Management of toxic substances: incineration sector

Canada-wide Standards (CWS) lend themselves to achievement through voluntary action, or through compliance with regulated or legally enforceable limits. The CWS are applicable to incineration facilities that process municipal waste, medical waste and hazardous waste. Waste incinerators are used primarily to thermally treat (e.g., combust or pyrolyze) a waste for the purpose of reducing its volume, destroying a hazardous chemical present in the waste, or destroying pathogens present in the waste. This includes facilities where waste heat is recovered as a by product from the exhaust gases from an incinerator, but does not include industrial processes where fuel derived from waste is fired as an energy source as a matter of incidental to the manufacture of the primary product. Waste Incineration has historically been responsible for a significant portion of Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) emitted in Canada. These substances commonly known as dioxins and furans are toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative, and result predominantly from human activity. Dioxins and furans are slated for virtual elimination under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), the federal Toxic Substances Management Policy (TSMP) and the CCME (Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment) Policy for the Management of Toxic Substances. The total release of dioxins and furans from the incineration sector amounts to 44.9 g/TEQ/y or 22.5% of the total releases to the atmosphere. Actions to reduce national emissions require that any new facilities meet stringent limits, and that the bulk of the emissions from existing facilities be controlled through retrofits with control technology that is efficient at destroying dioxins and furans. Diverting waste from incinerators would result in less incineration overall and thus avoid creation of dioxins and furans.

Risk Management Tool(s)

Tool(s) developed to manage risks associated with releases:

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