Waste/used crankcase oils priority substance list follow-up report: chapter 1

1. Introduction

Waste Crankcase Oils (WCO) appeared on the first Priority Substances List (PSL1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), which was published in the Canada Gazette , Part I, on February 11, 1989. WCO are defined as used lubricating oil removed from the crankcase of internal combustion engines. An assessment was completed in 1993 to determine whether WCO should be considered "toxic" as defined under CEPA (Government of Canada, 1994)Footnote 1. The lack of exposure and effects data for the selected scenarios of concern (i.e., re-refining, burning as fuel, dust suppressant and land disposal) led to the conclusion that there was insufficient information available to determine whether this substance should be considered "toxic" under paragraph 11(a) of CEPA.

In 1994, a scoping exercise was initiated to determine a course of action for determining whether WCO should be considered CEPA "toxic." The results of a 1995-1996 telephone survey showed that the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, provinces, territories and federal government departments with vehicular fleets had initiated guidelines or legislation controlling the management of used oils, which included WCO. These controls included permits for re-refineries, contaminant emission standards for burning of used oil, banning of used oil for dust suppression, banning of disposal in landfills, on land or in sewers, and development of collection alternatives for do-it-yourself oil changers (DIYs).

As a follow-up to the 1995-1996 telephone survey, a second telephone survey of provincial, territorial, aboriginal and federal agencies in the fall of 1999 and winter of 2000 revealed that most of the initiatives were now legislated into law (see Appendix A).

A revised CEPA, CEPA 1999, came into effect on March 31, 2000. A review of scientific data published since the PSL1 report was released to March 2000 found new information on the exposure and effects of WCO, now referred to as Used Crankcase Oils (UCO)Footnote 2, that are discharged to the environment and runoff from roadways to aquatic ecosystems. This information was used to conduct a follow-up ecological risk assessment on UCO. Details of the literature search strategy are described in Appendix B.

New information on exposure and effects from leakage of UCO from the crankcases of vehicles was found in the literature. Studies on roadway runoff provide a link between release of UCO from vehicles and effects on benthic organisms, which also include changes in the biodiversity of sediment fauna. This new information was used as a surrogate to assess UCO used for dust suppression and UCO released through land disposal to show possible effects on sediment biota and change in species diversity as a result of exposure to UCO.

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