Refractory ceramic fibre industry: environmental agreement

Environmental Performance AgreementBetween Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of the Environment and Members of the Refractory Ceramic Fibre Industry in Canada

Preamble
1.0 Background
2.0 Understandings
3.0 Performance Requirements
Annex 1 - Companies Participating in this Agreement
Annex 2 - Background to the Performance Agreement
Annex 3 - Refractory Ceramic Fibre Annual Report Form

Preamble

Whereas the presence of toxic substances in the environment is a matter of national concern;

Whereas the Government of Canada has determined that Refractory Ceramic Fibres pose a potential threat to human health;

Whereas the Government of Canada wishes to prevent or minimize the introduction into the environment of Refractory Ceramic Fibres;

Whereas the Minister of the Environment recognizes voluntary actions of industry as an efficient means to achieve environmental objectives;

Whereas Participating Companies are identified in Annex 1;

Whereas, in consideration of the following terms and conditions, the parties agree as follows:

1.0 Background

Refractory Ceramic Fibres (RCFs) are amorphous man-made vitreous fibres produced from the melting of calcined kaolin clay or a combination of alumina and silica. The primary market for RCF is in high temperature industrial applications such as furnace linings, kilns and process heaters, pipe wrapping, welding protection, gaskets, filters, flame retardants, as well as in acoustical insulation.

Refractory Ceramic Fibre (Chemical Abstracts Service [CAS] Number 142844-00-6)[1] is Item 41 of the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Under the Toxic Substances Management Policy, RCFs are categorized as Track 2 substances, thus requiring a life-cycle management approach.

In 2002, an Environmental Performance Agreement ("2002 Agreement") was signed by the Minister of the Environment and members of the RCF industry in Canada. The companies participating in the 2002 Agreement and the associated voluntary monitoring program were: FibreCast Inc., Pyrotek Industries, Wolf Steel, Thermal Ceramics (a division of Morganite Canada Corporation), RHI Canada Inc. and CFM Majestic Inc. In addition to these companies, Global-GIX participated in the monitoring program.

In 2006, the Environmental Performance Agreement ("2006 Agreement") was renewed and signed by the Minister of the Environment and nine companies from the RCF industry (CFM Majestic, Canadian Ferro Industries, Fibercast Inc., Gemcast Manufacturing Inc., Pyrotek Industries Inc., RHI Canada, Thermal Ceramics, Tremco Canada Division R.P.M. Canada and Wolf Steel). The 2006 Agreement established a maximum allowable fenceline concentration for RCF in ambient air, established monitoring and reporting requirements for RCF emissions, promoted inspection and maintenance of pollution control equipment and confirmed the commitment of the RCF industry to establish and maintain a product stewardship program.

The companies participating in this renewed Environmental Performance Agreement ("2013 Agreement" or "this agreement") with the RCF industry are listed in Annex 1.

Background information on previous Performance Agreements is included in Annex 2.

2.0 Understandings

The 2013 Agreement will be in effect for a period of five (5) years from the date of signing by all parties. This agreement follows from the 2006 Agreement that expired on October 23, 2011.

The 2013 Agreement formally establishes a framework whereby:

2.1 Companies involved in the manufacturing or processing of RCF have been invited to sign this agreement if, for each facility, employees work a total of 20,000 hours or more per year and RCFs are manufactured or processed in a quantity of 10,000 kilograms or more per year. 

2.2 Companies that will engage in manufacturing or processing of RCF in Canada in the future and that meet the criteria in Section 2.1 will be invited to sign this agreement.

2.3 Environment Canada will evaluate the effectiveness of this agreement with respect to the meeting of goals, milestones and performance requirements. If the goals, milestones and performance requirements of this agreement are not being met, the Minister will then determine if further steps or programs are necessary. Industry will be provided an opportunity to justify its performance and help identify actions either undertaken or planned to conform to this agreement.

2.4 For companies that meet the criteria outlined under Section 2.1 but do not participate in this agreement, other options, including regulatory options such as targeting non-participants in a Pollution Prevention Planning Notice under Part 4 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), will be considered.

