Textile mills that use wet processing: response to comments on proposed notice



The Minister of the Environment published a proposed notice requiring the preparation and implementation of pollution prevention (P2) plans in respect of nonylphenol (NP) and its ethoxylates (NPE) used in the wet processing textile industry and effluents from textile mills that use wet processing (TMEs) in Part I of the Canada Gazette on June 7, 2003, as per section 91 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999).

Stakeholders had 60 days to provide comments on the proposed notice. Written comments, questions and concerns on the proposed notice were received from a variety of stakeholders including textile mills, industry associations, manufacturers of products containing NP and NPEs, as well as other levels of government.

All comments received during this 60-day comment period have been considered in the preparation of the final notice requiring the preparation and implementation of P2 plans. Under section 92 of CEPA 1999, publication of the final notice must be within 18 months of the publication of the proposed notice, or no later than December 7, 2004.

Comment #1: Will there be any assistance programs from Environment and Climate Change Canada, other departments or other sources to assist mills in meeting the P2 planning requirements?

Response #1: Environment and Climate Change Canada has developed a “Technical Resource Guide Prepared to Assist Wet Processing Required to Prepare and Implement Pollution Prevention Plans under CEPA 1999” for the industry. This technical resource guide replaces and builds on the previous “Instructions Insert” circulated with the proposed notice. A copy of the technical resource guide can be obtained from one of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s regional offices. Contact information can be found in section 19 of the notice.

The Canadian Center for Pollution Prevention has also developed, with Environment and Climate Change Canada’s support, an internet resource centre containing references to pollution prevention planning for the textile industry.

The National Office of Pollution Prevention also offers information on pollution prevention and pollution prevention planning. Contact information for the National Office of Pollution Prevention can be found in section 19 of the notice.

Industry Canada administers the Canadian Apparel and Textile Industries Program. Its goal is to work in partnership with apparel and textile companies so they can become more innovative and ready to pursue new market opportunities. Pollution prevention projects that meet the program requirements may be eligible under this program.

There are other funding or financial assistance programs that can provide assistance to mills required to prepare and implement pollution prevention projects. The technical resource guide contains a section on possible funding and training opportunities that mills can take advantage of.

Comment #2: Phenol,nonyl-,phosphite (otherwise known as trisnonylphenyl phosphite or TNPP) should be removed from the list of Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Numbers for most commonly used NP and NPEs in Canadian industry.

Response #2: Environment and Climate Change Canada has removed TNPP from this list of CAS Numbers for most commonly used NP and NPEs in Canadian industry since we do not consider TNPP to be a NP or a NPE. However, because TNPP is derived from NP, typically contains free NP as an impurity at 1 to 3% and has the potential to produce NP as a result of its degradation, it has been added to the list of most commonly used NP and NPEs salts and derivatives in use in Canadian industry. This list is provided in the TRG to outline substances which, due to their potential to produce NP or NPEs, are not appropriate alternatives to NP and NPEs.

Comment #3: Greater clarification is needed on the processes that are and are not within the scope of “wet textile processing”.

Response #3: Environment and Climate Change Canada considers wet textile processes as textile manufacturing and processing processes that discharge significant quantities of water. The final notice targets mills that carry out the following processes, considered as wet processes: scouring, neutralizing, desizing, mercerizing, carbonizing, fulling, bleaching, dyeing, printing, finishing and any other wet processes. In order to clarify what is within the scope of wet textile processing, definitions of the processes which Environment and Climate Change Canada considers to be wet textile processing, as defined in the supporting document to the Priority Substances List Assessment carried out on textile mill effluentsFootnote 1, have been included in the technical resource guide. Definitions of each wet process are in line with numerous technical references used by the industry.

Comment #4: In order that a mill be subject to the pollution prevention planning requirements, they must meet three criteria. One criteria is that they must discharge their effluents to an off-site wastewater treatment plant. Why not include mills that discharge directly to the environment in the P2 planning requirements?

Response #4: Mills that discharge directly to the environment are not subject to the pollution prevention planning requirements, however, these mills must comply with subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, which states that no person shall deposit or permit the deposit of a deleterious substance of any type in water frequented by fish or in any place under any conditions where the deleterious substance or any other deleterious substance that results from the deposit of the deleterious substance may enter any such water. Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for enforcing this subsection of the Fisheries Act.

Comment #5: The proposed reduction of 97% mass use of NP and NPEs is virtual elimination which is inappropriate for NP and NPEs.

Response #5: A 97% reduction of NP and NPEs from processing aids used in textile wet processing is not equivalent to virtual elimination of NP and NPEs from the environment because the use of NP and NPEs in the textile industry accounts for approximately 20% of all NP and NPEs releases according to data gathered by Environment and Climate Change Canada in the development of the risk management strategy.

Comment #6: The overall risk management objective should be the environmental objective.

Response #6: There are two types of objectives in the risk management strategy. The first is the environmental objective which describes a condition of the environment which would be desirable to achieve. The second objective is the risk management objective which is release- or product-based depending on what the industry can manage, prevent or control. For NP and NPEs, the environmental objective is to achieve ambient concentrations in Canadian waters that do not exceed the Canadian Water Quality Guidelines of 1.0 µg/L NP TEQ for freshwater and 0.7 µg/L NP TEQ for marine waters. It is difficult to make a direct link between the risk management objective and the environmental objective because the concentration of NP and NPEs in the environment depends on various release sources and conditions, which is difficult to relate directly to the concentration of NP and NPEs in certain products. Environment and Climate Change Canada believes that the risk management objectives set forth for the sectors targeted will result in the environmental objective being met. Furthermore, the risk management objective for the wet processing industry is based on the best available techniques economically achievable.

