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2015 Summary Report: Reviewed Facility-Reported Data

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The purpose of this report is to provide a national level summary analysis of data on pollutant releases, disposals and transfers reported in 2015 by facilities that meet the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI)’s reporting requirements.

The current report was prepared using data submitted by facilities as of September 29th, 2016, for the 2015 reporting year. This data also contains updates and new reports submitted by facilities for 2014 or previous reporting years.

For the 2015 reporting year, 7,284 industrial, commercial and institutional facilities submitted NPRI reports, compared with 7,720 at the time of publication of the 2014 data release. The most up to date facility count for the 2014 reporting year is 7,849.1 For the 2015 reporting period, 1,327 facilities reported that they no longer meet reporting requirements and would not be submitting a standard report. Most of these facilities were in the oil and gas extraction sector. For 2015, 343 substances were reportable to the NPRI according to various thresholds.

In 2015, the total quantities reported to the NPRI (4,842,636 tonnes) broke down as follows:

  • Direct releases represented 68% (3,279,262 tonnes) of total reported quantities.
    • Direct releases to air accounted for 65% (3,138,730 tonnes) of the total reported releases, disposals, and transfers. Direct releases to air include the following categories:
      • Emissions of criteria air contaminants accounted for 63% (3,054,914 tonnes) of total reported releases, disposals, and transfers;
      • Other NPRI substances directly released to air accounted for nearly 2% (83,816 tonnes) of total reported releases, disposals, and transfers.
    • Direct releases to surface waters accounted for 3% (127,025 tonnes) of total reported releases, disposals, and transfers.
    • Direct releases to land accounted for less than 1% (13,115 tonnes) of total reported releases, disposals, and transfers.
    • Direct releases to unspecified media (less than one tonne) accounted for less than 1% (391 tonnes) of total reported quantities.
  • Disposals (on-site and off-site) and transfers represented 32% (1,563,374 tonnes) of total reported releases, disposals, and transfers.

Between 2014 and 2015, total direct releases to air, water and land decreased overall by 3% (107,088 tonnes): reported releases to water decreased by 37% (74,899 tonnes), while reported releases of criteria air contaminants to air decreased by 1% (32,124 tonnes):

  • In 2014, there was an accidental tailings pond breach from a mining facility in British Columbia in 2014, which caused the spill of significant amounts of phosphorus, copper, and manganese to nearby waterbodies. Due to this spill, total direct releases to water reported to the NPRI were approximately 60% higher in 2014 than in previous years. Total direct releases to water reported to the NPRI decreased by 74,899 tonnes (a decrease of 37%) between 2014 and 2015.
  • The decrease in reported air releases was due to total releases of sulphur dioxide to air decreasing by 41,801 tonnes (a decrease of 4%) between 2014 and 2015. This change comes primarily from the electricity generation sector, due to several large coal-fired power generating stations reporting that they lowered production levels and that the sulphur content of the coal used can vary year to year.

Between 2014 and 2015, total disposals and transfers increased 4% (66,972 tonnes).

  • This increase is led by higher quantities reported of tailings and transfers for off-site recycling.
  • Tailings reported to the NPRI increased due to changes in production levels and restart of operations by various mining facilities.
  • Transfers for off-site recycling increased due to the restart of activities of a manufacturing facility in Quebec in 2015 and operational variability with a petroleum refinery in Ontario reporting large quantities of sulphuric acid.

Finally, in 2015, of the 7,284 facilities that reported to the NPRI, 1,080 facilities reported they had implemented a pollution prevention plan and 1,142 facilities reported that they had implemented at least one pollution prevention activity, for a total of 3,308 reported activities. Pollution prevention activities can include materials or feedstock substitution; product design or reformulation; equipment or process modification; spill and leak prevention; on-site reuse, recycling or recovery; inventory management or purchasing techniques; good operating practices or training; or any other activities that minimize the creation of pollutant and waste.

Nomenclature

APEI
Air Pollutant Emission Inventory
BTEX
Benzene/toluene/ethylene/xylene
CAC
Criteria air contaminant
CEPA 1999
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
DF
Dioxins and furans
ECCC
Environment and Climate Change Canada
g TEQ
Grams toxic equivalent
MPO
Manufactured, processed or otherwise used
NAICS
Statistics Canada’s North American Industry Classification System
NPRI
National Pollutant Release Inventory
P2
Pollution prevention
PAH
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
PM
Particulate matter
PM10
Particulate matter ≤ 10 microns
PM2.5
Particulate matter ≤ 2.5 microns
TEF
Toxic equivalency factor
TPM
Total particulate matter
TRS
Total reduced sulphur
VOC
Volatile organic compounds

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Since the publication of the 2014 data in December 2015, over 550 facilities have submitted an update or a report for that period. It should be noted that the NPRI reporting system is available year-round and that facilities can submit reports or corrected data at any time, regardless of the reporting year. Hence, at the time of drafting of this summary report for 2015, a total of 7,849 facilities had submitted reports to the NPRI for 2014. For the purposes of the analysis in this report, the most current information for 2014 was used for any comparisons. As such, values for the 2014 reporting year in this report may be different from those published in the 2014 report for the previous year’s data release.

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Highlights and Nomenclature
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