2.5 In the event of national environmental standards being developed in Canada for this toxic substance, this agreement will be re-evaluated to ensure consistency with the standards.

2.6 This agreement is not intended to prevent the Federal Crown or her agents or servants from recommending or taking any regulatory or other measures necessary for the protection of the environment or human life or health, and nothing in this agreement may be construed as having such preventing effect.

2.7 This proposed agreement was posted for public consultation on Environment Canada's website for 30 days. No public comments were received.

3.0 Performance Requirements

Manufacturers and Processors

3.1 The Participating Company will maintain emissions at or below the acceptable levels established under this agreement.

3.1.1 The maximum allowed fenceline concentration is 0.05 fibre/cc.

3.1.2 Measurements of fenceline RCF concentrations will be conducted annually for the duration of this agreement by the Participating Company, using the testing method stated in Section 3.1.8, until three years of annual testing completed under the 2013 or the 2006 Agreements have demonstrated that RCF emissions have not exceeded the maximum allowed fenceline concentration limit (Section 3.1.1).

3.1.3. Annual testing under Section 3.1.2 will be required if use of RCF is greater than the maximum previous annual reported use under the 2013 or 2006 Agreements.

3.1.4 Any additions or substantial modifications to the process or control equipment will require measurements of fenceline RCF concentrations within three (3) months of such modifications, and results will be included in the annual report.

3.1.5 When testing is invoked via Sections 3.1.3 or 3.1.4, annual testing requirements will be restarted to demonstrate that RCF emissions do not exceed the maximum allowed fenceline concentration limit (Section 3.1.1) and will be conducted for three years or until the end of this agreement, whichever comes first.

3.1.6 Measurements which are below the detectable limit will be reported as “ND” for non-detectable and will be reported with the calculated detection limit.

3.1.7 Fenceline concentrations found to be above the maximum concentration specified in Section 3.1.1 will be corrected within six (6) months via the installation of adequate controls. Corrective actions will be documented within three (3) months.

3.1.8 The acceptable method for fenceline testing shall be the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Method 7400, Asbestos and Other Fibers by Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM). The ambient air monitoring equipment will be situated near the boundary of each facility property. The monitoring locations shall be selected to ensure that the maximum potential ground-level exposure is measured. In order to capture changing weather, a minimum of three samples shall be taken, two samples downwind and one sample upwind. All sampling will take place during production periods of normal operating capacity.

3.2 The Participating Company will establish, implement and/or maintain specific procedures to ensure that:

3.2.1 Pollution control equipment is regularly inspected at a frequency that is compatible with the failure rate and life of the filter, not exceeding four (4) months,

3.2.2 Repairs are undertaken in a timely manner to ensure that the operating efficiency of the pollution control equipment is not significantly impaired,

3.2.3 Pollution control equipment is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure that the operating efficiency is not significantly impaired, and

3.2.4 All inspection and maintenance records are maintained for five (5) years.

3.3 The Participating Company will integrate the Product Stewardship Program (PSP) practices approved by the High Temperature Insulation Wools (HTIW) Coalition into the management system used in the manufacturing and marketing of RCF products.

3.3.1 The Participating Company agrees to adopt the key elements of the PSP, which include, but are not limited to, the use of engineering controls, product research, handling practice modifications and personal protective equipment for the purpose of controlling exposure to airborne RCF, waste minimization and disposal and environmental responsibility.

3.3.2 The Participating Company agrees to educate their employees and customers about PSP, to disseminate guidance developed under PSP, which includes, but is not limited to, correct handling practices, and to recommend support of this program to their customers.

3.4 The Participating Company will:

3.4.1 Hold an annual management review of RCF pollution control equipment and ensure that all identified corrective actions are being addressed.

