Introduction to Air & Noise Permitting in Ontario

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Did you know that exhaust stacks or vents, or noise sources on-site, require an environmental permit? In fact, it is required under section 9 of the Environmental Protection Act!

Air & Noise Permitting


If you don’t have one, or have an out-dated one, you could be investigated by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), and possibly fined.

Air/Noise emission permits are divided into two types:

(1) Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECAs), and,

(2) Environmental Activity and Sector Registry permits (EASRs).

What is the difference? Basically, ECAs apply to “higher-risk” activities (e.g., Sewage treatment facilities, Chemical manufacturing, Transportation equipment manufacturing, as defined by a prescribed list of NAICS codes) and need to be submitted to the MECP for review and approval. On the other hand EASRs do not need to be submitted for review and approval by MECP, saving some processing time, but you need to hire a Licensed Engineering Practitioner (LEP) to provide an engineering stamp and sign-off the assessment.

Both types of permit require an assessment of your air and noise emissions, and a technical analysis to ensure that the impacts of those emissions are within regulatory standards. But because EASRs are private-sector regulated the MECP has imposed additional requirements in terms of odour screening assessments and fugitive dust management planning (if applicable).

You may already have an ECA or EASR permit but changes at your facility, that affect air noise emissions, may trigger the requirement to update your permit – please bear that in-mind! In fact, when planning new facilities, or planning changes at your facility, that is the best time to evaluate the air/noise impacts of your planned changes so that changes can be made, in the design phase (if necessary), to keep your facility compliant when those changes are implemented.

DiGiSci Environmental provides complete services in applications or updating your ECA or EASR permit. Please contact us if you have questions about the permitting process.

In later posts, we’ll be taking deeper “dives” into certain surprising and interesting aspects of emissions permitting.

Franco DiGiovanni, PhD, LEL