Changes to the NPRI Over Time (Substance List Changes and Other Modifications)

This document outlines the changes that have been made to the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) program since its inception in 1993, as an outcome of the NPRI Consultations process and Departmental priorities. Visit the Historical Proposals and Consultations or the Current and Recent Proposals and Consultations pages for additional information or supporting documents related to the changes listed below.

Changes to the NPRI substance list have included the addition, modification and removal of substances, as well as changes in the thresholds at which they must be reported. Changes have also been made to various program definitions, technical interpretations, sectoral reporting exemptions, and other reporting criteria. The impact of these changes should be considered when conducting analysis of historical trends, to avoid confusion between changes in reported values due to new reporting requirements, versus actual changes in releases of pollutants to the environment.

A separate document that provides all changes made specifically to the NPRI Substance List, broken down by additions, deletions, modifications to substances, and threshold changes, is also available.

Table of Contents
    20172016
201520142013201220112010
200920082007200620052004
200320022001200019991998
1997199619951994

Changes to the NPRI Over Time
Reporting YearModification
2017No changes
2016

Modifications to reporting thresholds:

  • Cobalt (and its compounds) has been moved from Part 1, Group A to Part 1, Group B. The reporting thresholds for cobalt (and its compounds) were lowered to 50 kilograms with a 0.1% concentration threshold for quantities that are manufactured, processed or otherwise used, from the original 10-tonne and 1% concentration thresholds.

Deletion from the substance list of:

Twenty-one substances have been removed from the Part 1, Group A list:

  • C.I. acid green 3 (CAS RN 4680-78-8)
  • C.I. basic red 1 (CAS RN 989-38-8)
  • C.I. direct blue 218 (CAS RN 28407-37-6)
  • C.I. food red 15 (CAS RN 81-88-9)
  • Calcium cyanamide (CAS RN 156-62-7)
  • Chlorendic acid (CAS RN 115-28-6)
  • Dimethyl phenol (CAS RN 1300-71-6)
  • 2,6-Dinitrotoluene (CAS RN 606-20-2)
  • Dinitrotoluene (mixed isomers) (CAS RN 25321-14-6)
  • Hexachloroethane (CAS RN 67-72-1)
  • Isosafrole (CAS RN 120-58-1)
  • p-Nitrophenol (and its salts) (CAS RN 100-02-7)
  • Paraldehyde (CAS RN 123-63-7)
  • Pentachloroethane (CAS RN 76-01-7)
  • o-Phenylphenol (and its salts) (CAS RN 90-43-7)
  • Propargyl alcohol (CAS RN 107-19-7)
  • p-Quinone (CAS RN 106-51-4)
  • Safrole (CAS RN 94-59-7)
  • Styrene oxide (CAS RN 96-09-3)
  • Tetracycline hydrochloride (CAS RN 64-75-5)
  • Vinylidene chloride (CAS RN 75-35-4)

Changes to Reporting Requirements:

  • The requirement to report the concentration of substances released to surface waters has been added. When a direct discharge to surface waters is reported, the average annual concentration (ppm) of the NPRI substance in the effluent is also required to be reported. Additional clarification for release estimates made using the method detection limit (MDL) also need to be provided, effective for 2016 reporting. This includes the MDL used in the estimation where applicable.
2015No changes
2014

Addition to the substance list of:

  • 2-(2-Methoxyethoxy)ethanol (Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CAS RN) 111-77-3)
  • Thallium (and its compounds)

Deletion from the substance list of:

  • Allyl chloride (CAS RN 107-05-1)
  • C.I. Solvent Orange 7 (CAS RN 3118-97-6)
  • 3-Chloro-2-methyl-1-propene (CAS RN 563-47-3)
  • Ethyl chloroformate (CAS RN 541-41-3)
  • 1-Bromo-2-chloroethane (CAS RN 107-04-0)

Modifications to reporting thresholds:

  • Eight substances or substance groups have been moved from Part 1, Group A to Part 1, Group B. The mass threshold for these substances has been reduced from 10 tonnes, and, in some cases, the concentration threshold has been reduced from 1%.
  • Quinoline (CASRN 91-22-5) has been moved from Part 1, Group A to Part 2 (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). The 10 tonne mass threshold has been reduced to 50 kilograms for total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, including quinoline, and 5 kilograms for reporting quinoline itself.

