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ARCHIVED - CEPA - Annual Report for the Period April 1993 to March 1994

CEPA Across Canada

Environment Canada offices across the country are instrumental in the administration 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 areas.

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 on environmental issues.

Atlantic Region

In 1993-94, Environment Canada's Atlantic Region provided regulatory guidance to Public Works and Government Services Canada, who continued as the lead agency in locating a mobile PCB-destruction facility in the Region. Environment Canada suggested and participated in both the public consultation process and the successful completion of a federal-provincial environmental evaluation associated with this facility. The active campaign to promote removal of in-use PCBs continued.

To control air pollution, the Region continued to collaborate with the Atlantic Provinces. Working together, the governments audited progress under the federal-provincial sulphur dioxide (SO2) reduction agreements. In addition, negotiations continued with Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island on amendments to the SO2 reduction agreements and extensions to their applications.

Under the NOx/VOC Management Plan, Atlantic Region investigated options for a Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program in cooperation with the Province of New Brunswick. The Region also assisted with ozone monitoring for an international experiment to study the transboundary movement of ground-level ozone in the eastern United States and Canada. As well, in cooperation with the Province of Nova Scotia, the Region completed a study on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet stabilization goals.

In its research and monitoring efforts, Atlantic Region

  • surveyed wildlife bioindicators at contaminated Atlantic Coastal Action Plan sites and determined exposure of wildlife species to toxic chemicals at those sites;
  • assessed the effects of contaminants on declining sharp-shinned hawk populations;
  • completed the first year of a two-year study to determine the atmospheric deposition trends of mercury and other metals;
  • monitored for cadmium, lead and zinc in the Saint John and St. Croix rivers as part of an ongoing international program;
  • monitored for metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Quidi Vidi Lake and Harbour, Newfoundland, under the Canada-Newfoundland Water Quality Monitoring Agreement;
  • continued to monitor PAHs and chlorinated benzenes as part of the Regional Organic Contaminants in Precipitation Project and expanded the network to include Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland; and
  • conducted an integrated ocean disposal-site monitoring program in Saint John Harbour in cooperation with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada in the Quebec and Prairie and Northern regions.

The Region also completed various projects related to toxic substances management, including use-pattern assessments of ozone-depleting substances and other chemicals, assessment of the dioxin and furan contamination of tall-oil resins and of commercial soaps.

As part of its enforcement efforts, Atlantic Region conducted 168 inspections to monitor compliance with Storage of PCB Materials Regulations, Chlorobiphenyl Regulations, Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations, Chlor-Alkali Mercury Release Regulations, Gasoline Regulations, Contaminated Fuels Regulations, Ocean Dumping Regulations, Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxin and Furan Regulations, and Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations. The results of these inspections included 17 investigations, 28 warnings and one prosecution.

The Region also participated in the review of a major halon release from a Nova Scotia Canadian Forces Base. Following this investigation, the Department of National Defence reviewed its halon use across Canada, and will reduce its consumption nationally. Atlantic Region also developed a national inspector's protocol for the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations.

In support of the ocean dumping provisions of CEPA, Atlantic Region issued a total of 153 ocean-disposal permits, and conducted 35 inspections and three investigations. As well, the region's staff conducted numerous public meetings and media interviews to explain the regional ocean dumping program and to exchange ideas on the regulatory revision of the ocean dumping provisions of CEPA.

As part of the CEPA review program, Atlantic Region also led a study of coastal zone management and its relationship with CEPA.

Quebec Region

In 1993-94, the technical and legal training of enforcement officers remained a priority in Quebec Region. Officers completed a total of 643 inspections under CEPA. These resulted in 83 warnings, 15 investigations and one direction. Six cases came before the courts, and penalties such as fines, community service and grants to environmental projects were imposed.

Quebec Region granted 31 ocean-disposal permits, the majority of which were for dredging materials from harbours in the Gaspé and Iles-de-la-Madeleine areas. The Region also conducted environmental monitoring activities on an immersion site in Baie-des-Chaleurs.

To encourage preventive measures, the Region concentrated on promoting the implementation of the National Pollutant Release Inventory and made training available for facilities that had to report information for inclusion in NPRI. The Region also paid special attention to Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations, Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations and Storage of PCB Materials Regulations.

The 1993-94 fiscal year, also saw the implementation of the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxin and Furan Regulations. Quebec Region is negotiating an administrative agreement with the Quebec Ministry of the Environment to enforce these regulations jointly. The negotiation of this agreement is near successful completion.

In addition, Quebec Region completed a national evaluation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a substance on the CEPA Priority Substances List. Three documents that support the assessment were published, including an inventory of Canadian sources of PAHs, a report on PAHs in the environment, and a report on the ecotoxicity of PAHs.

Finally, as part of a commitment to "Starting in Our Own House," the Region developed a five-year plan to promote compliance with environmental initiatives within federal installations. To this end, more than 200 federal government representatives participated in a regional pollution prevention workshop organized by Environment Canada.

