Reporting requirements fact sheet: National Pollutant Release Inventory
This page answers general questions about who has to report to the NPRI. It also lists the types of substances covered by the NPRI.
The NPRI is Canada’s inventory of pollutants released to the air, water and land. It also includes pollutants that were disposed of or recycled. The inventory tracks over 300 substances. It is managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Anyone can access the inventory. It includes information that is useful for governments, researchers, the media and the public.
NPRI reporting requirements under Canadian law
Reporting to the NPRI is mandatory under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Reports are due every year by June 1.
Owners and operators of facilities that meet the NPRI reporting requirements published in the Canada Gazette, Part I have to report to the NPRI. The NPRI reporting requirements are complex. The Guide for reporting to the NPRI can help you understand the requirements.
Determining if your facility meets the NPRI reporting requirements
There are three main factors that determine if your facility has to submit an NPRI report:
- The activities that take place at your facility
- The total number of hours worked at your facility
- The substances manufactured, processed, otherwise used, or released to the environment at your facility
To find out if the NPRI requirements apply to your facility, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do any of the following activities take place at my facility?
- waste or sewage sludge incineration
- wood preservation
- fuel terminal operations
- municipal wastewater collection and/or treatment
- pit or quarry operations
- operation of stationary combustion equipment
- Do employees and contractors work more than 20,000 hours during a year (about 10 full-time workers)?
If you answer yes to either or both of the above questions, you may have to submit an NPRI report if you can also answer yes to the following question:
- does my facility manufacture, process, otherwise use, or release, one or more of the NPRI substances and is the quantity above the threshold for that substance?
If you answer no to all of these questions, you may not have to submit an NPRI report.
If you have difficulty in answering these questions, you can refer to Reporting to the National Pollutant Release Inventory for more information. You can also contact the NPRI for assistance.
Facilities operating stationary combustion equipment have to report on criteria air contaminants (CACs) if the release thresholds are met (regardless of employee hours).
If your facility is subject to the Chromium electroplating, chromium anodizing, and reverse etching regulations you must report for hexavalent chromium (and its compounds) regardless of the number of employees and regardless of other reporting thresholds.
You do not need to report releases, disposals or transfers of NPRI substances that came from the following activities:
- education or training of students
- research or testing
- maintenance and repair of vehicles
- distribution, storage or retail sale of fuels, except as part of terminal operations
- wholesale or retail sale of the substance itself or products that contain the substance
- growing, harvesting or management of renewable natural resources
- exploration for oil or gas, or the drilling of oil or gas wells
- discharge of wastewater from a wastewater collection system with an average discharge of less than 10,000 m3 per day
- production of less than 500,000 tonnes at pits or quarries, excluding open-pit mines.
The NPRI substances are divided into five parts based on their reporting criteria.
Part 1A - Core substances
You may need to report Part 1A substances if they were manufactured, processed or otherwise used at a concentration equal to or greater than 1% by weight and in a quantity of 10 tonnes or more. (The exception is for by-products and mine tailings; there is no concentration threshold for Part 1A substances in those cases.)
Examples of substances: Ammonia, zinc, methanol, toluene, phosporus
Examples of facility types: sewage treatment; oil and gas; manufacturers of chemicals, plastics, paint and wood products; metal fabricators
Part 1B - Alternate threshold substances
You may need to report 1B substances if they were manufactured, processed or otherwise used in quantities equal to or more than specific mass thresholds.
Examples of substances: lead, cadmium, arsenic, cobalt, selenium, mercury
Examples of facility types: sewage treatment; wood preservation; metal plating; military bases; pulp and paper mills; power stations; cement and lime manufacturers; hospitals; mining and metal production
Part 2 - Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
You may need to report if PAHs were incidentally manufactured or present in mine tailings, and they were released, disposed of or transferred for recycling in a combined quantity of greater than or equal to 50 kilograms. The exception is for wood preservation facilities that use creosote; they have to report whether or not they reached the 50 kg reporting threshold.
Examples of substances: phenanthrene, pyrene, chrysene, anthracene, quinoline
Examples of facility types: aluminum production; steel manufacturers; pulp and paper mills; oil and gas extraction and refining; cement manufacturers; power stations; wood preservation
Part 3 - Dioxins, Furans and Hexachlorobenzene
You need to report for Part 3 substances if any of the following activities took place at your facility:
- incineration of hazardous or non-hazardous waste, biomedical or hospital waste, or sewage sludge
- chlorinated solvent production
- metal smelting
- power generation using fossil fuels in a boiler unit
- iron and steel manufacturing
- pulp and paper manufacturing
- titanium dioxide pigment production
- cement manufacturing
- magnesium production
- wood preservation using pentachlorophenol
Part 4 - Criteria air contaminants (CACs)
All facilities must consider CACs released from stationary combustion equipment regardless of the number of employees at the facility. As well, facilities with equal to or greater than 20,000 employee hours (including contractors), or where an activity to which the employee threshold does not apply took place, must consider all other sources of CACs at the facility. You may need to report for CACs if they were released to the air from your facility in quantities equal to or greater than their release thresholds.
Examples of substances: Nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, volatile oraganic compounds
Examples of facility types: facilities with boilers burning fuels or waste; electricity generating stations; oil and gas extraction and refining; aluminum production and processing; pulp and paper mills; bakeries; painting operations; printers; waste treatment; mines; pits and quarries; sawmills and wood products operations
Part 5 - Speciated Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - Additional reporting requirements
You may need to report for Part 5 substances if they were released to the air in a quantity equal to or greater than 1 tonne and the 10 tonne air release threshold for VOCs (under Part 4) was met.
For more information about reporting requirements, review the Guide for reporting to the NPRI and refer to the Notice with Respect to Substances in the NPRI, published annual in the Canada Gazette, Part I.
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