On November 10, 2000, Ontario Regulation 347, the general waste management regulation under the Environmental Protection Act, was amended. The major impact of the amendments is that more waste will now be characterized as “hazardous.”
In September 1999, the Ontario environment ministry announced it would develop new, more stringent requirements for hazardous waste management. Ontario Regulation 558/00, which amends Regulation 347, clearly puts this commitment into effect.
“Hazardous waste” is now defined similarly to the U.S. “mixture rule.” As such, a waste that is listed as “hazardous” is always considered hazardous unless it is formally de-listed by the environment ministry. Waste can be classified as “hazardous” in two ways: where the waste falls under the industrial process and chemical lists (Schedules 1, 2A and 2B in Regulation 347) and where the waste is ignitable, corrosive, reactive or leachate toxic based.
One of the most significant amendments was the adoption of the Toxicity Characteristic Leachate Procedure (TCLP). The only other province that has adopted this procedure is Alberta. The TCLP will replace the current Leachate Extraction Procedure (LEP) and an expanded Schedule 4 will be used in conjunction with the new procedure.
The federal-provincial Hazardous Waste Task Group of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment conducted a review of the LEP (which is used in transportation of dangerous goods legislation). The group concluded that the U.S. TCLP was the most cost-efficient, cost-effective and realistic approach to assess the migration of substances into the environment. The provincial environment ministry concurred, noting that adoption of the TCLP would allow Ontario to harmonize with both the federal and the U.S. procedure.
“The revised Schedule 4 contains twice the number of chemical parameters than are currently used by the U.S. EPA.”
Schedule 4 will now contain 88 test parameters with health-based rationales. Interestingly, the revised Schedule 4 contains twice the number of chemical parameters than currently is used by the U.S. EPA — making Ontario’s requirements even more stringent than the U.S.
The new “derived-from” rule, which will be added to the definition of “hazardous waste,” provides that any material derived from the treatment of a listed hazardous waste is also a listed hazardous waste. This rule prevents the re-classification of hazardous waste when there has only been minor processing. The problem is, however, that the rule will also capture a number of treatment residues and require that they be managed as “hazardous” even where they pose no hazard. In order to try to address this there will be specific exemptions.
Those involved with the generation of waste will need to determine whether their current waste streams are affected by these changes.
When the proposed amendments were posted on the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights registry, stakeholders expressed concern about available laboratory capacity and capability to carry out the necessary testing under the new TCLP. There was also concern that the ministry could not handle the number of certificates of approval that would require amending. For these reasons the ministry decided that the provisions relating to hazardous waste characterization under Regulation 558/00 would not take effect until March 31, 2001. Waste generators should have enough time to test wastes, submit revised generator registration reports and, if necessary, amend existing certificates of approval.
Many consultants have predicted that analytical costs will increase with the greater number of chemicals to test and the more involved testing procedure. The changes will also have implications for site remediation activities as there will be a considerable increase in the volume of soil that will be designated as “hazardous waste.” This will result, in turn, in increased transport and disposal costs.