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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for the Period April 1994 to March 1995

CEPA Across Canada

Environment Canada offices across the country are instrumental in the administrative of CEPA and have been involved in activities featured throughout this report.

Although Canada's five regions share many of the same pollution problems, differences in their geography, natural resources and economies create separate environmental concerns. Regional offices bring these perspectives to the national environmental agenda, which is particularly important in the area of compliance, the regions' first area of responsibility. Within the framework of the annual National Inspection Plan, regional offices can target specific threats directly concerning people in their area.

Regional offices also perform scientific research and keep a close watch on problems in their areas, becoming involved, for example, in assessing materials on the Priority Substances List.

To round out their support of federal activities, the regions deal directly with the public and often represent the Department in negotiations with the provinces and territiories on environmental issues.

Atlantic Region

The following describes significant activities which Environment Canada undertook in the Atlantic Region in support of CEPA during the time period April 1994 to March 1995.

Environment Canada continued to provide regulatory guidance to Public Works and Government Services Canada which was the lead agency in attempting to site a mobile PCB destruction facility in the region. After extensive public consultation and independent review, the regional PCB Management Committee decided to discontinue the search for a suitable location. Environment Canada subsequently focussed its efforts on advising regional PCB owners on management options through several workshops which were held in the Region.

The Region continued to collaborate with the Atlantic Provinces to control air quality. The collective governments audited progress under the federal-provincial sulphur dioxide (SO2) reduction agreements. Additionally, negotiations continued with Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island on amendments to the SO2 reduction agreements and extensions to their applications.

To protect and enhance the air quality of "protected" and other areas of Atlantic Canada and the North East United States, the Region co-chaired an international committee whose primary task was the development of a Regional Air Quality Management Plan.

In its research and monitoring efforts, Atlantic Region:

  • contributed to a national study to measure atmospheric movement of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzo-furans (PCDPs/PCDFs);
  • as part of the Regional Organic Contaminants in Precipitation Project, continued to monitor PAHs and chlorinated benzenes at three locations in the Region;
  • produced a data review report on the regional occurrence and effects of eight priority metals;
  • completed a study which measured the regional atmospheric deposition trends of mercury and other heavy metals by sampling raised peat bogs;
  • completed a study which determined environmental concentrations and effects of chlorobenzenes discharged in municipal wastewater and textile mill effluents; and
  • completed a study which measured the reduction of environmental effects due to toxic substance discharge from the Sackville landfill after leachate treatment improvements.

Projects conducted in support of waste management included: the preparation of draft national landfill guidelines for federal facilities which provide criteria for use in the siting, design, construction, operation, closure and post-closure monitoring of solid waste landfills at federal facilities; preparation of a waste reduction manual which will provide guidance to Atlantic Region federal facilities in developing and implementing their waste reduction programs; and completion of a survey to determine the number of municipalities in the region that are implementing waste reduction programs, in order to focus future efforts.

Under the ocean dumping provisions of CEPA, Atlantic Region issued a total of 83 ocean disposal permits and 3 amendments. Through a cooperative headquarters/regional effort, three public consultation meetings were held to explain the proposed revisions of the Ocean Dumping Regulations under CEPA and to seek the public's input to the proposed revision. As part of the Green Plan Initiatives, the Region's staff completed a three-year dump site monitoring program in Saint John Harbour, New Brunswick, to assess the environmental impacts of dredged material disposal and a dumpsite monitoring program was conducted at Bull Arm, Newfoundland to determine the water quality and benthic impacts of disposal of 500,000 cubic metres of earthen materials at sea.

The Region also published a CEPA Five-Year Review which documents the significant accomplishments of the Department in support of CEPA since it was enacted. It demonstrates that the coordination of CEPA activities was largely through the working of the Regional Toxic Chemicals Committee which was implemented for that purpose.

Enforcement efforts have included 269 inspections to monitor compliance with the following regulations: Storage of PCB Materials, Chlorobiphenyls, Ozone-depleting Substances, Chlor-alkali Mercury Release, Gasoline, Contaminated Fuels, Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans, Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes, Ocean Dumping, Asbestos Mines and Mills, Fuels Information, and Phosphorous Concentrations. These inspections resulted in seven investigations, seven warnings, one direction, one prosecution and one conviction.

Quebec Region

In 1994-95, the Quebec Region maintained an active enforcement program of ten regulations under CEPA. For inspections conducted during the year, priority was given to the enforcement of regulations dealing with the storage of material containing PCBs, the import and export of hazardous waste, chlorinated dioxin and furan in pulp and paper mill effluent, and the ocean dumping of waste and chlorinated biphenyls. This year was also marked by the signature of an administrative agreement on the enforcement in Quebec of the federal regulation focusing on the pulp and paper sector and the implementation of mechanisms to ensure a "single window" approach to industry.

