2014 amendments to the PCB regulations
Objectives of the 2014 Amendments to the PCB Regulations
The Regulations Amending the PCB Regulations and Repealing the Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations were published on April 23, 2014, in the Canada Gazette, Part II, and came into force on January 1, 2015. The amendments repeal the Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations and clarify or update the text in several areas of the PCB Regulations. The most notable amendments are the addition of an end-of-use deadline date of December 31, 2025, for specific electrical equipment located at electrical generation, transmission, or distribution facilities (subsection 16[2.1]) and related reporting requirements (subsection 33). This fact sheet focuses on these two subsections of the amendments. The full text of the amendments is available online.
New End-of-use Deadline for Specific Equipment (new subsection 16[2.1])
A new end-of-use deadline of December 31, 2025, has been added to the PCB Regulations for certain types of electrical equipment. In order for equipment to remain in use until this date, all of the following criteria must be met:
- the equipment is, or performs the function of, a current transformer, potential transformer, circuit breaker, recloser or bushing;
- the equipment is located at an electrical generation, transmission or distribution facility;
- the equipment contains polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a concentration of 500 mg/kg or more;
- the equipment was in use on September 5, 2008.
An explanation of each of these criteria follows.
Identification of equipment affected by the amendments
To identify equipment affected by the amendments, it is necessary to know its function. In most cases, the equipment nameplate or manufacturer identification plate will indicate the type of equipment. Otherwise, the services of a specialist may be required. The names of equipment used in the electrical industry may vary. The common synonyms for equipment to which the amendments could apply are listed below.
Current transformers (also known as metering transformers)
Current transformers are a type of measuring device. They are commonly used in metering and protective relays in the electrical power industry. Current transformers often have two electrical connection points.
Potential transformers (also known as voltage transformers)
Potential transformers are a measuring device used for metering and protection in high-voltage circuits. Potential transformers often have one electrical connection point.
Circuit breakers (also known as oil circuit breakers)
Circuit breakers are automatically operated electrical switches designed to protect an electrical circuit from overload or short circuit. Circuit breakers function by opening a set of contacts to interrupt current flow upon detecting a fault condition. There are several types of circuit breakers used by electrical utilities, which may contain either PCBs, mineral oil, air or sulphur hexafluoride
Reclosers (also known as autoreclosers)
In electrical power distribution, a recloser is a circuit breaker equipped with a mechanism that can automatically close the circuit breaker after it has been opened due to a fault. Reclosers are used on overhead distribution systems to detect and interrupt momentary faults and to automatically restore power when the momentary fault is cleared.
Bushings are insulating devices that allow an electrical conductor to pass safely through a grounded conducting barrier such as a transformer case, circuit breaker or building wall. Bushings insulate conductors and connect to other equipment at both ends. A typical bushing design has a conductor (usually of copper or aluminum) surrounded by insulation except for the terminal ends. Bushings are often found bolted to the top of electrical equipment.
Subsection 16(2.1) only applies to equipment located in a facility that generates, transmits or distributes electricity. Although the majority of these facilities are associated with electrical utilities, there are some facilities that are owned and operated by large industries to supply their own power needs. Examples of industries that may have their own electrical power facilities include mining operations, food processing, pulp and paper, iron and steel production, oil extraction and refineries, waste management, manufacturing, and commercial facilities. There are also electrical facilities that are owned and operated by municipalities.
Concentration of PCBs in equipment
Subsection 16(2.1) only applies to equipment containing PCBs in a concentration of 500 mg/kg or more.
Date of use of equipment
Subsection 16(2.1) only applies to equipment that was in use on September 5, 2008, the day the PCB Regulations came into force. Subsection 16(2.1) does not apply to equipment that is being stored for potential future use.
Reporting (subsection 33)
Annual reporting, as required in subsection 33(4), of the status of each piece of equipment of known PCB concentration of 500 mg/kg or more captured in subsection 16(2.1) began for the calendar year 2015.
For further information on the reporting requirements of the PCB Regulations, see the PCB Reporting and Record Keeping fact sheet.
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The guidance contained in this document should be used for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal guidance, since it does not reflect all the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 or the PCB Regulations. Thus should there be any discrepancy between this document and the Act or the regulations, the Act and the regulations will prevail.
For the purpose of interpreting and applying the regulations, users must consult the regulations on Justice Canada’s website.
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