. The Regulations have been applied primarily in situations related to the destruction of PCBs at contaminated sites.

The Regulations define PCBs in accordance with Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999; therefore, they can be applied in situations where PCBs are present in any concentration (either below or above 50 mg/kg). The proposed revisions to the Regulations do not change the substance of this requirement.

The Regulations are not intended to apply to destruction facilities authorized by provinces or territories to which PCBs from federal lands may be sent.

Section 11 and subsection 12(1) of the Regulations are listed in Part II of Schedule I of the Law List Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). An environmental assessment is, therefore, required before the Minister can authorize operation of a PCB destruction facility or permit testing of such a facility. The proposed revisions do not change the substance of this requirement under CEAA. For more information, visit www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

For a complete text of the Regulations, see Appendix 2.

The proposed revisions to the Regulations are intended to serve a dual purpose. First, they update the prescribed release standards to reflect the capabilities of state-of-the-art pollution control technologies. The purpose of these changes is to protect the environment and the health of Canadians directly by ensuring that higher standards of pollution control are observed. Second, the proposed revisions add some requirements for an EMS and reporting to the Minister on work performed.

Note that the Regulations, both as currently enacted and as proposed for revision, apply to PCB destruction facilities operated on federal or aboriginal land and to facilities under a contract with a federal institution but not otherwise regulated under applicable Canadian law. The revised Regulations will not apply to PCB destruction facilities that are regulated under provincial or territorial law.

The following sections discuss the proposed revisions in greater detail.

The proposed revisions change the definition of certain terms in the Regulations, as detailed below.

Current wording:

"federal institution" means a department, board or agency of the Government of Canada or any corporation that is named in Schedule III to the Financial Administration Act; (institution fédérale)

Proposed approach:

"federal institution" means any entity identified in subsection 207(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999; (institution fédérale)

This proposed change is consistent with the definition used in CEAA 1999.

Current wording:

"mobile PCB destruction system" means mobile equipment that is capable of destroying PCBs by thermal means; (unité mobile de destruction des BPC)

"mobile PCB treatment system" means mobile equipment that is capable of destroying PCBs by chemical means; (unité mobile de traitement des BPC)

Proposed approach:

"PCB destruction facility" means equipment that is capable of destroying PCBs by thermal or chemical means; (installation de destruction des BPC)

This change avoids ambiguity surrounding the definition of mobile versus non-mobile installations. The word "facility" is preferred to "system" because it is more inclusive of equipment (e.g., emission control equipment) associated with the system that destroys the PCBs. The change also simplifies requirements by ensuring that facilities capable of destroying PCBs by either thermal or chemical means are required to meet equivalent standards.

Current wording:

"normal cubic metre" means the volume of a gas at 25°C and 101.3 kPa; (mètre cube normal)

Proposed approach:

"reference cubic metre" means the volume of a dry gas at 25°C, 101.3 kPa and 11% oxygen;

The proposed approach for the definition of reference cubic metre integrates the current subsection 7(2) into the definition, eliminating some redundancy. The change from "normal cubic metre" to "reference cubic metre" is intended to avoid confusion with standard industry terminology.

The proposed revisions to the application of the Regulations do not mention the word "mobile" in order to avoid any ambiguity associated with subjective judgements of the relative mobility of any given destruction facility.

Current wording:

3. These Regulations apply in respect of mobile PCB destruction systems and mobile PCB treatment systems that are operated

Proposed approach:

3. These Regulations apply in respect of a person who operates a PCB destruction facility

  • (a) on federal land or on aboriginal land; or
  • (b) anywhere in Canada by or under contract with a federal institution if the facility is not authorized under any other Canadian law.

