Wood preservation facilities, general recommendations: chapter A-10


10. Environmental and Workplace Monitoring

This is an image of a monitoring well for underground water.

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Site monitoring and workplace exposure assessment are strongly recommended at wood preservation facilities, in accordance with the design and operating objectives described in this manual, to verify that chemicals are being properly managed at the site and to achieve environmental and worker health protection.

The level of detail and scope of these monitoring activities depends on site characteristics, facility design and regulatory requirements. The minimal components of a site environmental, worker exposure monitoring and health monitoring program are contained in Tables 25 and 26.

10.1 Baseline Environmental Evaluation

It is important to determine the baseline background levels of any of the wood preservative’s constituents and its breakdown products on site and in the surrounding environment prior to commencing operations. This will provide a basis for comparison in future assessments of pollution controls at the facility. Baseline data to be collected should include surface water, groundwater and soil, and as shown in the following template of Table 24.

10.2 Environmental Monitoring

Environmental monitoring requirements (mainly for soil, groundwater and surface water; sometimes air) would normally be developed in consultation with the applicable provincial and federal regulatory agencies to ensure regulatory requirements are being addressed and along with environmental professional(s) (e.g. hydrogeologist or environmental engineer). Additional consultation with Environment Canada would be required if the facilities affect federally managed resources (e.g. facilities located on or adjacent to Aboriginal lands, federal lands or adjacent to waters frequented by fish and/or migratory birds).

Areas to be monitored may include the following:

  • areas where preservative chemicals are stored, processed and handled
  • all treated wood storage areas
  • areas located down gradient from the above
  • drainage ditches and areas exposed to runoff
  • adjacent water bodies
  • storm water runoff

The quality of water is determined by its physical, chemical and biological characteristics. These characteristics are measured in either a laboratory setting or on site in the field in order to determine if known maximum allowable limits are exceeded.

By conducting regular, systematic measurements of the physical, chemical and biological conditions of water bodies, the facility is able to measure changes and conditions of waterbodies, identify emerging issues and track the results of remedial measures.

10.3 Workplace Exposure Monitoring

Baseline initial assessments of workplace exposures should be carried out in order to identify the potential sources of exposure including their airborne concentrations. These potential sources include cylinder doors, fixation/stabilization areas, fixation chamber, kiln, exhaust vents, enclosed preservative process areas and drip pad areas. The peak and 8-hour average levels of all preservative constituents at these areas should be assessed and determined. A long-term exposure monitoring program should be included as part of the worker health monitoring programs. These programs should be developed in consultation with provincial and/or local regulatory agencies, provincial workers’ compensation board and/or department of labour and/or industrial physician/industrial hygienist. These programs should also be correlated with the biological monitoring discussed in Section 6.4. The programs should be re-assessed and updated if there are any changes in plant design and/or operating practices.

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