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Policy Proposal Notice:   EBR Registry Number:   012-6859
Petrochemical - Industry Standard under the Local Air Quality Regulation (O. Reg. 419/05)
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Date Proposal loaded to the Registry:
March 09, 2016
Keyword(s):   Air  |  Standard
Related Act(s):   Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Comment Period: 90 days: submissions may be made between March 09, 2016 and June 07, 2016.
Description of Policy:

This proposal is to develop a Technical Standard under the local air quality regulation for the petrochemical industry sector.

The primary objectives of a technical standard, under Ontario’s Local Air Quality Regulation, is to include requirements for the implementation of best available air pollution control. This will lead to modernization of operations and minimizing air pollution. In practical terms, a technical standard provides a prescriptive set of air pollution control requirements that focus on key contributors to off-site concentrations of priority air toxics.

In 2013, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) approached the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) 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 benzene and 1,3-butadiene. Air standards for both of these contaminants will come into effect July 1, 2016. The ministry formed a technical committee with members of CIAC which has been meeting regularly since 2013. Representatives of the Aamjijwnaang First Nation (AFN) and Walpole Island First Nation (WIFN) communities were invited to participate in the technical committee in 2014. An additional community member also joined the group 2015.

The key contaminants of interest for the petrochemical sector include: benzene and 1,3-butadiene. This proposed Petrochemical - Industry Standard is intended to apply to facilities identified as part of NAICS code 325110 (Petrochemical Manufacturing). Requests for registration from various facilities that operate under this NAICS code will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

When the ministry develops a proposed 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.

The dominant sources of key contaminants from this sector consist of the following:

  • storage vessels;
  • equipment leaks (valves, pumps, etc);
  • industrial sewage treatment operations;
  • truck and railcar product loading racks; and
  • marine vessel loading berths.

A summary of the proposed requirements are included in the attached rationale document and the draft Petrochemical – Industry Standard. Highlights include the following proposed requirements for benzene emissions:

  • beginning January 1, 2018, storage vessels that are at least 75 cubic metres in capacity and store liquid with at least 2% by weight benzene, are to be equipped with internal floating roof (IFR), external floating roof (EFR) or closed vent and control systems;
  • oil and water separators are to install by January 1, 2019, IFR, EFR or closed vent and control systems or monitor ambient air or inlet/outlet benzene levels in industrial sewage starting July 1, 2017;
  • implement by January 1, 2019 air pollution control plans for all process drains within 200 metres of the property-line or with maintenance access points within 200 metres of the property-line, or monitor for benzene in industrial sewage starting July 1, 2017;
  • within 18 months of recording certain product loading thresholds, require closed vent and air pollution control systems for product loading areas with 2% by weight benzene or more;
  • a Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) program for components that are in contact with fluid that contains 2% by weight benzene or more;
  • a leak is defined as greater than 1,000 parts per million by volume volatile organic compounds (VOC);
  • as of January 1, 2018, an LDAR survey must be conducted every 4 months (or at least once per year if the percentage of leaking valves is less than 1%);
  • one survey per year must be completed using a method specified in the proposed technical standard (i.e., similar to United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Method 21) and the other surveys in a year may be completed using an optical gas imaging (OGI) technology or fixed leak detection system;
  • leak repairs must be completed within specified time-frames beginning January 1, 2020;
  • a “delay of repair list” is allowed to delay the repair of a component until the process unit is next shutdown if the combined total of all leaks on the “delay of repair” list (for in service components with 50% benzene or more) is less than 250,000 parts per million by volume as benzene;
  • benzene or VOC emission limits for all air pollution control devices must be source tested every two years;
  • flares that are used as air pollution control devices, must meet comparable requirements as the US EPA by January 1, 2023;
  • as of January 1, 2018, a requirement for the installation and operation of twelve property-line monitors for benzene at each facility that registers with the technical standard;
  • annual ambient monitoring reports including a summary of actions taken to address any statistically significant higher monitoring results must be posted on the facility web-site;
  • operating and monitoring requirements;
  • deviations and repairs for leaks;
  • tracking of complaints;
  • no back-sliding requirements for existing air pollution controls at the facility not specified in the proposed technical standard;
  • more stringent requirements that phase-in over time; and
  • public reporting, notification and recordkeeping requirements.

Highlights of the proposed requirements in the proposed petrochemical technical standard for 1,3-butadiene emissions include:

  • an LDAR program for the control of process fugitives from equipment leaks (similar to above benzene proposed requirements);
  • as of January 1, 2018, a requirement for the installation and operation of twelve property-line monitors for 1,3-butadiene at each facility that registers with the technical standard;
  • operating and monitoring requirements;
  • deviations and repairs for leaks;
  • tracking of complaints;
  • no back-sliding requirements for existing air pollution controls at the facility not specified in the proposed technical standard;
  • more stringent requirements that phase-in over time; and
  • similar public reporting, notification and recordkeeping requirements.

Embedded in the proposed Petrochemical - 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
  • Reporting to the highest ranking individual.

Currently, notifications of air limit exceedences are included in the ministry’s Environmental Compliance Report. Consideration is being given to how non-compliance with the Technical Standard may be incorporated into this report.
Once the technical standard is published, any facility in the sector (that may or may not meet the air standard) could apply to register under this compliance approach. Such registration would involve a posting on the Environmental Registry and may involve additional public outreach. The goal is to have a more efficient tool to better manage air emissions and reduce overall exposure from various industrial and commercial facilities in a sector.