The legislative authorities that enable the Regulations are taken from Part 9 of CEPA 1999. Specifically, paragraph 209 (2)(a) authorizes the Governor in Council (GIC), on the recommendation of the Minister to make regulations that may provide for or impose requirements respecting "the quantity or concentration of any substance that may be released into the environment either alone or in combination with any other substance from any source or type of source." Paragraph 209(2)(b) amplifies this authority by adding that the GIC, on a similar recommendation, may regulate "the places or areas where the substance may be released." Paragraph 209(2)(c) extends this authority to include such activities as "the commercial, manufacturing, processing or other activity in the course of which the substance may be released." The final authority of relevance to the revision of the standards is paragraph 209(2)(d), which states that the GIC may, on recommendation of the Minister may regulate "the manner in which and the conditions under which the substance may be released into the environment, either alone or in combination with any other substance."

The proposed revisions to the Regulations harmonize the requirements for the destruction of PCBs by chemical and thermal means by specifying standards for releases of gases, liquids, and solids into the environment from these facilities.

The proposed revisions remove requirements specific to the treatment of oils that contain PCBs, as per Article 6 of the Regulations.

Table 2. Summary of Proposed Changes to Standards
Substance Current Standard Proposed Standard
Gaseous Releases
Particulate matter 50 mg/normal m3 17 mg/Rm3
Hydrogen chloride 75 mg/normal m3 10 mg/Rm3
PCB 1 mg/kg of PCBs put into the system 1 mg/kg of PCBs put into the system, or 100 ng/Rm3
PCDD/PCDF 12 000 pg I-TEQ/normal m3 80 pg I-TEQ/Rm3
Liquid Releases
PCB 5 µg/L 0.5 µg/L
PCDD/PCDF 600 pg I-TEQ/L 50 pg I-TEQ/L
Solid Releases
PCB 0.5 mg/kg 0.5 mg/kg
PCDD/PCDF 1 000 ng I-TEQ/kg 25 ng I-TEQ/kg
NB: Rm3 or reference cubic metre is the volume of a dry gas at 25°C, 101.3 kPa and 11% oxygen.
3.5.2.1 Particulate Matter

Particulate matter (PM) is a common pollutant found in releases from combustion reactions. In a PCB incinerator, PM is composed primarily of ash materials, which may enter the gas stream as it leaves the furnace. Such incinerators may also emit salts found in the acid gas control system as particulates. Releases of PM can be reduced by using pollution-control equipment to treat the stack gases before they are released to the atmosphere.

Current wording:

7. (1) No person shall operate a mobile PCB destruction system or mobile PCB treatment system that releases into the environment a gas that contains a concentration of

Proposed approach:

7. (1) No person shall operate a PCB destruction facility that releases into the environment a gas that contains a concentration of

  • (a) particulate matter that exceeds 17 mg per reference cubic metre;

This new level--a 66 per cent reduction--is consistent with both the Ontario A-7 guideline for municipal solid waste (MSW) incinerators and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) standard for new MSW incinerators. It is more stringent than the 24 mg/Rm3 limit for new HCl incinerators in the United States.

3.5.2.2 Hydrogen Chloride

PCBs can contain up to 54 per cent chlorine by weight. When PCBs are incinerated, their chlorine is released in the form of hydrogen chloride (HCl), which is an acid. As with other gaseous pollutants, releases of HCl can be controlled with the use of appropriate equipment.

Current wording:

Paragraph 7(1)(b) of the Regulations prohibits any person from operating a mobile PCB destruction system that emits a gas containing

Proposed approach:

  • (b) hydrogen chloride that exceeds 10 mg per reference cubic metre;

This revised standard is comparable to the European Union's daily average standard of 8.4 mg per normal cubic metre and is less than half the allowable limit of 22 mg per normal cubic metre (corrected to 25°C, 101.3 kPa, and 11% O2) for new HCl incinerators in the United States. The revised standard reduces the existing limit by 86.76 per cent.

3.5.2.3 PCBs in Gases
Current wording:

Paragraph 5 of the Regulations controls releases of gases containing PCBs:

Proposed approach:

  • (a) in excess of 1mg/kg of PCBs put into the system; or
  • (b) that exceed 100 ng per reference cubic metre.

