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Policy Decision Notice:   EBR Registry Number:   012-3610
Title:
Metal Finishers - Industry Standard under the Local Air Quality Regulation (O. Reg. 419/05)
 
Ministry:
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Date Decision loaded to the Registry:
March 09, 2016
Date Proposal loaded to the Registry:
May 19, 2015
 
 
Keyword(s):   Air  |  Standard Related Act(s):   Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
 
Decision on Policy:

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.

In 2011, the Canadian Association for Surface Finishing (CASF) approached the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (the "ministry") with a request to develop a proposed Technical Standard under the Local Air Quality Regulation (O. Reg. 419/05: Air Pollution – Local Air Quality) for chromium compounds (hexavalent forms) and nickel and nickel compounds. Air standards for both of these contaminants will come into effect July 2016.

A technical standard is a technology-based compliance approach designed for two or more facilities in a sector that are not be able to meet one or more air standards due to technical or economic limitations.

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 metal finishing sector include: chromium compounds (hexavalent forms); 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.

As a result of consultation on this proposal, there are two significant additions to the Metal Finishers – Industry Standard.

Multi-tenant Buildings:

Facilities that operate in multi-tenant buildings will now have the option to use both a fume suppressant or wetting agent and an air pollution control device with local exhaust ventilation to minimize emissions or to replace make-up air filters, as per the original proposal.

Maintaining Negative Building Pressure:

Maintaining a negative pressure in key areas of the building will minimize fugitive emissions and improve the capture efficiency of the fume hoods so as to improve the control of emissions from processes in the building. The original proposal required facilities to maintain a negative pressure in the metal finishing tank areas and to assess this by maintaining a table of air flows entering and exiting the facility or area. Any facility will now have the option to either maintain a table of these air flows or to measure building pressure differential in 30 minute block averages. If the building pressure differential over a 30 minute block average is positive, facilities must make operational adjustments to self-correct. If there is a second measurement of a 30 minute block average showing positive pressure in the same day, this would be considered non-compliance and the facility is required to notify the ministry at the end of the calendar day of all the positive 30 minute block averages of the calendar day.

Embedded in the Metal Finishers - 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 Metal Finishers - Industry Standard. The Technical Standard Publication is available on the ministry's website and through the ministry’s Public Information Centre.

Requirements of the Metal Finishers - 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:   2

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: 1 comments were received in writing and 1 were received online.

Additionally, a copy of all comments are available for public viewing by contacting the Contact person listed in this notice.

A selection of these comments are available:

Effect(s) of Consultation on this Decision:

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 Metal Finishing – Industry Standard was provided with an opportunity for stakeholders to provide comments and ask questions of the ministry.

The following is a summary of the major comments and how they were considered by the ministry in finalizing the Metal Finishers – Industry Standard.

1. Inspection and access issues with proposed requirements for Facilities in Multi-Tenant Buildings

Comment:
The proposed requirements under the Metal Finishers - Industry Standard could raise issues around the inspection and access to make up air units of other building tenants. The ministry should consider an alternative option allowing facilities to use both a fume suppressant and an air pollution control device with local exhaust ventilation or to supply make up air filters to the landlord twice per year.

Response:
The Metal Finishers – Industry Standard includes two options for metal finishers registered to chromium compounds (hexavalent) located in multi-tenant buildings:

  • To provide the person responsible for the building new make up air filters for each make up air unit at the building every six months; or
  • To use both fume suppressant and an air pollution control device with local exhaust ventilation on metal finishing tanks used for decorative chromium electroplating, hard chromium electroplating, chromium anodizing or chromium reverse etching.

Similarly, for metal finishers registered to nickel and nickel compounds located in multi-tenant buildings:

  • To provide the person responsible for the building new make up air filters for each make up air unit at the building every six months; or
  • To use both a wetting agent and an air pollution control device with local exhaust ventilation on metal finishing tanks used for bright and semi-bright nickel electroplating.

The above requirements will take effect July 1, 2019.

2. Administrative Burden to require a table of air flows entering and exiting the building

Comment:
The proposed requirement to maintain a table of air flows entering and exiting the building may be an administrative burden on metal finishers. An alternative that may satisfy the intent is to require regular checks of building differential pressure.

Response:
The Metal Finishers – Industry Standard includes 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.

3. Facilities should be required to demonstrate continuous improvement over time

Comment:
The ministry should include a mechanism to assess continuous improvement over time.

Response:
During the development of the Metal Finishers – Industry Standard, the ministry assessed the dominant sources of chromium compounds (hexavalent) and nickel and nickel compounds. The requirements of the Metal Finishers – Industry Standard focus on the dominant sources of these contaminants. More stringent requirements are included for new facilities and facilities that undergo an expansion. 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.

4. Use the most stringent limits

Comment:
The ministry should consider the use of the more stringent surface tension limits from the US EPA rules.

Response:
At the time of developing this technical standard, the ministry was unable to find any published information to confirm that a reduction in surface tension from say 35 dynes/cm to 33 dynes/cm would result in a measurable reduction in exposure or emissions. However, the science behind fume suppressants is evolving and new approaches such as PFOS-free fume suppressant continue to be reviewed. The ministry may consider a future study to determine if a reduction in surface tension would further reduce exposures or emissions.

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.

Additional Information

Registration Process for Technical Standards:

Facilities that are part of the metal finishing sector will have one year from the date of publication of the technical standard to decide whether or not to register for contaminants of interest under this new compliance approach. The ministry is developing a registration process for facilities that are interested in pursuing registration for this sector. Further details will be made available on the ministry website.

 
Contact:

Kelly Miki
Air Pollution Control Engineer
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Environmental Sciences and Standards Division
Standards Development Branch
Technology Standards Section
40 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 7 & 9
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1M2
Phone: (416) 327-6292
Fax: (416) 327-2936

Additional Information:

The following government offices have additional information regarding this Decision. To arrange a viewing of these documents please call the Ministry Contact or the Office listed below.

Standards Development Branch
40 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 7
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1M2
Phone: (416) 327-5519

West Central Regional Office
119 King Street West
Floor 12
Hamilton Ontario
L8P 4Y7
Phone: (905) 521-7640
Toll Free Phone: (800) 668-4557

The documents linked below are provided for information purposes only
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