3.4.2 Complete the Refractory Ceramic Fibre Annual Report Form (Annex 3) as part of the annual management review and submit it to Environment Canada by June 1 of each year during the term of this agreement, at the following address:

Performance Agreements
Regulatory Innovation and Management Systems
Environment Canada
351 St. Joseph Boulevard, 20th Floor
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3
EPA-EPE@gc.ca.ca

The report and associated results will be publicly posted on Environment Canada's website.

3.4.3 Agree to participate with Environment Canada to implement an acceptable verifiable audit process, which is to be conducted during the five (5) years that this agreement is in effect. Environment Canada will review the audits to determine if the participating company has complied with this agreement.

3.4.4 Agree to allow Environment Canada, if necessary, to perform fenceline testing for the purpose of confirming if the maximum allowed fenceline concentration is met (using the method specified in Section 3.1.8 of this Agreement)

Signed for …………………………………………………………………

 by:…………………………….. (Title)

 ………………………………. ……(Name)

Signature: ………………………………….. Date: ……………………….

Signed for Environment Canada by:

……………………………………………………………………………………..

Signature: ……………………    Date: ………………………..

Annex 1 - Companies Participating in this Agreement

Canadian Ferro Refractories Inc. (Stoney Creek)

FibreCast Inc. (Burlington)

Pyrotek Inc. (Drummondville)

Thermal Ceramics, a division of Morganite Canada Corporation (Burlington)

Wolf Steel Ltd. (Barrie)

Annex 2 - Background to the Performance Agreement

Recommendations of the Strategic Options Report

Following the identification of Refractory Ceramic Fibres (RCFs) as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Environment Canada and Health Canada conducted stakeholder consultations and prepared a Strategic Options Report on RCF. The report produced the following recommendations, which were addressed in the 2002 Environmental Performance Agreement (the 2002 Agreement) between industry and Environment Canada (detailed in the section below):

  • RCF manufacturers and processors were to be subject, for a period up to five (5) years, to a program to monitor vent source air emissions and ambient air concentrations at the boundary of the plant property for RCF, in order to gather trend-line data on the quantities of RCF emitted annually and to allow health and environmental specialists to better evaluate the levels of risk to the general population and the environment.
  • RCF manufacturers and processors were to establish end-of-production cycle inspections of pollution control equipment, and periodic preventive inspections.
  • Any person operating a new facility involved in the manufacture or processing of RCF that began operations while the 2002 Agreement was in effect was to be invited to sign the 2002 Agreement.
  • The person operating a new facility was expected to maintain emissions at or below that of other comparable facilities in operation before October 1, 2001, using best available techniques economically achievable.
  • RCF manufacturers and processors were to develop and promote a Product Stewardship Program for RCF, communicating safety and environmental information to customers similar to the information provided by the High Temperature Insulating Wools Coalition, formerly Refractory Ceramic Fibers Coalition, in the United States of America.

2002 Environmental Performance Agreement

The 2002 Environmental Performance Agreement established a framework to implement the recommendations of the Strategic Options Report on RCF and additional requirements set out in the agreement.

Sampling was performed at all participating companies under a monitoring program using the following sampling and analytical procedures; NIOSH Method 7400, Asbestos and Other Fibres by PCM for ambient testing and Environment Canada method EPS-1-AP-75-1, Standard Reference Method for Source Testing: Measurement of Emissions of Asbestos from Mining and Milling Operations, Method S-1 (modified). This sampling established current levels of process emissions and fenceline ambient levels of RCF. The emission data was submitted to Environment Canada for review using the National Pollutant Release Inventory reporting format.

The monitoring showed that fenceline ambient levels of RCF were very low to undetectable, and that stack emissions of RCF had low fibre concentrations. In reviewing this data, Health Canada considered the public risk due to RCF to be low.

The 2002 Environmental Performance Agreement was a five-year agreement, but was re-negotiated in 2005 to include additional processors of RCF identified as meeting the criteria outlined in the 2002 Agreement.  

2006 Environmental Performance Agreement

The 2006 Environmental Performance Agreement established a maximum allowable fenceline concentration for RCF in ambient air. Annual fenceline ambient air monitoring was to be carried out from 2006 to 2010 by participating companies under the 2006 Agreement to ensure that the maximum allowable fenceline concentration of RCF in ambient air was not exceeded.