Comment #7: The P2 planning requirement should provide flexibility in developing P2 Plans such that means other than product reformulation, such as best available control technologies or improved wastewater treatment, are options to achieve the overall environmental objective for NP and NPEs.

Response #7: P2 Planning under Part 4 of the CEPA 1999 provides flexibility to industry when developing and implementing their pollution prevention plans. Although pollution prevention actions are recommended, industries may develop their own facility-specific pollution prevention plan and decide which actions they are going to implement in order to meet the risk management objectives.

Furthermore, improved wastewater treatment is not the focus of the proposed instrument for a number of reasons:

Comment #8: Guidance should be provided on means to assess suitable substitutes to NP and NPEs.

Response #8: A study on alternatives to NP and NPEs has been conducted and is available to all stakeholders. The study reviewed the environmental profile (in other words, toxicity, biodegradation), effectiveness and availability of the three most commonly used groups of alternatives to NP and NPEs. It concluded that there is a wide variety of surfactants that can be used as effective substitutes for NP and NPEs and that have better environmental profiles. As well, some common alternatives for NP and NPEs degrade much more rapidly and therefore pose a lesser threat to the environment.

Comment #9: It is inappropriate to prohibit the use of octylphenol (OP) and octylphenol ethoxylates (OPEs) as a substitute to NP and NPEs.

Response #9: The P2 planning requirements do not prohibit the use of OP and OPEs. However, Environment and Climate Change Canada does not recommend using OP and OPEs as alternatives to NP and NPEs.

Based on a preliminary review of OP and OPEs as part of the Priority Substances List Assessment Report for NP and NPEs, it was concluded that OP and OPEs have similar toxicological properties to NP and NPEs, are present in similar environmental compartments and may have greater estrogenic properties than those of NP and NPEs.

Comment #10: OP and OPEs should be added to the List of Toxic Substances (Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999)

Response #10: CEPA 1999 allows for different mechanisms by which a substance may be added to Schedule 1. The risk assessment report on NP and NPEs provided a detailed evaluation of these substances only. Although a preliminary analysis of OP and OPEs was performed during the NP and NPEs evaluation, a full risk assessment of OP and OPEs was not performed. The information gathered during the preliminary analysis was not sufficient to add OP and OPEs to the List of Toxic Substances found in CEPA 1999 at this time. The preliminary analyses did show however, that OP and OPEs have toxicological properties that are similar to those identified for NP and NPEs.

OP and OPEs, are listed on the Domestic Substance List (DSL) of CEPA 1999. Just as all 24000 substances of the DSL, OP and OPEs will be categorized to determine if they should undergo further screening assessment. Categorization of DSL substances must be completed by September 13th, 2006.

Comment #11: There is concern that information may not be readily available from suppliers on whether or not chemical products contain NP and NPEs

Response #11: The overall strategy concerning NP and NPEs covers more than one sector; namely the wet processing textile industry and producers and importers of products containing NP and NPEs. The pollution prevention planning notice for producers and importers of NP and NPEs requests that this sector provides information on products that contain NP and NPEs for those products where NP and NPEs substitutes have not been found. Therefore, it is expected that the information will be readily available from suppliers. Both P2 notices will be published at the same time

Comment #12: Will it be necessary to sample effluents for NP and NPE concentrations?

Response #12: No, you will not need to test your effluent for NP and NPE. The risk management objective for NP and NPEs relates to use rather than releases. Therefore, mills are only required to monitor and report the quantities used.

Comment #13: Is the toxicity test using luminescent bacteria (test commonly referred to as the Microtox®) adequate to evaluate the toxicity of the TMEs?

Response #13: During the ecological risk assessment of TMEs, a statistical analysis was done on the whole-effluent toxicity data for sites where a battery of toxicity tests were conducted on samples collected by Environment and Climate Change Canada staff. The tests indicated that the bioassay on luminescent bacteria was strongly and positively correlated with other toxicity tests having environmental significance such as Ceriodaphnia dubia (survival and reproduction tests) and Selenastrum capricornutum (growth tests) indicating that these tests could be used interchangeably as predictors of toxicity. An examination of all aquatic toxicity data for untreated TMEs revealed that the bioassay on luminescent bacteria was also a highly sensitive test for that substance. For these reasons, the bioassay on luminescent bacteria is an excellent tool to monitor TMEs toxicity.

Comment #14: What happens if a mill starts using NPE-containing products only after 2005? What will happen after 2010?

Response #14: Any textile mill that carries out wet processes, discharges to a municipal wastewater treatment plant and discharges more than 30m3/day will be required to prepare and implement a pollution prevention plan addressing NP and NPEs, and TMEs. A mill that begins operating after the date of publication of the notice will not be required to prepare and implement a pollution prevention plan.

Furthermore, the overall strategy addressing risks from NP and NPEs spans various sectors, including the wet processing textile industry, NP and NPEs producers and importers, as well as wastewater treatment facilities . The proposed pollution prevention planning requirements for producers and importers of products containing NP and NPEs target the manufacture and the importation of products between 2003 and 2012. All NP and NPEs producers and importers that are targeted by that notice will need to prepare and implement pollution prevention plans. The products for which they will need to reduce NP and NPEs use include all textile wet processing aids.

The minister will evaluate the effectiveness of this notice with respect to the risk management objectives in order to determine if other steps or programs, including regulations, are needed to further prevent or reduce negative impacts of NP, NPEs and TMEs on the environment.

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