Proposals for changes: National Pollutant Release Inventory

The following are the current and recently completed proposals for changes to the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). Changes are considered in accordance with the Process for proposing and considering changes to the NPRI. If you have any comments related to these proposals, please contact the NPRI.

A list of Historical proposals and consultations for changes to the NPRI is available with supporting documentation available upon request.

Current proposals
Proposal Public consultation period Status
Proposed changes for chlorinated alkanes
(June 2017)
June 6, 2017 to August 22, 2017 Consultation open until August 22, 2017. ECCC will then consider comments received.
Proposal to add unit-level reporting for electricity generation
(June 2017)
June 6, 2017 to August 22, 2017 Consultation open until August 22, 2017. ECCC will then consider comments received.
Proposal to update the list of Part 5 speciated volatile organic compounds
(June 2017)
June 6, 2017 to August 22, 2017 Consultation open until August 22, 2017. ECCC will then consider comments received.
Stacks and shutdown periods
(May 2017)
May 24, 2017 to August 2, 2017 Consultation completed - ECCC considering comments received.
Pollution prevention activities
(May 2017)
May 24, 2017 to August 2, 2017 Consultation completed - ECCC considering comments received.
Proposed deletions
(April 2017)
April 24, 2017 to June 30, 2017 Consultation completed - ECCC considering comments received
Proposal to modify requirements for the upstream oil and gas sector
(Revised May 2017)
April 21, 2017 to June 16, 2017 Consultation completed - ECCC considering comments received
Proposal to modify the options for “reasons for change"
(March 2017)
March 15, 2017 to May 15, 2017 Consultation completed - ECCC considering comments received
Notification regarding reporting for releases less than one tonne
(March 2017)
Not applicable to notifications Completed - planned for the NPRI notice that will be published in the Canada Gazette for 2018
Proposal to modify the reporting requirements for hexavalent chromium (and its compounds)
(September 2016)
September 29, 2016 to November 30, 2016 Consultation completed - ECCC considering comments received
Notification of removal of the CAS RN for vanadium (and its compounds)
(June 2016)
Not applicable to notifications Completed - planned for the NPRI notice that will be published in the Canada Gazette for 2018
Proposal to modify the reporting requirements for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
(June 2016)
June 16, 2016 to September 15, 2016 Consultation completed - ECCC considering comments received
Proposal to add naphthenic acids
(Updated July 2014)
To be determined Pending additional information

 

Recently completed proposals
Proposal and ECCC response Public consultation period Status
Proposal to lower the reporting threshold for cobalt
(Updated March 2016)

April 17, 2015 to June 26, 2015
Completed - changes reflected in the NPRI notice for 2016 and 2017
Proposal to modify the reporting of water releases
(Updated March 2016)
April 17, 2015 to June 26, 2015 Completed - changes reflected in the NPRI notice for 2016 and 2017
Proposed deletions in response to the NPRI substance review phase 2
(Updated March 2016)
October 30, 2014 to January 12, 2015 Completed - changes reflected in the NPRI notice for 2016 and 2017

Proposal to add ten substances

Proposal
(April 2012)

Environment and Climate Change Canada's response
(Updated July 2015)

Not applicable - proposal rejected as it did not meet NPRI decision factors Completed - no changes made

Proposed changes to the NPRI for chlorinated alkanes

Consultation document - June 2017

The following is a summary of the proposal. To obtain a copy of the full proposal, please contact the NPRI.

Summary

The NPRI substance list currently includes two substances containing short-chain (C10-13) chlorinated alkanes. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is proposing to replace these substances with two categories that include medium-chain (C14-17) and long-chain (C18-20) chlorinated alkanes, as of the 2018 reporting year.

ECCC proposes to delete the following NPRI Part 1A substances:

  • Alkanes, C10-13, chloro (chlorinated alkanes, C10-13), CAS RN 85535-84-8
  • Alkanes, C6-18, chloro (chlorinated alkanes, C6-18), CAS RN 68920-70-7

ECCC also proposes to add the following substances, at a reduced reporting threshold of 1,000 kg manufactured, processed or otherwise used:

  • Medium-chain chlorinated alkanes (CnHxCl(2n+2-x)), where n = 14 to 17, CAS RN NA
  • Long-chain chlorinated alkanes (CnHxCl(2n+2-x)), where n = 18 to 20, CAS RN NA

Chlorinated alkanes containing 10 to 20 carbon chain lengths are listed on Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) (i.e. List of Toxic Substances). As of 2013, short-chain (C10-13) chlorinated alkanes are subject to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 . These regulations prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale or import of short-chain (C10-13) chlorinated alkanes and products containing them, with a limited number of exemptions. Since short-chain (C10-13) chlorinated alkanes are prohibited, ECCC intends to adjust NPRI reporting requirements to focus on medium-chain (C14-17) and long-chain (C18-20) chlorinated alkanes as they are currently used in Canada.

