Follow up on decision on assessment of releases of used crankcase oils: chapter 3


3. Provincial and Territorial Risk Management Measures

This section will address regulations, legislation and guidelines in place regarding UCOs through a brief discussion based on the five criteria. In most cases, provinces and territories have measures in place to address the sources of exposure which gave rise to the criteria. A summary table of regulations and/or legislation is presented for each criterion in the Appendix. 

3.1 Controls Prohibiting Disposal to Land, Landfill and Sewers

All provinces and territories classify UCOs as hazardous waste under their respective legislation, which prohibits their disposal to land. Waste management regulations in most provinces and territories prohibit disposal to landfills. Since UCOs are classified as hazardous waste they are also banned from sewage disposal. Please refer to Table A1 in the Appendix.

3.2 Controls Prohibiting the Use of Used Oils as a Dust Suppressant

In the past, UCOs were applied to gravel and dirt roadways to minimize the amount of dust generated by vehicles. Typically, these oils were collected from service stations and fleet shops. This is no longer a common practice; used oil is not allowed as a dust suppressant on roadways in 9 provinces and 3 territories. Please refer to Table A2 in the Appendix. Alberta is the only province which currently allows for the application of UCOs as a dust suppressant according to provincial guidelines.

3.3 Controls Prohibiting the Open Burning and Restricting Use as a Fuel

UCOs may be burned directly as a mixture with other fuel oils or by themselves in a variety of combustion units including boilers, engines, furnaces, incinerators, turbines, power plants, cement kilns, manufacturing facilities (asphalt, steel, etc.) and space heaters (i.e. residential, commercial, industrial).

All provinces and territories prohibit open burning of UCOs and regulate its use as a fuel.

The regulations on using UCOs as a fuel vary slightly across the country. All provinces require permits for burning UCOs as a fuel. There are maximum contaminant levels that UCOs must meet to be burned, and requirements for the type of burners used. In some jurisdictions, small businesses that generate their own used oil are able to register to enable burning the UCOs as a fuel, exempting them from the permits required by larger sites. Please refer to Table A3 in the Appendix

3.4 Controls Applicable to the Re-refining and Re-processing of Used Oils are in Place

Re-processing is a method whereby simple physical and/or chemical treatments are applied to remove the basic contaminants in used oil. Unlike re-refining, the objective of re-processing is to clean the oil so that it can be utilized for less demanding applications, not to produce a product comparable to virgin oil. The performance of re-refined crankcase oils is considered equivalent to virgin crankcase oils. Re-refining typically involves the physical and/or chemical treatments used for re-processing followed by other more complex processing such as acid/clay treatment, vacuum distillation/clay polishing, vacuum distillation/hydrotreating and chemical demetallization/distillation/hydrotreating.  

The capacity for re-refining and re-processing of UCOs varies widely across the country, mainly attributed to the availability of facilities and feasibility based on volume. Of the 10 provinces, all legislation allows for re-refining of UCOs. Permits are required for handling UCOs in this manner, under Activities designations in many provinces. There are re-refining facilities in all the provinces except Québec, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The territories have geographical and volume challenges to overcome with respect to re-refining of UCOs. All three territories allow for re-refining, and facilities would require authorization to operate. There are no re-refining facilities located in the territories. Please refer to Table A4 in the Appendix.

3.5 Used Oil Collection Programs

There are programs in place for collecting used oil in all of the provinces and territories, with some programs mandatory and others voluntary. Please refer to Table A5 in the Appendix.

3.5.1 British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Québec

British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Québec have used oil associations, mandated by provincial legislation, that are members of the Used Oil Management Association. These associations are responsible for facilitating and increasing the collection, management and recycling of used oil material which includes used oil, used filters, and used oil containers. Membership in these associations encompasses representatives of wholesalers and first-sellers of lubricating oil products. There are government approved collectors and processors of the UCOs

Québec is the only province or territory with recovery and reclamation targets set out in their regulations. Sections 5 through 7 of the Regulation Respecting the Recovery and Reclamation of Used Oils, Oil or Fluid Containers and Used Filters establish rates of recovery for 2005 and 2008. Products are delivered to processors by collectors, who are required to submit detailed reports on the origin and quantity of products collected.

Each of the provincial associations produces an annual report quantifying the amount of oil, filters and oil containers recycled. Table 1 shows the reported recovery rates from 2009 for the five associations. The target rates for 2009 set by Québec for the three categories of material were:

  • Used Oil - 75%
  • Used Oil Filters - 75%
  • Used Oil Containers - 75%
Table 1: Reported recovery percentages from 2009 for the Used Oil Management Associations from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Québec
2009 Reported Recovery Rate Used Oil Used Oil Filters Used Oil Containers
British Columbia Used Oil Management Association 76.9% 90.4% 80.8%
Alberta Used Oil Management Association 83% 91% 85%
Saskatchewan Association for Resource Recovery Corporation 77% 78% 65%
Manitoba Association for Resource Recover Corporation 70% 77% 49%
Société de gestion des huiles usagées 98.9% 88.1% 87.6%

3.5.2 Ontario

Used oil material, including used oil filters and containers, was designated in 2003 under The Waste Diversion Act (2002). A diversion plan for used oil material was developed by Waste Diversion Ontario.

Ontario has several mechanisms for collecting UCOs and related materials. A collection program has been in place for UCOs from commercial generators, with a collection rate estimated at 78%, according to a study done for the Ontario Waste Management Association and the Ontario Used Oil Management Association in 2004Footnote 1. UCOs generated by consumers are collected through the municipal household hazardous waste program. Used oil filters and containers are part of the consolidated Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) program. 

The MHSW delivered an annual report on the first year of collection of oil filters and containers for July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2009. The target for oil filters was 65%, collection rate was 39.6%; the target for oil containers was 30%, collection rate was 19.1%. The low rate of collection for oil filters has been attributed to an overstatement of the weight of oil filters available for collection, and processing incentives for containers have been adjusted to try to improve the under-achieving rate of collection for oil containers.

3.5.3 Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador

New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador all have used oil regulations in place for UCOs collection. The four provinces have very similar regulations with respect to collection facilities. Vendors of lubricating oil are required to collect UCOs at their facility or contract with another facility within a specific radius to collect UCOs. In addition, retailers must post information about the nearest collection facility. All collection facilities must keep a record of oil received. There are no programs legislated for the recovery of oil filters or containers.

New Brunswick reviewed its current regulations and determined that significant changes were required. These changes relate to the reporting of quantities sold versus quantities recovered, the effectiveness of the program and overall reporting. It is the intention of the new regulations to model a system based on the regulations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Québec, with an industry managed collection system that includes filters and containers. These changes are anticipated in 2011.

3.5.4 Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories

Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories face geographical and logistical challenges when implementing a UCO collection system. The sparse population and large land area pose difficulties unique to the region. A pilot program was completed in the Yukon but a permanent program has not been implemented. Used oil is collected as part of their special waste collection for Yukon businesses. Some Nunavut communities have programs for collection and storage. Used oil recovery in the Northwest Territories is encouraged but not mandated.

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