PCB Storage

Objectives of the PCB Regulations

The PCB Regulations SOR/2008-273 came into force on September 5, 2008. The most recent amendments to the regulations came into force on January 1, 2015. The purpose of the regulations is to protect the health of Canadians and the environment by preventing the release of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to the environment, and by accelerating the phasing out of these substances. Section 3 of the regulations addresses the storage of PCBs and products containing PCBs.

Storage Requirements

Solid or liquid products containing PCBs in a concentration of 50 mg/kg or more trigger the storage requirements of the regulations when they are no longer in use and there are:

  • 100 L or more of liquid PCB product;
  • 100 kg or more of solid PCB product; or
  • a quantity of solid or liquid PCB product less than above, but the product contains 1 kg or more of pure PCBs.

It is important to note that:

  • the trigger for storage requirements is the total amount of all products containing PCBs at the site;
  • spare parts are not considered to be in use; and
  • equipment or products containing PCBs, other than light ballasts, cannot be stored at a prescribed plant or facility; or on the property of, and within 100 m of, the plant or facility.

Storage requirements do not apply to the following products containing PCBs:

  • solid or liquid products that are used or processed daily;
  • pipelines that transport natural gas, petroleum or petroleum products, and any associated equipment that is in contact with the natural gas, petroleum or petroleum products, if they were in place on September 5, 2008; or
  • cables that were in place on September 5, 2008.

PCB Storage Site Requirements

The following requirements apply to a PCB storage site:

  • All entrances must be locked or guarded, allowing only authorized personnel to enter.
  • Liquid or solid products containing PCBs must either be stored in a building, room, shipping container, or other enclosed structure, or stored in an area that is enclosed by a woven mesh wire fence, or wall with similar security characteristics. The fence or wall must be at least 1.83 m high.
  • Equipment containing PCB liquids and containers containing PCB liquids or solids must be stored in drums or containers as described in Table 1.
  • Equipment and containers containing PCB liquids must be stored on a floor or surface that is made of steel, concrete or any other similar material that has curbing or sides.
    • Curbing or sides for one piece of equipment or one container must be able to contain 125% of the volume of the PCB liquid stored.
    • Curbing or sides for more than one piece of equipment or more than one container must be able to contain the greater volume of the following options:
      • twice the amount of PCB liquid that is stored in the largest piece of equipment or container, or
      • 25% of the total volume of PCB liquid stored on the floor surface.

If the material of the floor, surface, curbing or sides is capable of absorbing any PCB liquid or products containing PCBs, it must be sealed with an impermeable, durable, PCB-resistant coating. In addition, any openings, such as drains or sumps, must be either closed and sealed, or connected to a drainage system suitable for liquid dangerous goods that terminates in a location where the dangerous goods could be contained and recovered, and would not create a fire hazard or health and safety risk.

Table 1 – Requirements for Containers Used to Store PCBs
MaterialStorage ContainerContainer Specifications
PCB liquidsSealed containers other than drums
  • made of steel or other metals that will not be affected by the weather or allow a release
Drums
  • capacity not greater than 205 L
  • closed head, double-bung
  • made of steel 16 gauge or heavier
  • painted or treated to prevent rusting
PCB solidsContainers other than drums
  • made of steel or other metals that will not be affected by weather or allow a release
Drums
  • capacity not greater than 205 L
  • securely attached, removable lid and gasket made of material resistant to PCBs
  • made of steel 18 gauge or heavier
  • painted or treated to prevent rusting
Equipment containing PCBsContainers other than drums
  • made of steel or other metals that will not be affected by weather or allow a release
Drums
  • capacity not greater than 205 L
  • securely attached, removable lid and gasket made of material resistant to PCBs
  • made of steel 18 gauge or heavier
  • painted or treated to prevent rusting

Maximum Storage Periods

Once PCBs or products containing PCBs are no longer in use, the person who owns, controls or possesses them has 30 days to either send them to an authorized destruction facility, or put them into PCB storage on site. The maximum storage period for each location is noted in Table 2.

Table 2 – Summary of Storage Periods for PCBs or Products Containing PCBs
Location TypeMaximum Storage Period
PCB storage on siteOne year beginning on the day storage commences
Authorized transfer facilityOne year beginning on the day of arrival at the transfer facility*
Authorized destruction facilityTwo years beginning on the day of arrival at the destruction facility

*Note that if PCBs or products containing PCBs are transferred from one transfer facility to another transfer facility, the storage period begins when they are received at the first transfer facility.

PCB Owner/Operator Storage Site Responsibilities

Site Maintenance and Inspection

Structural components of storage sites, PCB equipment, containers used for storing PCBs, fire extinguishers, suppression systems and alarms, and any PCB cleanup materials must be kept in good condition and must be inspected:

  • each month; or
  • at intervals of more than one month, with Minister's approval due to its remote location; or
  • at intervals of less than one month if more frequent inspections are necessary.

Should any of the above-mentioned items be damaged, they must be repaired or replaced immediately, and any contaminated areas must be decontaminated accordingly.

Records and Reports

All inspections must be recorded, and the inspection record must include:

  • a list of all items inspected;
  • a description of any deficiencies that were found;
  • a description of measures taken to remedy the deficiencies found; and
  • the inspectors' names and inspection dates.

Inspection records must be kept for five years where the PCBs or products containing PCBs are stored, or at the owner or operator's principal place of business, if the PCB storage site is no longer active. The person who owns or stores PCBs or products containing PCBs must prepare and submit reports to the Minister. For more information, please see the PCB Reporting and Record-Keeping fact sheet.

Fire Protection and Emergency Procedures

The owner of stored PCBs or products containing PCBs must:

  • update and test their fire protection and emergency procedures plan each year.
  • keep the plan at the PCB storage site and at the owner's principal place of business.
  • make the plan readily available to the local fire department or to the officer appointed by the provincial fire marshal if there is no local fire department or to any other local authority responsible for fire protection.
  • ensure that all employees who are authorized to enter the storage site are familiar with:
    • the content of the fire protection and emergency plan;
    • the hazards of PCBs; and
    • the use of protective equipment and clothing and the PCB cleanup material.
  • have a fully operational fire alarm system that has a fire suppression system, as well as fire extinguishers, which must be up to National Fire Code standards; and
  • store absorbent materials for cleanup near the PCB storage site.

 

Contraventions Regulations

Tickets can be issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers for various sections of the PCB Regulations. In addition to warnings, directions and environmental protection compliance orders, tickets are one of several enforcement responses that officers can take.

Ticketable offences are those with minimal or no threat to the environment or human life or health, such as failure to report on time, and will involve a maximum fine of $500. A new ticket can be issued, each day, until the compliance requirements are met. To consult the list of ticketable violations and corresponding fines for the PCB Regulations, please refer to Part XVIII of Schedule I.3 of the Contraventions Regulations. For general information on enforcement responses, please refer to the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for CEPA 1999.

For More Information

PCB website
ePCB website

Contacts
RegionemailPhone number
National Capital Regionec.bpc-pcb.ec@canada.ca1-844-815-6418
Atlanticec.bpcatlpcb.ec@canada.ca1-800-668-6767
Quebecec.bpcqc-pcbqc.ec@canada.ca514-283-5350
Ontarioec.onpromotiondelaconformite-oncompliancepromotion.ec@canada.ca1-800-668-6767
Prairies and NorthernPNRCompliancePromotion@ec.gc.ca204-983-1906
Pacific and Yukonec.bpcrpy-pcbpyr.ec@canada.ca604-666-9100

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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