The 461 inspections conducted resulted in 45 warnings and 15 investigations. Three cases were brought before the Courts.

The Region continues to be actively involved in projects dealing with the management of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and the reduction of their use. An inventory of the ODS in federal facilities in the Quebec Region has been developed. A one-day workshop on the management of these substances and on replacement systems has also been organized for various Departments.

The Quebec Region has issued 19 ocean dumping permits for the disposal of dredged material from ports in the Gaspé and Magdalen Islands areas. It has pursued the environmental monitoring of a dumping site in Chaleur Bay. In the course of the regulatory review of Part VI of CEPA, the Region organized a consultation session to hear the public's concerns with regard to ocean dumping of waste.

In order to produce the 1993 National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), the Region developed a list of potential companies affected by this program and provided technical support to clients by organizing five training workshops. An updated version of the list of the companies affected was produced. Following this update, 400 companies will produce a report for the Region, in 1994, as opposed to 280 in 1993.

The Region has conducted a review of the environmental situation of federal facilities in Quebec. We have also assessed the compliance of Environment Canada facilities with environmental requirements. A three-year management plan has been developed for Federal Agencies and Departments (FAD). Approximately 600 copies of the first edition of a newsletter entitled Virage environnemental, which will be published on a quarterly basis, have been sent to the FADs. A three and a half day technical workshop on hazardous material and waste as well as emergencies was attended by 75 participants from various departments. A management guide on the subject, prepared by the region, has also been distributed. On the question of federal PCBs, Environment Canada has made a proposal to other federal departments: that a project to eliminate PCBs be developed in conjunction with the Quebec Ministry of Environment and Wildlife's venture. The project has been submitted to the Public Hearing Board on Environment. The Office's recommendations did not favour the federal government's involvement in the Quebec Ministry of Environment and Wildlife's project. Environment Canada has since developed an interdepartmental management plan for federal PCBs and recommended that departments come to an understanding and reduce the volume of PCB waste prior to its removal.

Ontario Region

During 1994-95, Ontario Region maintained an active compliance inspection program. Inspection priorities for the year included implementation of the Storage of PCB Material Regulations, Chlorobiphenyls Regulations, Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulation, Ozone-depleting Substances #1 Regulation, Ozone-depleting Substances #2 Regulation, Ozone-depleting Substances #3 Regulation, Ozone-depleting Substances #4 Regulation, Vinyl Chloride Release Regulation, Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations, Chlor-Alkali Mercury Release Regulations, Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations, Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations.

The Region conducted a total of 374 inspections under CEPA, resulting in 39 violations. In other enforcement action, it also initiated 102 occurrence reports, resulting in 38 investigations into suspected violations of CEPA. A total of 43 warning letters were issued.

As part of a program to encourage compliance, Ontario Region hosted several workshops for federal departments on PCBs, ozone-depleting substances, underground storage tanks and contaminated sites. Staff also made numerous presentations to headquarters and facilities staff at sites such as defence bases, research establishments, correctional facilities and airports regarding regulatory requirements under CEPA and other federal legislation. A compliance promotion newsletter called Compro Update was launched and two issues were published and distributed to approximately 500 federal government contacts. A compliance promotion bulletin on the storage of PCB material was updated and advice was provided to federal staff setting up several new PCB storage sites. The Region worked closely with Transport Canada and National Defence Staff to assist in the implementation of the CEPA glycol guidelines for federal airports. A promotional program was undertaken to increase awareness of issues surrounding the use of ozone-depleting substances. Compliance promotion posters regarding the prevention of spills of hazardous substances such as CEPA regulated substances were completed and distributed to federal contacts. Compliance promotion information was provided on a daily basis in response to telephone inquiries from federal government staff.

In addition, Ontario Region continued discussions with the province for an administrative agreement covering pulp and paper regulations made under CEPA as well as the Fisheries Act.

Prairie and Northern Region

The first equivalency agreement made under CEPA was signed and took effect in 1994. In recognition of equivalent provincial requirements, this harmonization mechanism suspends the application of four CEPA regulations in Alberta. The regulations which are subject to the agreement are the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations, Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations and the provisions of the Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations dealing with the use of defoamers and wood chips. Provincial requirements which achieve an equivalent effect to these regulations continue to be enforced by the provincial officials. Environment Canada is kept informed of compliance levels in the relevant industries and any enforcement actions taken by Alberta. Throughout the year, the level of compliance of the affected industries remained high.

