Consultation on the update to the national implementation plan on persistant organic pollutants: chapter 6


Chapter 6 - Measures to Identify and Manage Stockpiles and Wastes

Article 6 of the Convention relates to:

  • chemicals listed in Annexes A and B (POPs that are intentionally produced); and
  • wastes (including products and articles upon becoming wastes) that consist of, contain or are contaminated by chemicals listed in Annexes A and B and Annex C (UPOPs).

It obligates Parties to:

  • develop appropriate strategies for identifying stockpiles, wastes and products and articles in use;
  • identify, to the extent practicable, stockpiles consisting of or containing chemicals listed in Annex A or B, on the basis of the above strategies;
  • manage stockpiles, as appropriate, and in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner;
  • apply environmentally sound handling, collection, transport, storage and disposal measures to wastes and articles and products upon becoming waste; and
  • develop appropriate strategies for identifying sites contaminated by POPs, and, if remediation is undertaken, perform it in an environmentally sound manner.

Identifying and Managing Stockpiles and Wastes

Parties to the Convention are required to develop and implement strategies to identify and manage stockpiles and wastes in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner.

Specifically, Article 6.1 states that Parties are obligated to:

(a)    Develop appropriate strategies for identifying:

  1. Stockpiles consisting of or containing chemicals listed either in Annex A or Annex B; and
  2. Products and articles in use and wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with a chemical listed in Annex A, B or C;

(b)   Identify, to the extent practicable, stockpiles consisting of or containing chemicals listed either in Annex A or Annex B on the basis of the strategies referred to in subparagraph (a);

(c)    Manage stockpiles, as appropriate, in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner. Stockpiles of chemicals listed either in Annex A or Annex B, after they are no longer allowed to be used according to any specific exemption specified in Annex A or any specific exemption or acceptable purpose specified in Annex B, except stockpiles which are allowed to be exported according to paragraph 2 of Article 3, shall be deemed to be waste and shall be managed in accordance with subparagraph (d);

Substances used as pesticides

None of the newly listed pesticides were ever manufactured in Canada, and their use as pesticides has been discontinued for many years pursuant to the PCPA[41]. Any stocks that existed at the time that registration was discontinued or withdrawn were to be sold, used or disposed of (between 1981 and 2005, depending on the chemical), after which their sale or use became a violation of the PCPA. Therefore, no known stockpiles exist.

Although there is no Stockholm Convention obligation to do so, federal, provincial and territorial hazardous waste programs address small quantities of retired material in the possession of consumers and have collected and safely disposed of pesticide products that are no longer registered. For example, operation CleanFARMS, an agricultural waste management program in Canada, is a collaboration of industry and the agricultural community, which collects and safely disposes of obsolete or otherwise unwanted agricultural pesticides. From the inception of the program in 1998 until 2011, over 1.5 million kilograms of obsolete pesticides has been collected through this program[42].

Lindane: There are no known stockpiles of lindane as a pest control product in Canada. For the use of lindane as a human health pharmaceutical (see Chapters 3 and Chapter 44), the Government of Canada is working with industry to phase out the use of lindane and lindane-containing products before the expiry of the exemption period (April 4th, 2016). Anyremaining stocks of lindane and lindane-containing products (as human health pharmaceuticals) will be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner before this date. No wastes containing lindane should exist in Canada after April 4, 2016.

Substances used as Industrial Chemicals

HBB: Canada has no known stockpiles of HBB. Production and use of HBB in North America ceased in the late 1970s and the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and import of all polybrominated biphenyls (including HBB) are prohibited under the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2005.

PeCB: The Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2005 prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and import of PeCB, excluding use in PCB transformers. The use of PeCB in dyestuff carriers has been discontinued and there are no known no stockpiles or wastes in Canada associated with this use. As mentioned in Chapter 3, at one time, PeCB could be found in dielectric fluids used to top up polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) transformers. The management of PeCB as a component of dielectric fluids is addressed through the PCB Regulations.