Purpose of 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.

There are two types of technical standards:

  • Industry Standards regulate all sources of a specified contaminant(s) within an industry sector.
  • Equipment Standards address a source of contaminant, but may apply to one or multiple industry sectors.

This proposal is for a Petrochemical - Industry Standard. Facilities in a sector that are operating under a technical standard must focus on best practices and lower emissions to reduce risks to local communities. When the ministry develops a proposed technical standard, key sources of contaminants are identified and prescribed steps and timelines are proposed to address them. Some facilities may also choose to register under the technical standard for contaminants where they meet the air standards. This allows them to be excluded from the modelling requirements and reduce regulatory burden and costs while focusing resources where needed to manage emissions.

A facility that meets its obligations under a technical standard is in compliance with the regulation for the registered contaminants.

Other Information:

The petroleum refining and petrochemical sectors are complex facilities. Hence, some of the technical details such as sampling methods will be provided in new technical bulletins that will be developed to support the implementation of this proposed technical standard. Technical bulletins will include:

  1. Optical gas imaging (OGI) technology: This technical bulletin would expand on the appropriate use of optical gas imaging technology to support the requirements to find leaks for storage vessels and various equipment components under the LDAR rules.
  2. Industrial sewage treatment sampling methods: This technical bulletin will include appropriate sampling and analytical protocols to measure benzene in industrial sewage as well as in oily waste and sludge from the API separator. It will also identify the appropriate locations and approach to determine the concentration of benzene in process drains. This information is needed to support actions proposed in the technical standard if benzene levels in industrial sewage are high.
  3. Flares: This technical bulletin would set out protocols to monitor the effective operation of flares used as air pollution control devices.
  4. Ambient monitoring data analysis: This technical bulletin will provide guidance on how to determine a baseline of data from the ambient monitoring of benzene and to how to determine whether or not there is a statistically significant increase in benzene monitoring results from one year to the next.

The above technical bulletins would be developed after a decision is made on the proposed Technical Standards.

Public Consultation:

This proposal has been posted for a 90 day public review and comment period starting March 09, 2016. If you have any questions, or would like to submit your comments, please do so by June 07, 2016 to the individual listed under "Contact". Additionally, you may submit your comments on-line.

All comments received prior to June 07, 2016 will be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry if they are submitted in writing or electronically using the form provided in this notice and reference EBR Registry number 012-6859.

Please Note: All comments and submissions received will become part of the public record. Comments received as part of the public participation process for this proposal will be considered by the decision maker for this proposal.

Your personal information may be used in the decision making process on this proposal and it may be used to contact you if clarification of your comment is required. It may be shared (along with your comment) with other Ontario Ministries for use in the decision making process. Questions about this collection should be directed to the contact mentioned on the Proposal Notice page.

Other Public Consultation Opportunities:

The ministry has an Air Standards/Regulation 419 External Working Group (EWG) which is comprised of industry, public health groups, environmental non-government organizations and some First Nations. The goal of the EWG is to facilitate a discussion on matters relating to the local air quality regulation [O. Reg. 419/05] and to provide recommendations for consideration by the ministry. This proposal will also be shared with this group.

Summary of Stakeholder and First Nation Input and Concerns

In general, industry representatives emphasized the importance of focusing on the most significant sources; considering lessons-learned from implementation of US air pollution rules; and ensuring that the development of proposed requirements consider cost effectiveness and the cumulative effect of cost pressures from multiple and simultaneous environmental initiatives.

First Nations representatives have expressed concerns with the process to develop the technical standard proposal (e.g., a lack of capacity and corresponding funding to allow First Nations to contribute substantively); an inability to review information related to the dominant source analysis; and emphasized the need to consider cumulative effects from multiple facilities, multiple contaminants and exposure pathways; and to consider a historical pattern of exposures. The ministry has partly responded to these concerns by hiring jurisdictional experts to provide information to both the ministry and First Nations with respect to the most stringent air pollution requirements for US petroleum refineries (and Germany). (Note: rules to address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene in for petroleum refining sector are similar to VOCs (benzene and 1,3-butdiene) for petrochemical sector). This information was considered in the development of the proposed technical standard and in assessing “lessons-learned” and cost effectiveness aspects.

It is proposed that the ministry will continue to work with industry stakeholders and community partners as the new air pollution requirements are implemented. In particular, due to the proximity of many of the petroleum refining and petrochemical facilities along with ongoing concerns from the communities themselves, a collaborative approach with the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and the Walpole Island First Nation will be undertaken to verify air quality improvements and to identify additional air pollution control requirements as necessary. These implementation efforts are anticipated to culminate in a review of the petroleum refining and petrochemical sector requirements in 2023.


All comments on this proposal must be directed to:

Nicholas Ting
Air Pollution Control Engineer
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Environmental Sciences and Standards Division
Standards Development Branch
40 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 7
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1M2
Phone: (416) 327-5513
Fax: (416) 327-2936

To submit a comment online, click the submit button below:

Additional Information:

The following government offices have additional information regarding this Proposal. 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

Sarnia District Office
1094 London Road
Sarnia Ontario
N7S 1P1
Phone: (519) 336-4030
Toll Free Phone: (800) 387-7784

Hamilton District Office
119 King Street West
Floor 9
Hamilton Ontario
L8P 4Y7
Phone: (905) 521-7650
Toll Free Phone: (800) 668-4557

The documents linked below are provided for the purposes of enhancing public consultation.
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