An administrative agreement made under CEPA with the province of Saskatchewan also was signed and took effect in 1994. This agreement applies to all aspects of CEPA and its regulations. A management committee for the agreement has been established and implementation of the agreement has been initiated: a one-window spill reporting arrangement through the province is now in effect; a training program for provincial inspectors is being prepared; and federal and provincial inspection activity is now coordinated through joint planning of inspection schedules.

The region made two presentations to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development as part of the five-year review of CEPA. A presentation pertaining to the region as a whole was made in Edmonton. The presentations described unique features of the region, highlights of CEPA implementation since 1988 and recommendations for improving the effectiveness of CEPA. Recommendations included the development of additional guidelines and regulations under Part IV and a wider range of enforcement responses such as negotiated compliance settlements and administratively imposed monetary penalties.

Compliance and enforcement activity in 1994-1995 included the conduct of 160 inspections and nine investigations and the issuance of nine warnings. One prosecution under the Gasoline Regulations was concluded and resulted in a $9000 fine for the import and offering for sale of leaded gasoline. To promote compliance with CEPA requirements, plain language pamphlets were developed and mailed out to potential regulatees explaining the requirements of the revisions to the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations, the Ozone-depleting Substances Products Regulations and the National Pollutant Release Inventory.

In an effort to facilitate the implementation of the Federal Code of Environmental Stewardship and to promote compliance with CEPA, three Environmental Awareness workshops for other federal government departments were held in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. Presentations at the workshops were given by provincial as well as federal officials. The three-day workshops were well attended and, in addition to CEPA regulations, covered topics such as hazardous chemical management, emergency response planning, property transfers, and pollution prevention. As a continuation of the Priority Substances List assessment program, the Region initiated the Strategic Options Process (SOP) for the wood preservation industry. As part of the SOP, the Region conducted or supported programs to determine the types and quantities of toxic substances leaching from preserved wood in marine waters off of the east and west coasts, in fresh waters, from stored bridge timbers and from utility poles. The result will be a report to the Ministers of Environment and Health recommending technically and economically feasible ways to reduce the release of CEPA toxic substances from the manufacture and use of preserved wood.

The Region also participated in the planning for the second set of the Priority Substances List toxicity assessments (PSL II). The planning consisted of developing dossiers of information on selected substances proposed by Environment Canada for inclusion on PSL II. The dossiers provided the basis for the final set of substances nominated by Environment Canada for consideration by the PSL II Expert Panel, which will decide on the final list of substances for assessment.

Pacific and Yukon Region

As in other parts of the country, monitoring is an important gauge of environmental quality in the Pacific and Yukon Region. Accordingly, sampling for dioxins, furans, chlorinated phenolic compounds, PAHs, PCBs and organochlorine pesticides in suspended sediment and water continued at sites upstream and downstream from pulp mills in the Fraser River. These contaminants were also sampled in bed sediments from the mainstream and main tributaries throughout the Fraser Basin. As well, as part of the Fraser River Estuary Management Program (FREMP) Water Quality Plan, chlorophenols, chloroguaicols and chlorocatechols, dioxins, furans, PCBs and pesticides were sampled in fish collected from four sites in the lower Fraser River in British Columbia . The same suite of contaminants were sampled in fish collected at seven sites in the basin, upstream of the FREMP area. In the Strait of Georgia and the Fraser Basin, monitoring of contaminants in fish-eating birds continues, with emphasis on biomagnification of dioxins and furans in marine and aquatic food webs. Research on contaminants and productivity in bald eagles has also been initiated.

In British Columbia, dioxin and furan levels in herons and cormorants from the Strait of Georgia have stabilized following an initial decline after implementation of federal and provincial regulations. Bald eagles, which prey on both fish and fish-eating birds, have the highest levels monitored to date, and research is continuing on toxicological effects. It is not known whether the continuing moderate levels are the result of past discharges of pulp mill effluents, or ongoing sources such as air emissions from power boilers using salt-laden logs. In the interior, uptake of dioxin and furan and other organochlorine contaminants in osprey, through aquatic food webs, continues on both the Fraser and Columbia River systems. Toxicological research on osprey on the Thompson River (tributary to the Fraser) is being initiated in 1995. On the lower Columbia River, osprey eggs also have elevated PCB levels, although a specific source is not known.

Lead poisoning of bald eagles continues to be a problem in the lower Fraser Valley, eastern Vancouver and some locations of the B.C. interior. Eagles are exposed to lead when they capture and eat waterfowl either wounded by lead shot or with lead shot in their gizzards. As a result, the federal and B.C. governments have extended the ban on the use of lead shot for waterfowl hunting to the whole province.

