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April 30, 2014

Environment Canada releases consultation document for proposed amendments to Environmental Emergency Regulations

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Environment Canada recently announced the launch of preliminary consultations to discuss potential amendments to the Environmental Emergency Regulations (EER) under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999).

The EER regulations require facilities with specified hazardous or toxic substances at certain thresholds to provide the federal government information regarding the substances/quantities, etc., and to prepare and implement emergency management plans. The complete list of substances is available from the Environment Canada website.

A handful of the substances can be found at water or wastewater treatment facilities (eg; chlorine at 1.13 tonnes), so members should ensure that they are complying with the Regulation if they meet the storage threshold(s).

Environment Canada is proposing several amendments to the Regulation including:

  • the addition of the following 49 substances to Schedule 1 of the EER:
  • 20 substances from the Challenge component of the Chemicals Management Plan;
  • 16 substances from the CMP Petroleum Sector Stream;
    • 4 strong acids;
    • 8 strong bases; and
    • ammonium hydroxide.
  • a change in threshold for substances already listed on Schedule 1 (it does not appear that any of the substances with revised thresholds are used by our members);
  • a new requirement that bulk quantities that meet or exceed the thresholds identified in Schedule 1 should be subject to the same requirements as a substance within a storage container system; and
  • new wording to clarify that "a container" should include commonly interconnected containers and all other connected items such as piping and vents that may contain the regulated substance.

Environment Canada has issued Consultation Document – Preliminary Consultation Document for Developing Potential Amendments to the Environmental Emergency Regulations to explain the proposed changes.

The most significant change for our membership is the potential bulking of containers. When we initially consulted on the requirements when the Regulation was introduced the vast majority of our members were not impacted as they were not meeting the storage threshold. However, with the bulking of containers this may no longer be the case. CWWA is consulting with our membership to determine how these changes will impact our members. Compliance will add an additional administrative burden, especially given that water and wastewater facilities already work collaboratively with first responders to ensure emergency preparedness.

The full consultation document is available from the Environment Canada website.


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