ECCC will consult with the NPRI Multi-Stakeholder Work Group on these potential changes from June 6, 2017 to August 22, 2017. Public comments on these proposed changes should be sent to NPRI by August 22, 2017.

The department will consider comments and recommendations received during consultations when making a final decision on these proposed changes. ECCC will make available a summary of comments and recommendations received from the NPRI Work Group and others, along with the responses to comments and the decision, once they are completed.

Proposal to add unit-level reporting requirements to the NPRI for releases of criteria air contaminants and mercury from electricity generation

Consultation document - June 2017

The following is a summary of the proposal. To obtain a copy of the full proposal, please contact the NPRI.

Summary

The NPRI currently collects emission data for criteria air contaminants (CACs) and mercury at the facility-level for facilities that meet the NPRI reporting criteria. When a facility has more than one electricity generating unit or when an electricity generating unit is located at a facility with more than one activity (e.g. an oil sands facility with a cogeneration unit), facility-level reporting does not provide comprehensive information on the environmental performance and impacts of electricity generation. Age, process design and air emission controls can result in different emission profiles from individual units operating at a single facility.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is proposing to require the reporting of unit-level information to the NPRI for electricity generating units with capacity of 25 MW or more and that distribute or sell to the grid 33% or more of their potential electrical output. The proposed changes would come into effect for the 2018 reporting year.

Consultation on the proposed change is being conducted with the NPRI Multi-stakeholder Work Group from June 6, 2017 to August 22, 2017. The public is also invited to provide comments on this proposal and send them to the NPRI by August 22, 2017.

Comments and recommendations received during consultation will be considered as ECCC makes a decision on this proposed change. A summary of comments and recommendations received from the NPRI Work Group and others will be posted on the NPRI website, along with ECCC’s response and the decision, once it is available.

Proposal to update the NPRI list of part 5 speciated volatile organic compounds

Consultation document - June 2017

The following is a summary of the proposal. To obtain a copy of the full proposal, please contact the NPRI.

Summary

When the NPRI Part 5 list of speciated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was originally developed, the goal was to have 80% of the total VOCs that are reported in Part 4 broken down into individual VOC species listed in Part 5. Over the last 10 years, the rate of speciation has ranged from about 50-70% and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) would like to improve this by deleting less relevant species and adding more relevant species. ECCC is proposing to make the following changes to the list of speciated VOCs listed in Part 5:

  1. Fourteen VOC species or isomer groups currently on the NPRI Part 5 VOC list are proposed to be removed due to the low level of emissions that have been reported to the NPRI over the past decade for these species;
  2. The listings for seven Part 5 species are proposed to be modified - the individual listings for six of these substances with low reported releases will be removed, but they will be captured under other Part 5 groups and the listing of the seventh will be modified by adding additional isomers; and
  3. Six species, isomer groups, or mixtures are proposed to be added to this list based on analyses suggesting that these compounds have higher emissions.

While the net effect of these changes will be to shorten the Part 5 list by 14 entries, it is expected that the revised Part 5 list will increase the overall speciation of Part 4 VOC emissions.

Consultation on the proposed changes is being conducted with the NPRI Multi-Stakeholder Work Group from June 6 to August 22, 2017. Public comments on this proposed change should be sent to NPRI by August 22, 2017. Comments and recommendations received during consultation will be considered as ECCC makes decisions on the proposed changes. A summary of comments and recommendations received from the NPRI Work Group and others will be posted on the NPRI website, with ECCC’s response and the decisions, once they are available.

Proposal to change the NPRI reporting requirements for stacks and shutdown periods

Consultation document - May 2017

The following is a summary of the proposal. To obtain a copy of the full proposal, please contact the NPRI.