A toxic chemical committee, established by the federal and provincial governments, worked toward addressing the life-cycle management of toxic substances, defined priorities and promoted cooperative programs between the two levels of government in British Columbia.

An investigation of fish contamination in Lake Laberge, requested under section 108 of CEPA by three Yukon residents in 1991, is continuing. In 1994 and 1995, department officials participated in a major workshop on northern contaminants to evaluate scientific information available for information related to a potential CEPA violation. Critical scientific information is not yet available. Although the department concluded there was no evidence of a CEPA violation to date, the investigation remains open.

The Region continues to be actively involved in projects to manage and reduce the use of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). As a member of a provincial ODS Steering Committee, regional staff continue to assist the province in the implementation of the B.C. provincial ODS Regulation. With major funding from the Environmental Innovation Program, a unique two-year research project (to be completed in 1996) began at Simon Fraser University to study the reaction mechanisms for modification of ODS to other useful substances through catalytic dehalogenation. In another project, laboratory comparison of replacement solvents for oil and grease analyses showed tetrachloroethylene as the best alternative to CFC-113; a project has been proposed in 1995-96 to conduct a round-robin interlaboratory study among various private and government laboratories to confirm the acceptability using the new solvent.

By far more antisapstain chemicals are used in B.C. than in any other province. An annual inventory of B.C. antisapstain chemical users has been conducted since 1990. In September 1994, Environment Canada and B.C. Environment jointly published an updated version of the 1983 Code of Practice for Chlorophenate Wood Protection, which covered all commercially available antisapstain chemicals. The updated document provides guidance on the design and operation of chemical application facilities, and on the prevention and control of chemical releases to the environment.

A team of Environment Canada representatives and other government and industry stakeholders have completed a technical and economic profile of the dry cleaning facilities in the Greater Vancouver area. The findings show that tetrachloroethylene consumption among some 300 businesses in the pilot study can be economically reduced over 50% if facilities switch to current generation dry cleaning machines. Consequently, releases of "perc" to the environment via air, water and solid wastes will be reduced by the same amount. The project management team has developed a response strategy which will be examined by the Greater Vancouver Regional District and B.C. Environment in the context of the department's Strategic Options Process on Tetrachloroethylene for the Canadian Dry Cleaning Sector.

Environment Canada and Fletcher Challenge Canada Ltd., released the findings of stack emission and health risk assessment studies on atmospheric dioxin and furan releases from a woodwaste-fired steam-generating boiler, at the company's Elk Falls pulp mill on Vancouver Island. Theoretical modelling of the impact of the emissions on local populations, showed that the boiler emissions contribute on average between one-one thousandth (1/1,000) and one-one hundredth (1/100) of the acceptable dioxin and furan intake established as a guideline by Health Canada. The dioxin emissions from this process are unique to B.C. where chlorides in wood bark from salt-water stored logs trigger the formation of dioxins and furans during combustion. The B.C. pulp companies with tide-water plants have launched a technology development initiative to examine means of reducing the source emissions. Accordingly to the recommendations in the report, monitoring is presently being conducted to verify the results of the modelling studies in the Elk Falls area.

In addition, monitoring of ocean disposal sites continued. A public consultation session with industry and environmental non-government organizations was undertaken on proposed changes to CEPA's Ocean Dumping Regulations and program policy.

Inspection programs in the Pacific and Yukon Region targeted PCB Material storage facilities, In-service PCB equipment, importation and sale of ozone-depleting substances, dioxin and furan releases in pulp mill effluents and the import and export of hazardous wastes. In addition to inspection activities under the Export and Import of Hazardous waste regulations, the region conducted a number of compliance promotion seminars, including one with Alaska hazardous waste shippers who transit Canada and are regulated under CEPA. Coordination of efforts with the province of B.C., Canada Customs, U.S. Customs and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have also begun to improve intelligence on the movement of hazardous wastes.

A federal-provincial agreement on the administration of regulations for the pulp and paper sector under both the federal Fisheries Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act was signed in September 1994. Under this agreement, a single window to industry is provided through the province of B.C., who administers the Fisheries Act requirements and the CEPA Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations and Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations. To facilitate the administration of the agreement, provincial inspectors have been trained and will be designated as CEPA inspectors.

The region also began publishing compliance status reports for each of the CEPA regulations in the region. These reports provide an overall assessment of the compliance rate, identify areas of non-compliance, and name offenders which have been subject to an enforcement response (eg. Warnings and prosecutions). Four investigations were launched into alleged CEPA offences with two successful prosecutions being completed resulting in fines totalling $8,000.00 and a Court Order requiring community service and restitution. The investigations were for alleged violations of Ozone-depleting Substances and Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations and the ocean dumping provisions of CEPA (Part VI).

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