Changes to Reporting Requirements:

  • The requirement to report releases to land and water, disposals and transfers for recycling for total reduced sulphur has been removed. Only releases of total reduced sulphur to air are required to be reported.

Clarification of Reporting Requirements:

  • It has been made explicit in the notice that underground releases are required to be reported. A requirement has been added that the nature of the “other release” to land must be specified.
2013No changes
2012No changes
2011

Modifications to Reporting Thresholds:

  • The reporting thresholds for selenium (and its compounds) were modified to 100 kilograms with a 0.000005% (0.05 ppm) concentration threshold for quantities that are manufactured, processed or otherwise used, from the original 10-tonne and 1% concentration thresholds.
2010

Modification to Existing Substance:

  • The listing for p,p'-isopropylidenediphenol (CAS no. 80-05-7) has been changed to bisphenol A (CAS no. 80-05-7). Only the substance name has been changed - the reporting requirements for this substance have not been changed.

Removal from the Substances List of: 

  • Sulphur hexafluoride (CAS no. 2551-62-4)

Changes to Reporting Requirements:

  • Provincial identification numbers for facilities in the upstream oil and gas sector are required to be reported.
  • Information related to updates of the pollution prevention plan and whether the plan addresses energy or water conservation is required to be reported.
  • Requirement to report the Canadian and United States Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes has been removed.
  • Requirement to report on anticipated quantities of releases, disposals and recycling for each of the three subsequent years has been removed.
2009

Reporting Criteria Change:

  • Addition of reporting requirements for substances contained in waste rock and tailings disposed of or transferred off-site for disposal. Requirements also applicable to the 2006-2008 reporting years.
  • Portions of the Canada Gazette Notice were restructured and rewritten from previous years’ notices, without additional substantive change to the requirements, in order to reduce complexity and to improve understandability.
2008

Reporting Criteria Change:

  • Addition of "Titanium dioxide pigment production using the chloride process"; to the list of activities for reporting of dioxins/furans and hexachlorobenzene.
2007

Addition to the Substances List of:

Modifications to Existing Substances:

Exemption Changes:

  • Removal of the exemption for pits and quarries (note 1)
  • Removal of the exemption for road dust (note 2)

Changes to Reporting Requirements:

  • Requirement to report on each of the 17 Dioxins and Furans separately, in grams (note 3)
  • For Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), if the 50 kg threshold is met for the total of the listed PAHs, requirement to report only for individual PAHs incidentally manufactured and released, disposed of or transferred off-site for recycling in amounts greater than or equal to 5 kg. All other quantities to be reported as Total Unspeciated PAHs. (note 4)

Reporting Change:

  • The number of digits for Dioxin/Furan reporting was expanded, from three digits to six, to allow for more data capture and better harmonization with United States Environmental Protection Agency reporting requirements.
2006

Addition to the Substances List of:

Exemption Change:

  • Removal of the exemption for Part 1 to 3 substances from extraction and primary crushing in mines (except for pits and quarries).

Definition Changes:

  • Definition of "facility" expanded to include portable facilities (note 5).
  • Definition of "other use" expanded to include "release" of an NPRI substance (note 6).
  • Pits and quarries defined (note 7).

Reporting Changes:

  • Mandatory reporting of latitude and longitude coordinates if the facility is portable or if it is reporting for the first time.
  • Statement of Certification not required if a person required to report, or the person authorized to act on their behalf, submits and certifies the information electronically.
  • New requirements for facilities to provide updates about changes to contact information and ownership.
  • If facilities are already required by federal or provincial legislation or by a municipal by-law to measure or monitor releases, disposals and/or transfers for recycling of any listed substances, they are also required to report this data to the NPRI.