Tetra-BDE, Penta-BDE, Hexa-BDE and Hepta-BDE: Tetra-BDE, Penta-BDE, Hexa-BDE and hepta-BDE have never been manufactured in Canada and the import of tetra-, penta- and hexa-BDE was prohibited in 2008 through the PBDE Regulations (see Chapter 3). Accordingly, there are no stockpiles of these substances.

PFOS: Existing stockpiles of PFOS within Canada are limited to aqueous film forming foams (AFFFs) used for fighting fuel-based fires that were manufactured or imported before May 2008. With the exception to the domestic exemptions listed in Chapter 3 (in line with the claimed exemptions under the Stockholm Convention; refer to Chapter 4), the import of PFOS or any product containing PFOS is prohibited by the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations.

Environmentally Sound Handling, Collection, Transport, Storage and Disposal of Wastes

Under Article 6, paragraph 1 (d) of the Convention, each Party is required to “take appropriate measures” so that wastes containing POPs, including products and articles upon becoming wastes, are:

(i)   Handled, collected, transported and stored in an environmentally sound manner;

(ii)   Disposed of in such a way that the persistent organic pollutant content is destroyed or irreversibly transformed so that they do not exhibit the characteristics of persistent organic pollutants or otherwise disposed of in an environmentally sound manner when destruction or irreversible transformation does not represent the environmentally preferable option or the persistent organic pollutant content is low, taking into account international rules, standards, and guidelines, including those that may be developed pursuant to paragraph 2, and relevant global and regional regimes governing the management of hazardous wastes;

(iii)  Not permitted to be subjected to disposal operations that may lead to recovery, recycling, reclamation, direct reuse or alternative uses of persistent organic pollutants; and

(iv)  Not transported across international boundaries without taking into account relevant international rules, standards and guidelines;

Canada implements obligations in respect of Article 6 of the Stockholm Convention through existing domestic legislation and regulations including those aimed at meeting obligations under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal[43] (the Basel Convention), and recognizing Basel as the appropriate body for setting criteria, standards and other provisions for environmentally sound management including recycling, storage and disposal operations. The Basel Convention defines environmentally sound management as “taking all practicable steps to ensure hazardous wastes and other wastes are managed in a manner which will protect human health and the environment against adverse effects which may result from such wastes.” It refers to the way in which hazardous wastes are managed from their point of generation through storage, transport, treatment, reuse, recycling, recovery and ultimate disposal.

Over the years, the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention has adopted several technical guidelines[44] on the environmentally sound management of specific wastes streams, including those related to POPs. To date, five technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of waste consisting of, containing or contaminated by POPs have been adopted by the Basel Conference of the Parties. Recent amendments to the Stockholm Convention require that the current POPs technical guidelines be updated or new ones be developed under the Basel Convention for the environmentally sound management of wastes containing the new POPs (recently listed in annexes A, B and C of the Stockholm Convention). The tenth Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention expanded the mandate of the Small Intersessional Working Group on POPs, with Canada as Chair, to monitor and assist in the review and updating of POPs technical guidelines[45].

To that effect, the Basel Convention continues to update existing POP technical guidelines, develop new ones and adopt these to ensure the environmentally sound management of POPs wastes. Under the Basel Convention, Canada is involved in the technical work on POPs and is leading the update and development of two technical guidelines: 1) updating the General technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with persistent organic pollutants; and 2) development of Technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride.

Handling and disposal

In Canada, hazardous waste management facilities are primarily a provincial and territorial responsibility. Provinces and territories regulate the management and control of treatment facilities and disposal operations, including landfill sites. As part of the federal export and import of hazardous waste regime, the provinces and territories provide consent for the disposal or recycling of imported hazardous wastes within their jurisdictions. Most provinces and territories have established programs to control or restrict the storage, use and disposal of hazardous substances in an environmentally sound manner. The provinces and territories also grant authorizations (i.e., permits, licences and certificates) for carriers that transport hazardous wastes. The federal government works together with the provincial/territorial governments in developing the national hazardous waste management system and establishing national objectives and standards.