Ontario Region

During 1993-94, Ontario Region maintained an active compliance inspection program. Inspection priorities for the year included implementation of the Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations, the Storage of PCB Materials Regulations, Chlorobiphenyls Regulations, Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations, the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxin and Furan Regulations, Chlor-Alkali Mercury Release Regulations, and Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations. The Region conducted a total of 415 inspections under CEPA, resulting in 31 violations for which warnings and directions were issued. In other enforcement action, it also initiated 85 occurrence reports, resulting in 17 investigations into suspected violations of CEPA, and issued six warning letters.

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. Regional staff made presentations to several federal departments on compliance, developed and distributed promotional bulletins, and worked closely with federal departments and agencies on site-specific compliance problems. The Region is now using an electronic bulletin board called ENVIRONET to disseminate compliance messages to federal departments.

In addition, Ontario Region continued discussions with the province for a pulp and paper administrative agreement pertaining to CEPA and the Fisheries Act.

Prairie and Northern Region

In 1993-94, Prairie and Northern Region completed the toxicity assessment of creosote-impregnated waste materials, a substance included on the original Priority Substances List. Because the assessment demonstrated the harmful effects of creosote-contaminated sites on freshwater animal and plant life, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health concluded that creosote-contaminated sites are "toxic" as defined under CEPA.

Working with the Department of National Defence and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Region also continued to assist in assessment and remediation of 42 active and abandoned DEW Line sites, giving technical advice on remediation plans to ensure that health concerns were addressed.

Staff also conducted inspections to ensure compliance with regulations under CEPA. Prairie and Northern Region Enforcement and Compliance Officers conducted 191 inspections and 25 investigations and issued five warnings. One prosecution was initiated under the Gasoline Regulations.

Canada and Saskatchewan developed an agreement pursuant to Section 98 of CEPA to enhance cooperation in the implementation of toxic substances legislation. The agreement will reduce regulatory duplication and ensure effective management of toxic substances. It will be signed in 1994.

The Region also developed an equivalency agreement with Alberta, which is expected to be signed in June 1994. The agreement recognizes provincial requirements of CEPA that are equivalent to the following CEPA regulations: Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations, Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxin and Furan Regulations, and certain provisions of the Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations. As a result, these CEPA regulations will cease to apply in Alberta.

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 and chlorinated phenolic compounds in suspended sediment continued at sites upstream and downstream from pulp mills in the Fraser Basin. As well, as part of the Fraser River Estuary Management Program (FREMP) Water Quality Plan, chlorophenols, chloroguaicols and chlorocatechols will be sampled in fish collected from four sites in the lower Fraser River in British Columbia. 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.

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

Historical releases of spent abrasive blasting grits, solvents and coatings from shipyards have contaminated marine sediments with metals and organic substances. In 1993, a draft best management practices (BMP) document for commercial ship building and repair facilities in British Columbia was prepared to provide operational guidance and specify control measures to prevent releases of these substances. The BMP document is scheduled for completion in 1994.

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' plan to expand the limited-area ban on the use of lead shot for waterfowl hunting to the whole province in 1995.

An investigation of fish contamination in Lake Laberge, requested under Section 108 of CEPA by three Yukon residents in 1991, is ongoing. In February 1994, department officials participated in a major workshop on northern contaminants to evaluate the scientific evidence currently available for information related to a potential CEPA violation. Although the Department concluded there was no evidence of a CEPA violation at that time, the investigation remains open.

The Region continues to be actively involved in projects to manage and reduce the use of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). A workshop on ODS management at federal facilities was held in 1994. A project is under way to find an alternative solvent to CFC-113 in the oil-and-grease method. Before implementing the new method at the regional laboratory in 1994, round-robin testing of the new method will be conducted with government laboratories in other regions. To assist in finding solutions for disposal of unwanted ODSs, a two-year research project was initiated at Simon Fraser University in 1994.

The leaching of anti-sapstain chemicals is another ongoing study. Updated environmental management practices scheduled for completion in 1994 will provide 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 is examining the reduction of perchloroethylene consumption and release from dry cleaning facilities in the Greater Vancouver area. A technical and economic profile of the business sector will identify the dry cleaning facilities, types and performances of installed systems, and losses of perchloroethylene to the environment via air, water and solid wastes. The project management team will develop response strategies and assess their economic and environmental benefits in 1994-95.

Work continued on a multi-agency/industry study that is examining toxic pollutant emissions generated when pulp mill waste sludges are burned with bark in a wood waste-fired power boiler at Fletcher Challenge's Elk Falls pulp mill. In addition to the emission testing study, health risk assessments will be conducted on the impact of various toxic pollutant emissions on local residents. The study findings will provide a basis for determining the need for future emission controls.

In addition, ocean disposal site monitoring resumed after a few years of minimal activity. Several public consultation sessions with industry and environmental non-government organizations were undertaken.

Inspection programs focused on the Storage of PCB Materials Regulations, Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxin and Furan Regulations, and Chlorobiphenyls Regulations. In particular, cooperative inspection programs under the Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations and Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations were initiated in conjunction with Revenue Canada Customs, Excise and Taxation; and the B.C. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks to assist monitoring the international movement of controlled substances and hazardous wastes. In the Yukon, transboundary shipments of hazardous wastes from Alaska to other U.S. states were inspected under the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations. In British Columbia, investigations into violations were launched under the Ocean Dumping Regulations, Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations No. 2, and the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations. Two successful prosecutions were completed.

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