This proposal involves a number of amending regulations which are attached to this proposal and present a more detailed account of what is summarized in this posting.
As an overview, the attached amending regulations will amend current EASR regulations as follows:
Expand the types of activities that can be eligible for EASR
Current activities prescribed for the EASR in O. Reg. 346/12 under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) include heating systems and standby power systems (EASR requirements for sectors are in separate regulations). Heating and standby power systems are proposed to be expanded as follows:
- HVAC systems. An expansion on the definition of heating systems currently in O. Reg. 346/12 to also include associated ventilation, cooling and refrigeration equipment such as cooling towers. An HVAC system with cooling towers would be subject to additional eligibility and operating requirements
- Standby power systems. It is proposed that the current EASR be amended by changing mandatory operating requirements for mitigating air and noise emissions into eligibility requirements to allow for greater flexibility while still maintaining environmental protection
- Dust collection systems. Only small dust collection systems at retail locations or schools (schools does not include universities, colleges or trade schools) are proposed to be eligible
- Laboratory fume hoods. Only fume hoods that are used at schools (schools does not include universities, colleges or trade schools) are proposed to be eligible
- Arc-welding equipment. It is proposed to include indoor operation of arc-welding that is restricted in terms of welding rod usage in order to capture light maintenance activities only
This proposal to expand the eligible activities is made in consideration of comments received with respect to the technical discussion papers previously posted on the Environmental and Regulatory Registries (see Additional Information) as well as ongoing analysis of activities that are appropriate for regulation through EASR. The purpose of expanding the activities is to allow more sites that have routine activities that have minimal impacts on the environment to proceed through the EASR so that the ministry can refocus case-specific technical review resources to more complex approval applications.
Delineation between EASR and Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) sites
Experience to date has shown that EASR-eligible heating systems and standby power systems can be located at sites engaging in other more complex activities, such as at manufacturing plants or mining operations. The ministry has received comments from stakeholders indicating that, in these scenarios, the advantages of the EASR program are diminished. These more complex sites have other approval requirements under s. 9 of the EPA (air approvals) and therefore the requirement to register in the EASR has been viewed as duplicative rather than providing efficiencies. The Ministry’s approach to evaluating air emissions from sites is to require the applicant to identify sources of emissions as part of their Environmental Compliance Approval application. Therefore, it is likely that a site requiring an approval under s. 9 would also need to identify any EASR sources that exist at the site as part of the ECA application. To avoid the potential for duplication, a number of sites requiring both an EASR and an ECA have made requests to the Director for the issuance of an order under s. 20.18 of the EPA to allow the activities related to heating and standby power systems to not be subject to EASR.
As a result of this experience to date, the Ministry is proposing that O. Reg. 346/12 be amended to help delineate between EASR-eligible sites and those that will require ECAs. It is proposed that O. Reg. 346/12 would only apply (i.e. activities would be required to register in EASR) if all of the activities at the site are EASR-eligible. If there were any other activities that are not EASR eligible (e.g. manufacturing process emissions) requiring a s. 9 approval, all of the activities at the site are no longer prescribed for EASR. This means that more complex sites would require ECAs and entirely EASR-eligible sites would require registration in EASR. The regulatory language that is proposed to implement this change can be found in a new section 1.1 to be inserted in O. Reg 346/12.
In proposing this change, the Ministry is aware that some current registrations may be located at sites that have other s. 9 approval requirements. To minimize the impact from the proposed amendments at these sites, the proposal would allow these facilities to keep their heating and/or standby power systems registered (i.e. not be forced to now obtain an ECA) if their registration had been filed prior to the in-force date of thee proposed amendments. This would allow existing registrations for heating systems and standby power systems to continue to have effect at these sites. The proposal would also allow additional activities from the list of expanded activities to be registered at these sites. If a person that is in this scenario determines that it would be in their interest to no longer take advantage of the EASR for their facility they could request that the Director remove their registrations from EASR. Once the registrations are removed, the person would need to apply for an ECA for all of their activities.