The proposed revision retains criteria found within the Regulations and includes an alternative criterion. This will ensure that facilities destroying PCBs can demonstrate compliance with strict PCB release standards, irrespective of the PCB input concentration.

3.5.2.4 PCDDs and PCDFs in Gases

PCDDs and PCDFs are predominantly anthropogenic, persistent, and bioaccumulative organic compounds. They have, therefore, been declared toxic under CEPA 1999 and are targeted for virtual elimination from the environment in accordance with the Government of Canada's Toxic Substances Management Policy.

Current wording:

Paragraph 7(1)(c) of the Regulations controls the emission of gases containing a concentration of

In this case, section 10 prescribes the calculation of an overall toxic equivalent (TEQ) for a given sample by multiplying the concentration of each specific congener by its corresponding toxic equivalency factor (TEF). For the purposes of the Regulations, the international TEQ (I-TEQ) factors are used. The CWS for dioxins and furans set the numeric target for the maximum concentration of PCDDs and PCDFs in exhaust gases from HCl incinerators at 80 pg I-TEQ per normal cubic metre--a value 2.5 times the Level of Quantification (LoQ) for PCDDs and PCDFs. This standard will apply to all new, expanding, and existing facilities by 2006.

Proposed approach:

  • (c) 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDDs and 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDFs that exceeds 80 pg per reference cubic metre, when determined in accordance with section 10;

To ensure harmony with the CWS, the proposed revisions prescribe the same standard, which was adopted after consultation with members of the public and representatives of the incineration industry. The revised standard reduces the existing limit by 99.33 per cent.

3.5.2.5 PCBs in Liquids
Current wording:

8. No person shall operate a mobile PCB destruction system that releases into the environment a liquid that contains a concentration of

Proposed approach:

8. No person shall operate a PCB destruction facility that releases into the environment a liquid that contains a concentration of

  • (a) PCBs that exceeds 0.5 µg/L; or

The proposed revisions to the Regulations reduce the allowable limit for PCBs in liquids by a factor of 10, to 0.5 µg/L. This value represents 2.5 times the LoQ; and, therefore, provides reasonable assurance that the concentration of PCBs in samples at or near the limit can be reliably measured.

3.5.2.6 PCDDs and PCDFs in Liquids
Current wording:

Paragraph 8(b) of the Regulations controls the release from a PCB destruction system of PCDDs and PCDFs in liquids as follows:

Proposed approach:

(b) 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDDs and 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDFs that exceeds 50 pg/L, when determined in accordance with section 10.

The proposed revisions reduce the allowable concentration limit for PCDDs and PCDFs in liquids by a factor of 12, to I-TEQ 50 pg/L. This value represents 2.5 times the LoQ and, therefore, provides reasonable assurance that the concentration of PCDDs and PCDFs in samples at or near the limit can be reliably measured.

3.5.2.7 PCDDs and PCDFs in Solids
Current wording:

9. No person shall operate a mobile PCB destruction system or mobile PCB treatment system that releases into the environment a solid that contains a concentration, on a dry basis, of...

Proposed approach:

9. No person shall operate a PCB destruction facility that releases into the environment a solid that contains a concentration, on a dry basis, of...

  • (b) 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDDs and 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDFs that exceeds 25 ng/kg, when determined in accordance with section 10.

The proposed revisions reduce the allowable concentration limit for PCDDs and PCDFs in liquids by a factor of 40, to I-TEQ 25 ng/kg. This value represents 2.5 times the LoQ and, therefore, provides reasonable assurance that the concentration of PCDDs and PCDFs in samples at or near the limit can be reliably measured.

