Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations: frequently asked questions

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below are meant to provide Canadians and businesses with basic information about Environment Canada’s regulations. The Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations are among Environment Canada’s most frequently accessed regulations on the Web.

Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations

  1. What is the purpose of these regulations?
  2. What are the key elements of these regulations?
  3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?
  4. What is the timeline for implementation?
  5. Where can I get more information?

1. What is the purpose of these regulations?

The purpose of the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations  (the Regulations) is to manage threats to fish, fish habitat and human health from fish consumption by governing the deposit of deleterious substances from pulp and paper mills into waters frequented by fish.

2. What are the key elements of these regulations?

The Regulations set limits for the maximum quantities of biochemical oxygen demand matter (which consumes oxygen dissolved in water) and suspended solids that can be deposited from pulp and paper mills under prescribed conditions.

The Regulations do not allow the deposit of any effluent that is acutely lethal to fish.

The Regulations also contain requirements for mills to conduct environmental effects monitoring to identify effects of the effluent on fish and fish habitat.

3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

The Regulations impose various requirements on pulp and paper mills:

  • installing, maintaining and calibrating monitoring equipment and keeping records of that equipment;
  • monitoring effluent;
  • submitting monthly reports containing effluent monitoring results and production information;
  • notifying an inspector of a test result that indicates a failure or non-compliance with the Regulations;
  • submitting identifying information;
  • preparing and updating annually a remedial plan describing the measures to be taken by the operator to eliminate all unauthorized deposits of deleterious substances in the case where effluent fails an acute lethality test;
  • preparing an emergency response plan and making it readily available on site to persons who are to implement the plan;
  • providing information related to the reference production rate;
  • submitting information on outfall structures and depositing effluent only through those outfall structures;
  • complying with requirements for environmental effects monitoring studies;
  • keeping records available for inspection;
  • requesting an authorization to combine effluents;
  • providing written reports and additional sampling for the deposit of a deleterious substance in water frequented by fish that is not authorized under the Fisheries Act , which results or may result in detriment to fish, fish habitat or the use of fish by humans.

The specific requirements that apply depend on whether the mill deposits effluent into water or into a wastewater system that is regulated by the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations .

4. What is the timeline for implementation?

The Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations , made under the authority of the Fisheries Act , came into force on May 7, 1992.

5. Where can I get more information?

More information can be found by consulting the Status Report on the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations

or by contacting:

Environment Canada
Environmental Stewardship Branch
Industrial Sectors Directorate
Forest Products and Fisheries Act Division
Environment Canada
351 St. Joseph Boulevard, 19th Floor
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3
Email: fpfa-pflp@ec.gc.ca

This document is intended to provide contextual information on the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations . It does not replace the Fisheries Act or the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations . In the event of any inconsistencies, the Fisheries Act and the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations shall prevail.

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.

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