The ministry considered all comments received during the comment period in response to the posting. Overall, stakeholders were generally supportive of the ministry’s proposal to move activities with air and noise emissions to the EASR registration system. The following sets out the particular concerns that were raised and how the ministry considered them in the development of the draft regulations:
The ministry received comments indicating that some of the ineligible NAICS codes are broad and may result in lower risk facilities being ineligible for the proposed EASR. The ministry completed a detailed technical assessment during the development of this proposal which built on the analysis undertaken during the development of O.Reg. 419/05 to identify the sectors listed in schedules 4 and 5 of that regulation. This analysis indicated that the sectors listed in schedules 4 and 5 continue to account for a significant portion of key toxic containments and that the additional ineligible NAICS codes proposed are high risk and/or more complex and require review by the ministry under the Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) process.
Comments were also received requesting that micro combined heat and power (CHP) equipment under 250 kW be made eligible for the proposed EASR. Micro CHP equipment is not excluded from the proposed EASR if the activities meet the proposed eligibility requirements.
In addition, the ministry received comments requesting further clarification about the definition of mobile activities. In response, the ministry will include additional clarity around what is meant by mobile activities in the draft regulations.
Comments were received indicating that the requirement to have a qualified person (QP) assess contaminants without point of impingement (POI) limits would add significant cost to the EASR process. The ministry will be releasing an updated Jurisdictional Screening Level List that will set out screening levels for additional contaminants to use for assessments. This updated list will reduce the number of contaminants without limits. Guidance will be developed that clarifies what is expected of the QP with respect to assessing the likelihood of adverse effects in regards to contaminants without POI limits.
Comments received requested clarification about when modifications to activities at facilities will require a full update to technical assessments (e.g. Emission Summary and Dispersion Modelling report, acoustic assessment etc.) vs. an addendum being attached. Determining when modifications require a full update of the technical assessments should be determined by the QP, using good engineering practices.
There were also suggestions that a QP was not the most appropriate person to develop the fugitive dust best management practices plan (BMPP) as well as concerns that BMPPs may contain proprietary information and should not be made available to the public. The ministry considers this work to fall under the definition of the practice of professional engineering in Ontario and therefore will require the use of a licensed engineering practitioner. The proposed regulations will be drafted with a view to minimizing concerns with respect to proprietary information.
A number of comments raised concerns that the ministry was consulting on odour assessment requirements prior to the development of the Odour Policy Framework. There were additional concerns that facilities with no current odour issues may be required to undertake extensive and expensive studies. The ministry has reviewed the comments relating to this requirement and considered them during the development of the proposed Odour Policy Framework. The Odour Policy Framework will be posted to the Environmental Registry for public comment.
The ministry received comments suggesting that notification of complaints be made forthwith as opposed to within two business days. The requirement for complaints to be reported to the ministry no later than two business days is consistent with most EASR regulations. In addition under section 92 of the EPA, a spill must be immediately reported to the ministry’s Spill Action Centre if a person caused or permitted the release, had control of the substance just before the spill occurred or are a member of a public agency and the spill hasn’t been reported.
Several submissions indicated that the record keeping requirements proposed were too onerous. The ministry has reviewed the recommendations relating to this requirement and will incorporate them into the proposed regulations where appropriate.
Comments also indicated that the proposed five year updating requirement was too frequent and would be burdensome for smaller, less complex facilities. The ministry will consider a longer updating requirement when developing the proposed regulations.
The ministry received comments that the proposed transition dates from ECA to EASR were too onerous. In response, the ministry will consider a longer transition period when developing the proposed regulations.
Finally, the ministry received comments indicating that having a help desk in place will be essential to support the implementation of this proposal. The ministry will ensure that staff are fully trained and able to provide registration support. Guidance will also be developed to support the implementation of this EASR regulation.
Qualified Persons Requirement
Several submissions disagreed with the proposal to define qualified persons as licensed engineering practitioners and suggested that the definition should be expanded to include other designations. Given that prescribed activities would no longer be subject to review by a ministry engineer through the ECA process, the ministry proposes that licensed engineering practitioners continue to have oversight of these activities. Engineers have a responsibility under the Professional Engineers Act to protect the public, above their obligations to their clients or employers. Non-engineering practitioners will still be able to work on technical assessments; however, licensed engineering practitioners will be required to sign off on the assessments.
Questions were raised asking for clarification about how the proposed heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and standby power systems exemptions would interact with the current heating systems and standby power systems EASR (O.Reg. 346/12). If the proposed exemptions are approved, O.Reg. 346/12 would be revoked.
Comments also raised concerns about the lack of noise control requirements for standby power systems and there were requests that standby power systems with horizontal exhaust stacks be eligible for the exemption. The vertical stack requirement is based on existing requirements for standby power systems in Ontario. The requirement to limit the testing and maintenance of systems between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. was included to limit potential noise impacts. If equipment does not meet the exemption criteria, it would be required to register on the EASR or obtain an ECA.
Finally, there were requests to increase the exemption threshold for small-wood fired combustors from 50kW to 150 kW. The ministry proposed that wood burning equipment with a heat output capacity of 50 kW or less would be exempt from s. 9 based on an analysis of available technology, equipment certifications, emission levels and building code requirements. Certified combustors with a heat output capacity greater than 50 kW up to a heat input capacity of less than 3 MW and meeting the requirements in Guideline A-14 would be able to register in the EASR, if eligible, instead of submitting an application for an ECA, reducing some of the burden for this sector.