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Ontario Toxics Reduction Regulation takes effect

According to the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA) beginning January 1, 2010, regulated facilities w...


According to the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA) beginning January 1, 2010, regulated facilities will be required to track, report and develop plans to reduce the toxic substances they use, create and release. This applies only to facilities currently reporting on emissions to the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI).

These toxics reduction plans will be available to the public as part of the government’s commitment to inform Ontarians about toxics. The implementation of the plans will be voluntary.

Ontario has also committed funding to help facilities meet the requirements of the Toxics Reduction Act. The government will hold province-wide information sessions early next year to explain the new requirements, will provide information guides to help facilities meet the requirements and will consult on an enhanced toxics reduction planning process that builds on the expertise and experience found in the workplace.

The regulation under Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 sets out the requirements that owners and operators of facilities covered by the act must meet beginning January 1, 2010 to:

·        Track and quantify the toxic substances they use, create and release

·        Develop plans, including options to reduce their use of toxic substances

·        Make summaries of their plans available to the public

·        Report to the ministry on their progress in reducing toxic substances and make certain information available to the public.

The regulation adds a new approach to environmental protection by focusing on reducing the use and creation of toxic substances at the front end of industrial processes. The act applies to facilities in the manufacturing and mineral processing sectors (excluding physical extraction, crushing or grinding) that are required to report to the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) and to the ministry under O.Reg. 127/01 for acetone.

Accounting, reporting and planning

The first report on the priority toxic substances from regulated facilities will be due by June 1, 2011 for the calendar year 2010. Once the first reports are prepared, facilities would develop their toxic substance reduction plans by December 31, 2011. The Act requires the plan to be certified by the highest ranking employee at the facility with management responsibilities relating to the facility. Summaries of the plans would be made available to the public.

Facilities that use or create a substance listed in the NPRI, but which is not listed as a priority substance in the regulation, would provide their first report to the ministry by June 1, 2013, covering the calendar year 2012. Facilities would complete a plan and provide a summary of their plan to the public and the ministry by December 31, 2013.

Information collected from facilities through the reporting requirements of the act will be made available to the public so that Ontarians can be aware of toxic substances being used and created around them, as well as the actions facilities are taking to reduce them.

While accounting, planning and reporting for prescribed toxic substances is mandatory, implementation of the toxic substance reduction plans is voluntary.

To ease the administrative burden on facilities, Ontario is phasing in its requirements and has closely aligned its regulatory requirements with the federal government’s 2008 NPRI. This includes the facilities covered by the act, the timelines for reporting and the substances in the list of toxics that are subject to accounting, reporting and planning. The ministry has also committed funding to support industry.

Priority toxics

The requirements to account, report and plan in the regulation are being rolled out in two phas
es. The requirements in the first phase apply to facilities using any of the 47 priority substances that are identified in Table A of the regulation. To develop the list, the ministry worked in consultation with the Toxics Reduction Scientific Expert Panel to rank substances in the NPRI based on emissions and hazard.

From the ranking exercise 34 substances, including 11 known or probable carcinogens, were prioritized. The ministry also reviewed carcinogens in consultation with Cancer Care Ontario and identified an additional 13 known or probable carcinogens for inclusion in the priority list. It is anticipated that the regulatory requirements would broaden to include facilities using any of the balance of NPRI substances in two years time in the second phase.

The act requires that the lists of substances be reviewed at least once every five years.

Regulated facilities

The regulation applies to facilities at which manufacturing and mineral processing activities (except physical extraction, crushing and grinding) take place that meet prescribed toxic substance and employee thresholds set out in the NPRI. The following is an excerpt of the 2008 NPRI reporting facilities criteria:

“(d) If a person owns or operates a facility at which the employees work a total of 20 000 hours or more and from which there are releases, disposals or transfers for recycling of the substances as listed in Schedule 1 of this notice, that person is subject to the notice. In reporting information under this notice, the person shall take into account the mass reporting thresholds that are set out in Table 1 of Part 1 or Table 2 of Part 4, or that are described in Parts 2, 3, or 5 of this Schedule.

2. The following activities, to which the employee criteria of a total of 20 000 hours or more of   work does not apply, are identified for the purposes of Parts 1 to 5:

(a) non-hazardous solid waste incineration of 26 tonnes or more of waste per year, including conical burners and beehive burners;

(b) biomedical or hospital waste incineration of 26 tonnes or more of waste per year;

(c) hazardous waste incineration;

(d) sewage sludge incineration;

(e) wood preservation;

(f) terminal operations;

(g) discharge of treated or untreated waste water from a waste water collection system with an annual average discharge of 10 000 cubic metres or more per day, into surface waters; and

(h) pits and quarries where annual production is 500 000 tonnes or more.”

Next steps

Additional draft regulations are being planned. They would define substances of concern for the purposes of the act, the requirements for certified planners, administrative penalties and related requirements. The substances that have been proposed as substances of concern are not tracked through the NPRI and there is little information regarding their use, release or environmental presence in Ontario.

The additional draft regulations are expected to propose that facilities using these substances of concern be subject to a one-time reporting requirement. These substances could at a future date be added to the list of prescribed substances and become subject to reporting and reduction planning.

OWMA will provide periodic updates on the types of waste management facilities that will be subject to the new regulations.

A copy of the Regulation is available on the OWMA website under “Members Only” at www.owma.org


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