 

2005No changes
2004

Reporting Change:

  • Launch of the One Window to National Environmental Reporting System (OWNERS), for secure online reporting of environmental information and data by facilities (in 2005, for the 2004 reporting year). OWNERS was developed by Environment Canada, in collaboration with provincial partners and other stakeholders.

Definition Change:

  • The French-translated term for "process" was revised to distinguish between preparing a substance for distribution in commerce and preparing it before final disposal.
2003

Addition to the Substances List of:

Modifications to Existing Substances:

  • 13 individually listed nonylphenols and ethoxylates were replaced by "Nonylphenol and its ethoxylates". This grouping includes additional nonylphenols, ethoxylates and derivatives not listed in 2002.
  • 4-tert-octylphenol was replaced by "Octylphenol and its ethoxylates" as a group. This grouping includes additional octylphenols and ethoxylates not listed in 2002.

Exemption Change:

  • Removal of the exemption for emissions from activities related to the operation of oil and gas wells. The exemption for oil and gas exploration and well drilling was not affected.

Facility Information:

  • Mandatory reporting by facilities of their Business Number. Business Numbers (9 digit registration number) can be found on all forms that are issued to a business by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.

Definition Change:

  • Definition of a facility was expanded to include "offshore installations", as well as pipeline installations and contiguous facilities.

Basis of Estimate Codes:

  • The Basis of Estimate codes for Monitoring and Direct Measurement (M) and Emission Factors (E) were expanded for the 2003 reporting year and onward to include more specific information on the type of monitoring and emissions factors used by a facility. The changes included the following:
    • Monitoring or Direct Measurements were replaced with Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems (CEMS), Predictive Emission Monitoring (PEM) and Source Testing.
    • Emission Factors were replaced with site-specific Emission Factor and Published Emission Factor.
2002

Addition to the Substances List:

Modifications to Existing Substances:

  • The listing for Chromium (and its compounds) was updated with separate entries for:
    - Chromium (and its compounds, except for hexavalent chromium); and
    - Hexavalent chromium compounds (reporting threshold at 50 kg and 0.1% concentration)

Modifications to Reporting Thresholds:

  • The reporting thresholds for the following substances were modified from the original 10-tonne and 1% concentration thresholds:
    - Cadmium (and its compounds) (5 kg with 0.1% concentration criterion)
    - Arsenic (and its compounds) (50 kg with 0.1% concentration criterion)
    - Lead (and its compounds, except tetraethyl lead) (50 kg with 0.1% concentration criterion)
    - Tetraethyl lead (50 kg with 0.1% concentration criterion)
  • The 20 000-hour employee threshold no longer applicable to:
    - non-hazardous solid waste incineration and biomedical or hospital waste incineration of at least 26 tonnes (reduced from 100 tonnes);
    - terminal operations;
    - discharge of treated or untreated wastewater from a wastewater collection system with an average discharge of 10 000 m³ or more per day into surface waters

Additional Exemptions:

  • Maintenance and repair of transportation vehicles, such as automobiles, trucks, locomotives, ships or aircraft, except painting and stripping of vehicles or their components, or the rebuilding or remanufacturing of vehicle components.
  • Distribution, storage or retail sale of fuels, except as part of the terminal operations.

Pollution Prevention (P2):

  • Expanded reporting of pollution prevention activities. More detailed information required to be included (e.g., the specific type of equipment or process modifications carried out).

Administrative Changes:

  • Requirement for facilities that reported in the previous year to advise Environment Canada if they do not meet the NPRI reporting criteria for the current year.

Definition Changes:

  • Definition of "by-product" revised to mean a substance which is incidentally manufactured, processed or otherwise used at the facility at any concentration, and released on-site to surface waters or transferred off-site for disposal.
  • Definition of "facility" revised to refer to a contiguous facility and pipeline installation.
  • Definition of "other use" revised to mean any use or disposal of a substance, listed in Schedule 1 of the NPRI Canada Gazette notice, relevant to the purpose of the facility which is not included under the definitions of “manufacture” or “process”.

