Regulating air contaminants from industrial sources is a priority in Ontario. Ontario’s local air quality regulation (O. Reg. 419/05: Air Pollution – Local Air Quality) works within the province’s air management framework by regulating air contaminants released into communities by various sources including local industrial and commercial facilities.
The ministry regulates contaminants in air because we want to be protective of communities who live close to industrial sources.
Ontario has a unique regulatory approach to improving local air quality that starts with setting science-based standards to protect human health and the environment. While these standards may not always be achievable due to limitations in technology or economics, the goal is to reduce emissions through continuous improvement and best available technologies and practices over time.
Some facilities that are not able to meet an air standard may request a site-specific or technical standard. These standards require companies to invest in the best available technologies and practices to reduce air emissions and improve air quality over time.
These standards are all about getting new investments in modern air pollution controls with the goal of minimizing air pollution over time. The ministry closely oversees the companies’ progress to ensure they are achieving the desired results.
We have seen vast improvements to address air emissions as a result of our regulatory approach.
Site-specific and technical standards are developed with full public transparency through public meetings and consultations. The ministry consults the public on all applications for site-specific and technical standards and public input plays an integral role in the ministry’s review of proposals.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (the "ministry") has amended the existing Foundries – Industry Standard (FIS), which is contained in the ministry’s “Technical Standard Publication” (see EBR # 010 -6588) and was published in 2009. A technical standard is a technology-based compliance approach designed for two or more facilities in a sector that are not able to meet one or more air standards due to technical or economic limitations.
Since 2009, the sector, as represented by the Canadian Foundry Association, requested an update of this technical standard to include additional contaminants. The 2009 version of the FIS allowed for registration of up to 111 contaminants, whereas this amendment now includes an additional 195 contaminants, totaling 306 contaminants available for registration. The registration of all of a foundry’s contaminants could eliminate the need for an annual Emission Summary and Dispersion Modelling (ESDM) report thereby reducing the regulatory burden for these small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Provisions in the technical standards will ensure that environmental performance in managing the releases of these contaminants is maintained.
Technical standards can be used to manage air emissions for multiple facilities within one or more sectors and can include a wide range of contaminants. The key contaminants of interest for the foundries sector include: chromium and chromium compounds (metallic, divalent and trivalent), lead and lead compounds, manganese and manganese compounds, and nickel and nickel compounds.
When the ministry develops a technical standard, representative facilities in the sector are compared to other facilities' requirements around the world to determine whether or not the same can be required of Ontario facilities. In addition, development of a technical standard includes a better understanding of the specific sources of contaminant(s) for that sector, benchmarking technology to address the sources of contaminant(s), and consideration of economic issues that relate to the sector.
Embedded in the Foundries - Industry Standard are a combination of compliance approaches that link together to form a strategy ensuring that:
- Facilities have greater accountability for self-assuring compliance and driving continuous improvement;
- Ministry oversight is applied by including triggers that require notification to the ministry, and follow up actions, when necessary, and
- There is awareness and accountability through reporting of key performance elements to the highest ranking individual.
The publication entitled: “Technical Standards to Manage Air Pollution” (“Technical Standards Publication”) has been updated to include the amended Foundries - Industry Standard. The Technical Standard Publication is available on the ministry's website and through the ministry’s Public Information Centre.
Requirements of the Foundries - Industry Standard only apply to sites and contaminants that a facility registers for. The ministry maintains a list of facilities that are registered under a technical standard; the list is posted on the ministry website so that the public is aware of the compliance requirements for these facilities. In addition, each request for registration under a technical standard is posted on the Environmental Registry for a minimum 45 days of public comment.
Comment(s) Received on the Proposal:
Public Consultation on the proposal for this decision was provided for 60 Days, from May 19, 2015 to July 18, 2015.
As a result of public consultation on the proposal, the Ministry received a total of 2 comments: 0 comments were received in writing and 2 were received online.
Additionally, a copy of all comments are available for public viewing by contacting the Contact person listed in this notice.
All comments received during the comment period, whether by email, regular mail, or the Environmental Registry website were considered as part of the decision making process by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).
Two comments were received: one (1) from industry and one (1) from public health.
In addition, in June 2015, the ministry hosted a stakeholder meeting which included industry, public health units and environmental non-government organizations. An overview of the proposed Foundries – Industry Standard was provided with an opportunity for stakeholders to provide comments and ask questions of the ministry.
1. Eliminating the requirement for an Emission Summary and Dispersion Modelling (ESDM) report for a larger number of contaminants
Concerned with the availability of a large number of contaminants to which prospective applicants may register and that those contaminants would no longer be evaluated via an Emission Summary and Dispersion Modelling (ESDM) report.
The technical standard can reduce regulatory burden by not requiring ESDM reports. If a foundry is registered for all the contaminants it emits, they would no longer need to have an ESDM report. The ministry has maintained the authority to request an ESDM report (under section 24 of the regulation) at any time, if warranted.
It is important to understand that under the Foundries-Industry Standard, actions taken to reduce emission of contaminants such as suspended particulate matter will have the co-benefit of reducing other contaminants like chromium and chromium compounds (metallic, divalent and trivalent), lead and lead compounds, manganese and manganese compounds, and nickel and nickel compounds as well. If these sources are being better controlled, the need for an ESDM report is diminished. The money that would have been spent to update these reports annually could be redirected to complying with the technical standard requirements and reducing emissions.
Additionally, the ministry continues to seek out better information on emissions data.
2. Industry clarification on various requirements
Industry requested clarification on various technical aspects of the proposal. However, in general, industry representatives support the sector-based approach and some see it as a way to reallocate resources to prevention and process improvement.
The ministry considered industry’s comments on the Foundries-Industry Standard which is intended to focus on the prevention of pollution through technical requirements such as operational and management practices and pollution control technologies.
One recommendation from the foundry sector was to re-evaluate the validity of the proposed rules pertaining to the installation of an afterburner when foundries are recycling used sand. Subsequent discussions with a manufacturer of sand reclamation devices revealed that this rule was not practical since the sand reclamation device has a suitably high operating temperature and adequate residence time for the safe combustion of volatile organic compounds.
3. Building Differential Pressure
Adding an alternative approach to assess building differential pressure.
Most foundries use a table of volumetric air flows into and out of the building to assess building differential pressure. FIS will now have the same options as the Metal Finishers – Industry Standard which includes the following two options:
- To prepare and update a table of volumetric air flows into and out of the building; or
- To take and record measurements of building differential pressure in 30 minute block averages.
4. Facilities should be required to demonstrate continuous improvement over time
The ministry should include a mechanism to assess continuous improvement over time.
More stringent requirements are included for new facilities and facilities that undergo a major modification. This approach will ensure continuous improvements over time.
A technical standard can also be updated if new cost-effective technology becomes available in the future. The ministry is currently considering when and how to ensure technical standards in general continue to be kept up to date. The Technical Standards Publication (see chapter 1.4 Updating of Technical Standards) acknowledges that updates to technical standard should be considered if new technically and/or economically feasible approaches become commercially available.
Registration Process for Technical Standards:
Facilities that are part of the foundry sector can decide whether or not to register for contaminants of interest under this compliance approach. There are 13 foundries presently registered under the 2009 Foundries – Industry Standard. These facilities do not need to reapply. Instead, they will continue to be registered and may request an amendment to their registration if they choose to add additional contaminants. Upon making such a request, the facility will need to meet any associated requirements which may be triggered for the additional contaminants they are seeking to append to their registration. Where appropriate, requirements have been phased-in to allow for an easier transition to the newly published FIS.
Information forms related to registration are available on the ministry website.