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May 28, 2015

NPRI – Environment Canada Proposes Changes to Reporting

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Environment Canada is considering changes to the NPRI reporting that could impact our members, including new lower thresholds for cobalt and requiring "non-detect" concentrations for releases to water.

First they are proposing lowering the reporting threshold for cobalt to 50 kg mall and a 0.1% minimum concentration threshold. This will require some member facilities to report cobalt in ash from biosolids, or even effluent in some cases.

The proposed change stems from the recent publication and initial findings of the draft Screening Assessment Report of Cobalt and Cobalt-containing Substances (dSAR), and is meant to support risk management decision making.

The second proposed amendment is to require the reporting on non-detect and concentration values for releases to water for the 2016 reporting year.

The proposed 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 Canada. 

The NPRI already collects data on non-detect and concentration values for disposals of tailings and waste rock, as explained later on in this proposal. For some industrial sectors, information on concentration of certain NPRI substances in effluent is already being submitted to Environment Canada (for example, under regulations for the metal mining and pulp and paper sectors). As described below, consideration will be given to the best approach to minimize duplication in reporting where concentration data is already being collected and published for NPRI facilities and substances.
Recent NPRI efforts have been focused on improving data quality. The NPRI Data Quality Management Framework was created to ensure that NPRI data achieves and maintains a high level of quality and meets the needs of data users. This framework identifies six dimensions of data quality: relevance, accuracy/reliability, completeness, understandability, accessibility, and timeliness. Adding the requirement to report non-detect and concentration values to the NPRI supports the NPRI’s efforts to improve data quality by addressing issues of understandability of reported values for releases to water. 

The proposed change would address comments raised by data users during the NPRI Data Users’ Workshop in 2013, as well as comments from other Environment Canada data users, by providing more contextual information to enhance the information already provided by reporters.
Environment Canada is consulting on the proposed changes, and has offered to update members of CWWA’s Water and Wastewater Committee on them – we are hoping to arrange a webinar in early June for that purpose.We will keep members updated on the information session.


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