Summary

The NPRI has specific reporting requirements for criteria air contaminants (CACs), including requirements to provide information on shutdown periods longer than one week (start and end dates, and comments) and to report information on the characteristics of and emissions from stacks with a height of 50 meters or more above grade. These additional data elements are used to support air quality modelling; reporting requirements under the Ozone Annex of the Canada/U.S. Air Quality Agreement; quality control of pollutant inventories; and trend analyses and emissions forecasting. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is proposing several minor changes to the requirements to further support these objectives, including whether facility shutdowns are regularly occurring and whether they are complete or partial, and provincial identification numbers and latitude and longitude coordinates for stacks.

Consultation on the proposed change took place from May 24, 2017 to August 2, 2017. Comments and recommendations received during consultation will be considered as ECCC makes a decision on the proposed change. A summary of comments and recommendations received from the NPRI Work Group and others will be posted on the NPRI website, along with ECCC’s decision, once it is available.

Proposed changes to the NPRI reporting requirements for pollution prevention activities

Consultation Document - May 2017

The following is a summary of the proposal. To obtain a copy of the full proposal, please contact the NPRI.

Summary

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is proposing a number of minor changes for reporting to the NPRI about pollution prevention (P2) activities, to improve data understandability in response to data user needs. The changes, which include simplifying the online reporting system by standardizing inputs and removing certain options, and collecting additional contextual information, are proposed to come into effect for the 2018 reporting year.

Consultation on the proposed change took place from May 24, 2017 to August 2, 2017. Comments and recommendations received during consultation will be considered as ECCC makes a decision on these proposed changes. A summary of comments and recommendations received from the NPRI Work Group and others will be posted on the NPRI website, along with ECCC’s response and the decision, once it is available.

NPRI proposed deletions

Consultation document - April 2017

The following is a summary of the proposal. To obtain a copy of the full proposal, please contact the NPRI.

Summary

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) continuously reviews the NPRI substance list in order to improve the inventory as well as to meet both departmental priorities and data user needs. This work involves reviewing the NPRI substance list for completeness and relevancy, including whether reporting thresholds are appropriate for gathering pollutant release data in Canada. The NPRI has implemented a number of changes to reporting requirements for the 2014 and 2016 reporting years.

ECCC is now proposing to delete the following eight substances that are currently listed on the NPRI substance list starting with the 2018 reporting year:

  1. 3-Chloropropionitrile (CAS RN 542-76-7)
  2. Crotonaldehyde (CAS RN 4170-30-3)
  3. 2-Methylpyridine (CAS RN 109-06-8)
  4. 2,4,4-Trimethylhexamethylene diisocyanate (CAS RN 15646-96-5)
  5. C.I. Solvent 14 (CAS RN 842-07-9)
  6. 2,4-Diaminotoluene (and its salts) (CAS RN 95-80-7)
  7. p-Nitroaniline (CAS RN 100-01-6)
  8. Nitrobenzene (CAS RN 98-95-3)

The rationale for proposing to delete these substances is that they no longer meet the NPRI decision criteria for listing substances. These substances have not been reported to the NPRI and are not considered to be of health or environmental concern in Canada. The Department, however, will evaluate any new information pertaining to these substances as it becomes available. In the event that new information demonstrates that these substances meet the NPRI decision factors, they will be considered for re-addition to the NPRI substance list.

Consultation on the proposed change took place from April 24, 2017 to June 30, 2017. Comments and recommendations received during consultation will be considered as ECCC makes a decision on this proposed change. A summary of comments and recommendations received from the NPRI Work Group and others will be posted on the NPRI website, along with ECCC’s response and the decision, once it is available.

Environment and Climate Change Canada proposal to modify NPRI requirements for the upstream oil and gas sector

Consultation document - May 2017

The following is a summary of the proposal. To obtain a copy of the full proposal, please contact the NPRI. Please note that this proposal was revised on May 11, 2017.

Summary

As part of the NPRI Oil and Gas Sector Review, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) established a multi-stakeholder Sub-Working Group in April 2016 to explore issues related to reporting from facilities in the upstream oil and gas extraction sector. Discussions of the Sub-Working Group concluded in March 2017 with a set of recommended changes to NPRI reporting requirements to be put in place for the 2018-2019 reporting years. ECCC is proposing to move ahead with the recommendations of the Sub-Working Group, as outlined in this proposal.