Fenceline monitoring for all participating companies has consistently shown levels of airborne RCF significantly below the maximum allowable fenceline ambient air concentration of 0.05 fibres/cc.

The 2006 Environmental Performance Agreement was a five-year agreement and better defined the details of the Product Stewardship Program.

Results from the 2006 Agreement have shown that each participating company has a Product Stewardship Program in place, which includes, but is not limited to: the use of engineering controls; handling practice modifications and personal protective equipment for the purpose of controlling exposure to airborne RCF; and education of employees and promotion of guidance materials to customers on RCF stewardship.

In addition, in order to ensure that terms required under the 2006 Agreement were satisfied, verification audits were conducted from June 2010 to December 2010 by Environment Canada personnel from the Ontario, Quebec and National Capital Regions and the RCF industry.

The verification team visited all operating participating companies and reviewed the following:

  • documentation on procedures, equipment maintenance, management review and company product stewardship programs;
  • equipment located inside and outside of the facility building;
  • workspaces including the use of protective measures by employees; and
  • information related to RCF emissions testing.

Verifiers determined that all operating facilities satisfied the requirements related to maintenance and inspections of pollution control equipment and the Product Stewardship Program.

Annex 3 - Refractory Ceramic Fibre Annual Report Form

Reporting year:

1. Company Identification

Company name and address:

Contact name, title, telephone and fax numbers:

Does your company use and/or manufacture and/or sell RCF (check all that apply):

Use: __
Manufacture: __
Sell/Re-sell: __

2. Quantity used and manufactured[2]

For this reporting year, please provide the quantity of RCF:

  • used (kg):
  • manufactured (kg):
  • sold/re-sold (kg):

3. Fenceline Monitoring

Monitoring Results
Monitoring date Monitoring method Monitoring location RCF concentration level (including units)
       
       
       

 

Corrective Actions (if required)
Emission source Action date Corrective action taken
     
     

 

4. Management Review of RCF Emission Controls

Has a management review been conducted?  

Yes __
No __   If no, please comment.

Were any corrective actions necessary based on monitoring results? 

Yes __
No __

If corrective actions were necessary, were all required corrective actions identified and implemented?

Yes __
No __   If no, please comment.

Was there regular inspection, at least every four months, of all pollution control equipment?

Yes __
No __   If no, please comment.

Were any corrective actions necessary based on equipment inspection?

Yes __
No __

If corrective actions were necessary, were all required corrective actions identified and implemented?

Yes __
No __   If no, please comment.

Was a verifiable audit conducted this year?

Yes __
No __

Is a copy of the Audit Report attached?

Yes __
No __

Comments:

5. Product Stewardship Program

Provide a brief description of the Product Stewardship Program elements that were adopted this year as well as the resulting activities (e.g., product research and/or use of RCF substitutes, use of engineering controls, handling practice modifications and personal protective equipment for the purpose of controlling exposure to airborne RCF, waste minimization and disposal, and environmental responsibility).

I declare that this report does not contain false or misleading information.

Date, place:

Signature of person submitting this report:

[1] CAS RN: Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number. The Chemical Abstracts Service information is the property of the American Chemical Society, and any use or redistribution, except as required in supporting regulatory requirements and/or for reports to the Government of Canada when the information and the reports are required by law or administrative policy, is not permitted without the prior written permission of the American Chemical Society.

[2] Pursuant to section 313 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), any person who provides information to the Annual Report may submit, with the information, a written request that it be treated as confidential. A request for confidentiality may be submitted for all or part of the information provided. When requesting confidentiality, specify the parts (e.g., sections) of the information to be treated as confidential. A request should only be made for information that is truly confidential. Upon receipt of a request for confidentiality under section 313 of CEPA 1999, the Minister of the Environment shall not disclose that information, except in accordance with section 315, 316 or 317 of CEPA 1999.

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