Canadian Water and Wastewater Association eBulletin

NPRI – Changes to Cobalt Threshold and New Reporting on Contextual Information

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Environment and Climate Change Canada will be collecting more contextual information on releases to water by adding the reporting of non-detect and concentration values to the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) for the 2016 reporting year. The change is intended to improve the understandability of NPRI data on water releases by providing more contextual information, to address comments raised by data users during the NPRI Data Users’ Workshop in 2013 and by other data users within Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The Reporting Guidance for the NPRI states that "An indication that a reportable substance is below the method detection limit (MDL) is not equivalent to stating that the substance is not present."

Therefore, if it is known that a substance is a concentration equivalent to half of the MDL should be used. It does state that if all samples are negative and there is no reason to believe the substance is present no value is required.

The contextual information will clarify how a concentration is reached – for example if it was an actual measurement, based on an emission factor or half the MDL. This would provide context for those interpreting the results, which theoretically would clarify the reliability of the data reported.
Enviornment Canada has shared with CWWA a draft of what the reporting will look like, and we are consulting with our Wastewater Committee and will submit comments on the proposal. 
Environment Canada will also reduce the reporting threshold for Cobalt for the 2016 reporting year. The reporting threshold will be reduced to a 50 kg manufacture, process or other use threshold, and 0.1% concentration threshold, commencing with the 2016 reporting year – it was previously included at the standard 10 tonne threshold. 
As cobalt is often processed through the wastewater treatment facility and ultimately discharged in either biosolids or effluent some facilities may be required to begin to report on cobalt.


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