The multi-stakeholder Sub-Working Group was composed of members from ECCC, industry associations, environmental non-governmental organizations, provinces, and other federal government departments, including Natural Resources Canada and the National Energy Board. The goal of the review was to identify potential changes to NPRI reporting requirements and related aspects in order to achieve greater reporting coverage of pollutants of concern from oil and gas extraction facilities, including from small facilities in this sector that currently do not report to the NPRI for a variety of reasons.

Proposed changes to NPRI requirements would mean that all oil and gas facilities that currently meet the stationary combustion equipment release thresholds for any criteria air contaminant (CAC) will need to report all CAC emissions from all sources. Also, oil batteries that meet certain production and oil type thresholds would need to report volatile organic compound (VOC) and benzene emissions from their storage tanks. Finally, to facilitate the tracking of smaller facilities in the oil and gas extraction sector, improved guidance on the reporting of provincial regulator identification numbers would be provided. As part of a continuous improvement approach, the impact of these changes on reporting coverage would be examined after two years of data have been collected.

Consultation on the proposed change took place from April 21, 2017 to June 16, 2017. Comments and recommendations received during consultation will be considered as ECCC makes a decision on this proposed change. A summary of comments and recommendations received from the NPRI Work Group and others will be posted on the NPRI website, along with ECCC’s response and the decision, once it is available.

Proposal to modify the options for “reasons for change” in the NPRI reporting module

Consultation document - March 2017

The following is a summary of the proposal. To obtain a copy of the full proposal, please contact the NPRI.

Summary

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is proposing to modify NPRI reporting requirements, so that users will be able to better understand why reported quantities of NPRI substances change over time. The proposed changes are intended to address comments raised by NPRI data users, as well as streamline the quality control process performed by NPRI staff.

The NPRI collects information on the reason for change when a reported value varies from a previous year’s report. As of the 2018 reporting year, ECCC is proposing improvements to the list of options for reporting reasons for change, and specifying which reasons for change require additional contextual information to explain the changes in reported values.

Consultation on the proposed change took place from March 15, 2017 to May 15, 2017. Comments and recommendations received during consultation will be considered as ECCC makes a decision on this proposed change. A summary of comments and recommendations received from the NPRI Work Group and others will be posted on the NPRI website, along with ECCC’s response and the decision, once it is available.

Notification regarding NPRI reporting for releases less than one tonne for Part 1A substances

Notification - March 2017

The following is a summary of the notification. To obtain a copy of the full notification, please contact the NPRI.

Summary

To simplify data analysis and improve available information, data users suggested that changes be made to require a breakdown of releases to air, water and land for all releases reported to the NPRI. Currently, where releases are less than one tonne for Part 1A substances, releases can be reported as a total release to all media. In response to the suggestions, internal analysis was done and it was found that implementing these changes would increase reporting burden significantly and that the total quantity of releases reported in this manner is a small percentage of the total reported releases..

Environment and Climate Change Canada is not proposing any changes to reporting requirements at this time related to this issue, but intends to make the option for reporting of releases of less than one tonne of Part 1A substances explicit in the NPRI Notice and reporting guidance documents, and provide additional guidance to NPRI data users.

Proposal to modify the NPRI reporting requirements for hexavalent chromium and its compounds

Consultation document - September 2016

The following is a summary of the proposal. To obtain a copy of the full proposal, please contact the NPRI.

Summary

Commencing with the 2018 reporting year, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is proposing to amend the NPRI reporting requirements for hexavalent chromium (and its compounds) released, disposed, and recycled from the chromium electroplating, chromium anodizing and reverse etching sector. Under current reporting requirements, all facilities in any sector that manufacture, process or otherwise use 50 kg or more of hexavalent chromium per year at a concentration equal to or greater than 0.1% by weight must report their hexavalent chromium releases, disposals and transfers to the NPRI. Facilities also need to meet the employee threshold of 20,000 or greater employee hours (approximately 10 full-time employees) to be required to report.

This proposal seeks to require facilities that are subject to the Chromium Electroplating, Chromium Anodizing and Reverse Etching Regulations to report to the NPRI for hexavalent chromium releases, disposals, and recycling, regardless of the number of employee hours and regardless of quantity and concentration. Under the current NPRI requirements, about one third of the facilities subject to the Regulations are required to report. The proposed change will increase the coverage of facilities subject to the Regulations to 100% and allow risk managers to better measure performance of the Regulations and provide more complete information on this substance in the NPRI.

