National Pollutant Release Inventory: regional synopsis for the Atlantic provinces, chapter 7


Alternate Threshold Substances

Twenty NPRI substances have lower reporting thresholds and reporting criteria as compared to the 'core' 248 NPRI substances. Substances with these alternate reporting thresholds are mercury (and its compounds), 17 individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (dioxins) / polychlorinated dibenzofurans (furans), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB).

Mercury (and its Compounds)

Mercury compounds can have significant environmental and human health impacts at relatively low levels. Mercury compounds have been declared as CEPA-toxic and are listed on Schedule I of CEPA, 1999. Mercury occurs naturally in the environment, but human activities can concentrate them to levels that are toxic to human health and the environment. Mercury has been identified as a specific concern in Atlantic Canada. Because minimal releases of mercury may result in significant adverse effects and can reasonably be expected to significantly contribute to exceeding the lower thresholds, there is no 1% concentration exemption for mercury and its compounds. A facility is required to submit a report for mercury and its compounds if they were manufactured, processed or otherwise used, at any concentration, in a quantity of 5 kg or more, even if their release or transfer was 'zero'.

Industrial Sectors Reporting Releases of Mercury (and its Compounds) in the Atlantic Provinces
Sector
(Number of Reports)
Total On-site
Release
Total Off-site
Transfer For
Disposal
Total Off-site
Transfer For
Recycling /
Recovery
Utilities (8) 516.9 19.9 114.5
Waste Treatment & Disposal (12) 112.1 86.3 0.0
Metal Ore Mining (2) 76.0 0.0 0.0
Basic Chemical Manufacturing (1) 63.0 1,265.0 0.0
Cement & Concrete Product Manufacturing (1) 8.0 0.0 0.0
Pulp & Paper (3) 1.8 1.5 10.0
Petroleum & Coal Products Manufacturing (1) 0.5 0.0 0.0
Defense Services (1) 0.0 0.8 10.7
Food Manufacturing (1) 0.0 0.0 0.0
Regional Total (30) 778.3 1,373.5 135.2
National Total (198) 8,905.3 27,059.1 30,861.0


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

PAHs have been declared as CEPA-toxic and are listed on Schedule I of CEPA, 1999. Many individual PAHs meet criteria for persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity, as defined by various international bodies. PAHs as a group have been assigned special status under the CEPA, 1999 because many sources are natural rather than resulting from human activity.

The 17 PAHs included in the NPRI are predominantly incidentally manufactured and released or transferred from facilities, rather than used as commercial chemicals. For this reason, Environment Canada set alternate reporting criteria based on releases and transfers resulting from incidental manufacture. On-site releases and off-site transfers must be reported for the individual PAH substances even though the 50-kg reporting threshold applies to the total releases and transfers of all 17 PAHs. A facility is required to submit a report for PAHs if they were incidentally manufactured, and released or transferred a combined total of 50 kg or more. Wood preservation facilities using creosote must submit a report for PAHs, regardless of the quantity released or transferred.

Industrial Sectors Reporting Releases of PAHs in the Atlantic Provinces (Values in kg)
Sector
(Number of Reports)
Total On-site
Release
Total Off-site
Transfer For

Disposal
Total Off-site
Transfer For

Recycling / Recovery
National Total (921) 521,967.5 95,189.2 296.4
Utilities (28) 1,240.7 0.0 0.0
Pulp & Paper (45) 907.3 0.0 0.0
Forest Nurseries & Products (11) 690.8 0.0 0.0
Petroleum & Coal Products Manufacturing (31) 345.6 0.0 0.3
Wood Preservation (1) 0.0 0.0 0.0
Regional Total (116) 3,184.4 0.0 0.3


Dioxins / Furans

Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs or dioxins) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs or furans) are released primarily as by-products of industrial and combustion processes, but are also found as contaminants in certain pesticides or chlorinated solvents. These substances have been categorized as CEPA-toxic and are now slated for virtual elimination under the Toxic Substances Management Policy.

Facilities engaged in certain activities (e.g., power generation, incineration, base metal smelting and others) are required to report dioxins/furans to the NPRI, regardless of the amount released or transferred. There are no quantitative, substance-based reporting thresholds. Information reported for dioxins/furans differ from that required in other NPRI substance reports. Reporting facilities are required to report on 17 dioxin/furan congeners. Scientists have assigned toxic equivalent factors (TEFs) to each dioxin and furan congener. These TEFs, adopted as weighting factors, are used to calculate the value of the release or transfer in grams of toxic equivalents (g TEQ).

In 2000, 62 facilities in the Atlantic Provinces submitted reports for dioxins/furans. Only companies with sufficient information on which to base an estimate provided a value for releases or transfers for dioxins/furans. Eight facilities reported that there was insufficient information to estimate their releases or transfers.

Industrial Sectors Reporting Releases of Dioxins / Furans in the Atlantic Provinces (Values in g TEQ)
Sector (Number of Reports) Total On-site
Release
Total Off-site
Transfer For
Disposal
Total Off-site
Transfer For
Recycling /
Recovery
National Total (301) 220.7 166.2 2.9
Waste Treatment & Disposal (39) 53.0 0.7 0.0
Utilities (12) 0.9 0.0 0.0
Iron & Steel Mills & Ferro-Alloy Manufacturing (1) 0.2 0.0 0.0
Cement & Concrete Product Manufacturing (1) 0.1 0.0 0.0
Chemical Product Manufacturing (1) 0.1 0.0 0.0
Other (8) 0.0 0.0 0.0
Regional Total (62) 54.3 0.7 0.0

Hexachlorobenzene (HCB)

Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) is released primarily as a by-product of industrial and combustion processes, but it can also be found as a contaminant in certain pesticides or chlorinated solvents. HCB has been categorized as CEPA-toxic and is now slated for virtual elimination under the Toxic Substances Management Policy.

Companies operating in certain industrial sectors (e.g., power generation, incineration, base metal smelting and others) must submit a NPRI report for HCB, regardless of the amount released or transferred.

In 2000, 62 facilities in the Atlantic Provinces submitted reports for HCB. Only companies with sufficient information on which to base an estimate of HCB emissions provided a value for HCB releases. Nine facilities reported that there was insufficient information to estimate their releases or transfers.

Industrial Sectors Reporting Releases of HCB in the Atlantic Provinces (Values in g)
Sector (Number of Reports) Total On-site
Release
Total Off-site
Transfer For
Disposal
Total Off-site
Transfer For
Recycling /
Recovery
National Total (301) 37,588.6 10,449.2 250.3
Utilities (12) 2,851.9 0.0 0.0
Waste Treatment & Disposal (39) 2,445.7 0.0 0.0
Cement & Concrete Product Manufacturing (1) 71.8 0.0 0.0
Fishing (1) 2.9 0.0 0.0
Other (9) 0.0 0.0 0.0
Regional Total (62 ) 5,372.3 0.0 0.0

 

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