There are also other elements to Canada's approach to POPs and waste management policies, including pollution prevention. Pollution prevention is a cornerstone of federal and national policies and legislation addressing POPs and waste management policies. Pollution prevention promotes continuous improvement through the use of processes, practices, materials, products or energy that avoid or minimize the creation of pollutants and wastes at the source. While incineration and non-incineration technologies continue to be viewed as environmentally sound methods for the destruction of waste (including POPs waste) in Canada, the use of pollution prevention techniques is advocated wherever they are applicable and effective.

Transboundary Movement

Further to the discussion in Chapter 3 on measures to control exports and imports, Canada controls and tracks the export and import of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable material as required by the Basel Convention, through the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR). The EIHWHRMR require that the Canadian exporter or importer of hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material notify the Minister and receive a permit before any transboundary shipments can take place. As part of the notification process, an exporter or importer is required to identify POPs contained in the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material consistent with the requirements of the technical guidelines on POPs wastes, adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention44. The actual shipments are tracked through a movement document.

The following chemicals are controlled under the EIHWHRMR: Alpha-HCH, Beta-HCH, Chlordecone, HBB, Lindane, and PeCB. Tetra-BDE, Penta-BDE, Hexa-BDE and Hepta-BDE, along with PFOS are not controlled under the EIHWHRMR (however, as discussed in Chapter 3 other regulations are in place to prevent exports of these substances).

As discussed earlier, Canada is also contributing to the technical guidelines for the new POPs under the Basel Convention, including leading the development of the new technical guidelines for PFOS, specifically. These guidelines will assist Canada (and other Parties) in developing controls for transboundary wastes and their disposal in an environmentally sound manner.

Identifying and Managing Contaminated Sites

Under Article 6, paragraph 1 (e), Parties to the Convention agree to:

Endeavour to develop appropriate strategies for identifying sites contaminated by chemicals listed in Annex A, B or C; if remediation of those sites is undertaken it shall be performed in an environmentally sound manner.

Canada began the identification and management of contaminated sites many years ago. Regulation and management of contaminated sites in Canada are primarily provincial/territorial responsibilities; the federal government is primarily responsible for federal lands.

The CCME National Classification System for Contaminated Sites[46] (NCSCS), published in 1992 and revised in 2008 and 2010, presents a method for evaluating contaminated sites according to their current or potential adverse impact on human health and the environment. It was developed to establish a rational and scientifically defensible system for comparable assessment of contaminated sites across Canada. The new POPs now under the Stockholm Convention would be classified as high-concern contaminants.

In addition to the classification system and a number of other technical and scientific documents, the CCME published a comprehensive Guidance Document on the Management of Contaminated Sites in Canada[47]. The guidance document sets out a strategy for contaminated site management, including site identification and assessment, and development and implementation of remediation action.

In 2005, the federal government established the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP)[48], a 15-year program with funding of $3.5 billion from the Government of Canada. The primary objective of this program is to reduce environmental and human health risks from known federal contaminated sites and associated federal financial liabilities. In Phase I (2005-2011), the federal departments, agencies and consolidated Crown corporations responsible for contaminated sites (also referred to as custodians) made significant progress in assessing and remediating sites. Custodians conducted remediation activities at 1,400 sites, and completed remediation at 650 sites. Assessment activities were conducted on over 9,400 sites and completed on 6,400. FCSAP Phase II (2011-2016) allows this work to continue, with a focus on remediating the highest priority sites. Sites that are contaminated with POPs, pose a human health or environmental risk, and are classified as high priority for action, are among the sites being funded for risk management/remediation.

Between 2000 and 2002, the Treasury Board of Canada approved a policy framework for the management of federal contaminated sites[49]. The framework was a collection of policies and best practices to guide custodians in the management of federal contaminated sites and was accompanied by the public release of the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory[50]. Currently, policy direction for the management of federal contaminated sites is contained in the Treasury Board Policy on the Management of Real Property[51], in effect since November 2006. The objective of the policy is to ensure that federal real property is managed in a sustainable and financially responsible manner throughout its life cycle to support the cost-effective and efficient delivery of government programs. The policy outlines a number of requirements related to environmental considerations in the management of federal real property, including the management of federal contaminated sites.

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