The proposed change is only intended to change the reporting requirements for facilities that are subject to the Regulations and that are below the current NPRI threshold of 50 kg and 20,000 employee hours. In other words, facilities that are currently reporting hexavalent chromium to the NPRI will not be affected by these changes whether they are subject to the Regulations or not.

Consultation on the proposed change took place from September 29, 2016 to November 30, 2016. Comments and recommendations received during consultation will be considered as ECCC makes a decision on this proposed change. A summary of comments and recommendations received from the NPRI Work Group and others will be posted on the NPRI website, along with ECCC's response and the decision, once it is available.

Notification regarding vanadium (and its compounds) - Removal of the Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number from the NPRI

Notification - June 2016

The following is a summary of the notification. To obtain a copy of the full notification, please contact the NPRI.

Summary

ECCC will remove the CAS RN from the NPRI listing for vanadium (and its compounds, except when in an alloy) starting in 2018 in order to reflect the intention to capture vanadium in compounds and align with the listings for other metal groupings. Facilities can find CAS RNs for vanadium and vanadium compounds in commerce in Canada using the Search Engine for the Results of Domestic Substances List Categorization.

“Vanadium (fume or dust)” with the CAS RN 7440-62-2 was on the NPRI substance list from 1993-2000. In 2001, the substance name was changed to “vanadium (and its compounds, except when in an alloy)” with the same CAS RN. However, since this CAS RN refers to elemental vanadium, it does not reflect the intent of the change since it does not include vanadium compounds. Other metal and metal compounds on the NPRI substance list are listed without specific CAS RNs, in order to reflect the intention to capture the equivalent weight of the metal in compounds, as well as the weight of the pure metal.

Proposed changes to reporting requirements for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in response to the NPRI Substance Review

Consultation document - May 2016

The following is a summary of the proposal. To obtain a copy of the full proposal, please contact the NPRI.

Summary

In order to continually improve the NPRI and meet both departmental priorities and data user needs, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has been conducting a review of the NPRI substance list. This review involves verifying that the NPRI substance list is complete and relevant, and that reporting thresholds are appropriate for gathering data on pollutant releases in Canada.

Based on the analyses conducted on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on the NPRI substance list as part of this review, ECCC is proposing to

  1. Change the current incidental manufacture and release/transfer mass threshold for Part 2 PAHs to a release/transfer mass threshold. All sources of PAH releases and transfers will have to be reported: intentional and incidental manufacture, processing and otherwise use.
  2. Remove the 5 kg threshold for reporting of individual PAHs in Part 2. The threshold for total PAHs would remain unchanged (50 kg). Once the 50 kg threshold is met, all known quantities of individual listed PAHs would be required to be reported.
  3. Reduce the reporting threshold for anthracene and naphthalene by moving them from Part 1A to Part 2 of the NPRI substance list. In Part 1A, these substances have a mass threshold of 10 tonnes and a concentration threshold of 1%. Moving anthracene and naphthalene to Part 2 will lower the mass threshold and remove the concentration threshold and change the reporting unit from tonnes to kilograms for these two substances.
  4. Change the name of benzo(a)phenanthrene to chrysene. This would change the way this substance is listed to its more common name, but not affect the requirements for this substance.

Overall, the benefits of implementing these changes, in terms of gathering additional information in a format that is more easily used, are expected to outweigh the impacts of the changes. Changing the threshold type for Part 2 PAHs is expected to result in some facilities that already report for PAHs being required to report additional quantities or additional individual PAHs and may result in reporting from certain facilities that were not previously required to report for PAHs, which in turn is expected to improve comprehensiveness of PAH reporting. Although removing the 5 kg threshold for reporting of individual PAHs may result in some additional reporting of PAHs for which quantities are below 5 kg, this will result in reduced complexity of the requirements and is expected to apply only to facilities that are already reporting for one of more individual PAHs and who have already completed the required calculations. The reduced threshold for anthracene and naphthalene with their inclusion in Part 2 is expected to result in additional reporting from facilities on these substances, which will in turn make the data more comprehensive and is also anticipated to have a benefit in making the PAH data more easily used and understood. The change of name for chrysene is not expected to have any impact on reporting, but is anticipated to be of benefit for data users.

Consultation on the proposed changes took place from June 16, 2016 to September 15, 2016. Comments and recommendations received during consultation will be considered as ECCC makes decisions on the proposed changes. A summary of comments and recommendations received from the NPRI Work Group and others will be posted on the NPRI website, with ECCC’s response and the decisions, once they are available.

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