Reporting to Other Inventories:

  • Incorporation of the reporting requirements for the Accelerated Reduction/Elimination of Toxics 2 (ARET 2) program into the NPRI reporting software.
  • Collection of emission information for Criteria Air Contaminants (CACs) on behalf of the Alberta Department of the Environment.
2001

Addition to the Substances List of:

  • N,N-Dimethylformamide (CAS No. 68-12-2)

Modifications to Existing Substances:

  • Amalgamation of the individual isomers of cresol (m-, o- and p-cresol) to Cresol (all isomers and their salts).
  • Modification of Vanadium (fume or dust) (CAS No. 7440-62-2) to Vanadium (except when in an alloy) and its compounds.

Removal from the Substances List of: 

  • Phosphoric acid (CAS No. 7664-38-2)

New Groupings for Releases and Transfers:

The following groupings were used to summarize information collected through the NPRI beginning with the 2001 reporting year:

  • On-site Pollutant Releases:
    • air
    • water
    • land: includes spills, leaks and other
  • Disposal:
    • on-site disposal: landfill, land treatment and underground injection
    • off-site disposal: landfill, land treatment, underground injection and storage
  • Off-site transfers for treatment prior to final disposal:
    • physical treatment
    • chemical treatment
    • biological treatment
    • incineration or thermal treatment where energy is not recovered
    • treatment at a municipal sewage treatment plant (MSTP)
  • Off-site Transfers for Recycling and Energy Recovery:
    • recycling
    • energy recovery

Retaining Copies of Information:

  • Requirement for persons reporting to the NPRI to retain copies of all information upon which their report was based, at the facility or parent company (in Canada), for three years.

Reporting to the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE):

  • Ontario MOE's Regulation 127/01 came into effect. A "one-window" approach was created to allow for reporting to the Ontario MOE within the NPRI reporting form.
2000

Addition to the Substances List of:

  • Acrolein (CAS No. 107-02-8)
  • 4-tert-octylphenol (CAS No. 140-66-9)
  • Oxirane, methyl-, polymer with oxirane, mono(nonylphenol)ether (CAS No. 37251-96-7)
  • Polymeric diphenylmethane diisocyanate (PMDI) (CAS No. 9016-87-9)
  • Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (dioxins) and Polychlorinated dibenzofurans (furans)
  • Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) (CAS No. 118-74-1)
  • 17 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Modifications to Reporting Thresholds:

The reporting thresholds were modified for many substances from the original 10-tonne and 1% by weight concentration thresholds:

  • Significant changes were made regarding the reporting thresholds of substances that pose serious risks to human health or the environment in relatively low quantities. Alternate thresholds were applied to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), dioxins and furans, hexachlorobenzene and mercury (and its compounds).

Exemptions:

  • The 20 000-hour employee threshold was removed for facilities used for wood preservation and certain types of incineration.
  • Facilities in 10 different categories were made exempt from reporting, including those involved exclusively in research or testing, mining (but not processing of mined materials), and drilling and operating oil and gas wells.
1999

Addition to the Substances List of:

Modifications to Existing Substances:

  • Amalgamation of the individual isomers of xylene (m-, o- and p-xylene) to Xylene (mixed isomers)

Removal from the Substances List of:

  • Acetone (CAS No. 67-64-1)

Reporting Change:

  • Reporting of the Dun and Bradstreet Number was added to allow easier identification of corporate structures and the relation of facilities to their parent companies.
1998

Changes to Reporting Recycling Activities:

  • Mandatory reporting of the quantities of substances transferred off-site for recycling, the nature of the recycling activity and the name and address of the receiving facility. (In previous years, the reporting of recycling activities was optional.)
  • Requirement for facilities to indicate estimation methode for disposals or recycling.

Changes to Reporting Details:

  • Addition of a pick-list of water body names for surface water discharge.
  • Adoption of the NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) as the standard for identifying industrial sectors to enable better comparisons of NPRI data with United States and Mexican data. Continued collection from reporting facilities of Canadian and U.S. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes.