Part 9 of CEPA 1999 provides the authorities enabling the proposed addition of record-keeping and reporting requirements to the Regulations. In this case, subsection 209(1) and section 211 are relevant. The former outlines the powers of the Minister to recommend to the GIC to make regulations respecting the establishment of an EMS, pollution-prevention plan, and environmental emergency plan, among others. The latter authorizes the Minister, for the purpose of regulating, to require information from any person who carries on or proposes to carry on, a federal work or undertaking or an activity on federal or aboriginal land.

The proposed revisions add the requirement for operators of destruction facilities to prepare and implement an EMS for their facility and its operation.

Proposed approach:

11. No person shall operate a PCB destruction facility unless the person

  • (a) prepares and implements an environmental management system at the facility that includes
    • (i) procedures for ensuring the protection of the environment and human health against the adverse effects that may result from the destruction of PCBs, including measures for monitoring the efficiency of the procedures and modifying them in the event that they do not protect the environment and human health,
    • (ii) measures to monitor and ensure compliance with applicable laws with respect to the protection of the environment and human health,
    • (iii) measures to ensure that all waste leaving the PCB destruction facility is sent for disposal at an authorized facility, and
    • (iv) a certification that the system includes those procedures and measures;
  • (b) implements a plan at the authorized facility to prevent, prepare for, and respond to an uncontrolled, unplanned, or accidental release of PCBs; and
  • (c) retains a copy of the documents required by this section at the site of the PCB destruction facility and makes them available to the Minister upon request.

This provision is intended to require the operator of a destruction facility to operate that facility in an environmentally sound manner. Within the context of the EMS, specific measures could be developed by the operator as long as they meet the proposed requirements.

Reporting is an important tool for ensuring accountability on the part of operators of PCB destruction facilities. The proposed revisions to the Regulations add the requirement to report on the progress made in destroying PCBs at any authorized facility (i.e., whose operation has been authorized in writing by the Minister).

Proposed approach:

18. The operator of a PCB destruction facility must submit in writing to the Minister,

  • (a) no later than 30 days after the day on which operation of the facility begins, a report containing
    • (i) the name, address, and telephone number of the person operating the facility,
    • (ii) the location of the facility,
    • (iii) the date on which the operation of the facility began,
    • (iv) the estimated date on which the operation of the facility will end,
    • (v) the estimated gross quantity of PCB material to be destroyed in the facility at that location,
    • (vi) the concentration of PCBs in the material to be destroyed during the reporting period, and
    • (vii) a certification that the information is accurate and complete, dated and signed by the owner, operator, or a person authorized to act on the owner's or operator's behalf;
  • (b) if the facility operates for more than one year, at intervals not to exceed one year from the date on which the operation of the facility begins, a report containing
    • (i) the name, address, and telephone number of the person operating the facility,
    • (ii) the location of the facility,
    • (iii) the dates of the first and last day of the period covered by the report,
    • (iv) the gross quantity of PCB material destroyed at the facility during the reporting period,
    • (v) the concentration of PCBs in the material destroyed during the reporting period,
    • (vi) an estimated quantity of PCB material remaining to be destroyed, as well as its concentration, and
    • (vii) a certification that the information is accurate and complete, dated and signed by the owner, operator, or a person authorized to act on the owner's or operator's behalf;
  • (c) no later than 30 days after the day on which the operation of the facility ends, a report containing
    • (i) the name, address, and telephone number of the person operating the facility,
    • (ii) the location of the facility,
    • (iii) the date on which the operation of the facility began,
    • (iv) the date on which the operation of the facility ended,
    • (v) the total gross quantity of PCB material destroyed in the facility at that location,
    • (vi) the concentration of PCBs in the material destroyed in the facility at that location,
    • (vii) a certification that the information is accurate and complete, dated and signed by the owner, operator, or a person authorized to act on the owner's or operator's behalf; and
  • (d) information in respect of any change in the name, address, or telephone number of the administration office of the operator within 30 days after the change

The information gathered by the Minister through these reports will allow review of the progress made in destroying PCB material in cases where the Regulations apply.

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