While the ministry is proposing this delineation of EASR and ECA facilities based on analysis of stakeholder feedback to date, it is recognized that this change may be viewed either positively or negatively by the regulated community depending on the nature of their operations. The Ministry would like to highlight this aspect of the proposal as one where comments would be extremely valuable, along with our ongoing consultation efforts, in informing the decision to move forward.
Amending requirements for standby power systems
Currently, standby power systems that meet the eligibility requirements for EASR must comply with activity requirements related to performance in terms of air emissions (e.g. meets US EPA Tier 1 standards) and noise (e.g. equipment is designed to emit a maximum of 75 dBA at 7 m). This proposal modifies these standards in two ways.
First, current activity requirements for performance standards are proposed to be changed to eligibility requirements. This means that satisfying the performance standards will determine if the generator is eligible for EASR rather than a mandatory requirement for all EASR-eligible generators. If the generator does not meet the standards it will now need an Environmental Compliance Approval which would be issued on the basis of a ministry review of an application to determine appropriate case-specific conditions of approval. It should be noted that as part of the broader proposal this could also make all the activities at the site ineligible for EASR since s. 9 of the EPA would now apply to the standby power generator.
Secondly, an additional eligibility criterion has been proposed with respect to the noise performance standards. It is proposed that the eligibility requirements related to the generator meeting sound pressure level performance standard of 75 dBA at 7 m or defined mitigation would only be required if the generator is located less than 50 m away from the property boundary of the nearest noise receptor. This additional flexibility accounts for generators that are located further away from receptors and the related mitigation to noise due to reduction in sound that occurs over distance.
Amending the transition provisions for EASR activities covered by an existing ECA
Currently, EASR-eligible activities are not required to register if they were the subject of an existing Environmental Compliance Approval at the time that the related EASR regulation was brought into force. This transition provision expires on the earlier of the date that a person registers the activity in EASR (i.e. the person elects to register an activity already subject to an ECA) or on a date that is specified in each EASR regulation. This specified date has been set for each EASR regulation to be 5 years from the date the regulation is brought into force as summarized below:
- O. Reg. 346/12, heating systems and standby power systems: October 31, 2016
- O. Reg. 347/12, automotive refinishing facilities: October 31, 2016
- O. Reg. 349/12, commercial printing facilities: November 18, 2017
- O. Reg. 351/12, non-hazardous waste transportation systems: November 18, 2017
The Ministry is proposing to extend the timeline for a mandatory transition to EASR to be 10 years from the date that the regulations were brought into force. This extension will provide more time for facilities to elect to register on EASR. This proposed change only applies to the transitioning of EASR eligible activities subject to an ECA.
Additional amendments to clarify the need for approval through exemptions
This posting also includes proposed amendments to O. Reg. 524/98 to clarify approval exemptions for activities which produce negligible amounts of air contaminants and to support the implementation of proposed amendments to O. Reg. 346/12. These proposed exemptions include battery charging areas for electric vehicle batteries (e.g. electrically driven forklifts at a warehouse), fruit ripening areas (e.g. at produce distribution centres) and business copy centres (e.g. using digital printers and photocopies for business services at a shopping plaza).
Administrative amendment to allow for the ministry to request registrants submit new information
The proposed amendments would lead to a transition for existing heating and standby power registrations into the amended Standard Systems and Equipment EASR regulation. To facilitate this transition and to ensure the EASR reflects current information, an administrative amendment is proposed to O. Reg. 245/11. This proposed amendment would allow the Director to request that existing registrants provide an update to their registration information so that any new information that is now required in respect of the EASR is provided. This request would be made through a notice that would specify a date by which the update must be completed.
Process for Developing Registry Regulation
Please see the Ministry’s fact sheet entitled “How the Ministry decides which Business Sectors can use the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR)” for more information on the process that the Ministry undertakes to bring forward an EASR proposal. The document can be downloaded from the Additional Information associated with this posting.