Administrative Changes:

  • Addition of optional fields for facilities to provide a contact email address and the website address for their facility or parent company.
  • Extensive updating of the Questions and Answers section of the Guide for Reporting to the NPRI 1999 to reflect changes in the NPRI program and to clarify potentially ambiguous interpretations.
1997

Reporting Change:

  • Mandatory reporting of qualitative pollution prevention (P2) activities.
  • Mandatory reporting of the reasons for transferring substances off-site, off-site disposal activities, and optionally, on off-site recycling activities.
  • Reporters were asked to voluntarily provide a production ratio or activity index to help explain the trends in historical environmental releases and waste transfers.
1996

Modifications to Existing Substances:

  • Modification of "Nitrate ion in solution at a pH of 6.5 or greater" to "Nitrate ion in solution at a pH of 6.0 or greater".
1995

Modifications to Existing Substances:

  • The listings for 22 substanceswere modified as follows:
    - The qualifier "and its salts" was added to the listings for 19 substances in order to collect more comprehensive information;
    - The entry for asbestos was clarified to include only the friable form;
    - The individual entries for ammonia, and ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate in solution were replaced with a single entry for ammonia (total); and
    - The qualifiers for zinc was changed from "fume or dust" to "and its compounds".
    - Addition of nitrate ion in solution at a pH of 6.5 or greater.

Reporting Criteria Changes:

  • Addition of the By-product definition.The weight of the by-product must be used in the calculation of the 10-tonne reporting threshold, regardless of the concentration.
  • Requirement to report all discharges to sanitary sewers as a transfer to a municipal sewage treatment plant, regardless of the level of treatment. (Previously discharges with only primary treatment were considered releases to water bodies).
  • Rounding of releases of less than 0.5 tonnes to 0 (zero) was no longer permitted; a release of 0 (zero) was allowed only where there are absolutely no releases.
1994

Addition to the Substances List of:

  • i-Butyl alcohol (CAS No. 78-83-1)

Removal from the Substances List of:

  • Chloromethyl methyl ether (CAS No. 107-30-2)

Changes to the Reporting Form:

  • Assignment of a permanent NPRI identification number (ID) to each facility that reported in 1993.
  • Addition of a facility public contact and of a company coordinator.
  • Requirement for reporting of one Canadian and one American Standard Classification Code (SIC) per facility.
  • Addition of an optional field to report recovery, reuse and recycling, and energy recovery.
  • Addition of biological and chemical treatment to "disposal method".

Notes:

 (1) Pits and quarries, where annual production is 500 000 tonnes or more, are required to report to the NPRI - regardless of the number of hours worked by employees - provided that they meet the "manufacture, process or other use or release thresholds".

(2) Emissions of total particulate matter, PM10 and PM2.5 from road dust are required to be included in threshold calculations for facilities where on-site annual vehicle travel on unpaved roads is over 10 000 kilometres.

(3) Previously, 17 dioxin and furan congeners were required to be reported as a group, in grams of toxic equivalents (TEQ). 

(4) Previously, if the incidental manufacture and release, disposal or transfer for recycling of all Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) totalled at least 50 kg, all individual PAHs were required to be reported, regardless of their quantities.

(5) Reporting of NPRI substances is now required from portable facilities, which means portable polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) destruction equipment, portable asphalt plants, and portable concrete batching plants.

(6) "Other use" means, in respect of a substance listed in Schedule 1 of the Canada Gazette notice, any use, disposal or release of that substance which is not included in the definitions of "manufacture" or "process".

(7) "Pit" means an excavation that is open to the air and that is operated for the purpose of extracting sand, clay, marl, earth, shale, gravel, stone or other rock but not coal, a coal bearing substance, oil sands, or oil sands bearing substance or an ammonite shell and includes any associated infrastructure, but does not include a quarry. "Quarry" means an excavation that is open to the air and that is operated for the purpose of working, recovering and extracting stone, limestone, sandstone, dolostone, marble, granite, construction materials and any mineral other than coal, a coal bearing substance, oil sands, or oils sands bearing substance or an ammonite shell and includes any associated infrastructure but does not include a pit.

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