Summer 2020 News Bulletin for Environmental Regulatory Changes

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Changes to Ontario’s environmental assessment program – Environmental Assessment Act

The More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019 was passed on June 6, 2019 resulting in changes to the Environmental Assessment Act. The changes to the Environmental Assessment Act included:

  • Exempting low-impact projects set out in schedules, groups, or categories in an approved class environmental assessment from environmental assessment requirements.
  • Allowing for class environmental assessments to specify that the Environmental Assessment Act does not apply to a group of projects, including following a screening process, resulting in an exemption from the Environmental Assessment Act for projects in the group.
  • Setting out the minister’s and tribunal’s authority to ask for additional information on an individual environmental assessment when reconsidering an approval issued under the Environmental Assessment Act.
  • Updating and clarifying the process for amending class environmental assessments to align study requirements with the potential for negative environmental impacts, reducing duplication, and increasing efficiency.

DiGiSci Environmental Consulting provides services in the air quality and can provide advice on air quality aspects of Environmental Assessments.

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Amendments to the Petrochemical – Industry Standard under the Local Air Quality Regulation (O. Reg. 419/05) – COVID-related amendments

Registered petrochemical facilities are required to conduct three Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) surveys per year. The purpose of these surveys is to identify components, such as valves, that are leaking so that they can be quantified and repaired. There are also existing requirements in the industry standard for three inspections of storage tanks and primary oil/water separators per year.

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP) is amending the industry standard to require only two surveys in 2020 to help support physical distancing.

The regulation continues to require ongoing Property Line Monitoring and all other requirements such as using vapour tight cargo loading tanks and record-keeping remain in place to help manage risk to the surrounding communities. Property Line Monitoring will continue to be required during this period and could identify issues and allow the ministry to take actions as needed.

With DiGiSci’s expertise in air quality, we can provide advice on compliance issues as regards air quality, property line monitoring, and noise emissions.

Adopting updated air dispersion models under the Local Air Quality Regulation (O. Reg 419/05): Adopting AERMOD/AERMET 19191 and ASHRAE 2019

The MECP has now replaced the previously approved versions of these models under O. Reg. 419/05 with the following updated model versions:

  1. AERMOD dispersion model version 19191 (version date July 10, 2019) used in conjunction with AERMET meteorological pre-processor version 19191 (version date July 10, 2019)
  2. ASHRAE method of calculation described in Chapter 46 (Building Air Intake and Exhaust Design) of the 2019 ASHRAE Handbook – HVAC Applications

The approved dispersion models and Ontario Regional Meteorological data sets that have been reprocessed with AERMET 19191 (version date July 10, 2019), and are available through the Ontario government website (MECP Website on Local Air Quality).

DiGiSci consulting are experts in regulatory dispersion modelling in Ontario, and can apply up-to-date models to assess your revised compliance with regulatory air quality standards in Ontario.

Revocation of Ontario Regulation 323/94 (Dry Cleaners) under the Environmental Protection Act

This will remove requirements under this regulation for dry cleaning businesses to undertake mandatory environmental management training.

Federal regulations introduced in 2003 resulted in federal inspections of Ontario dry cleaners using tetrachloroethylene, a dry-cleaning agent. These requirements have been effective at reducing environmental impacts, so provincial training requirements have been determined to be unnecessary.

Dry cleaning facilities should continue to adhere to federal inspection and compliance requirements as well as provincial environmental requirements, such as Ontario’s Waste Management regulation (Ontario Regulation 347).

Educational resources on environmental impacts are available to dry cleaning owners and operators, such as compliance information available through the federal government and the City of Toronto.

Greener Gasoline and Greener Diesel – Director’s Directions

On January 1, 2020, amendments to O. Reg. 535/05 came into effect, requiring 10% bio-based content in regular gasoline.

This bio-based content is required to have an average of 45% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum gasoline, assessed across the fuel’s lifecycle.

To calculate the greenhouse gas emissions of bio-based content for both O. Reg. 535/05 and O. Reg. 97/14, fuel suppliers need to use GHGenius version 4.03a (“the model”), a lifecycle assessment model available upon request to Environment and Climate Change Canada. Ontario fuel suppliers may be familiar with the model as it is already used for greenhouse gas performance determination in O. Reg. 97/14 (Greener Diesel – Renewable Fuel Content Requirements for Petroleum Diesel Fuel).

The proposed guide or “Director’s Directions” are legally-binding directions that prescribe the manner in which data are to be input into the model to quantify the greenhouse gas intensity of bio-based content, as required under the forthcoming amendments to O. Reg. 535/05 and O. Reg. 97/14.

The proposed guide will also include a process by which fuel suppliers can request the designated Ministry Director for a method to calculate the greenhouse gas intensity of emerging renewable fuel technologies that are not listed in the model.