New federal and provincial environmental legislation

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Courtesy of EcoLog Environmental Resources Group

With some provincial legislatures sitting, Acts are being introduced, amended, and brought into force. The federal and provincial governments continue to file new regulations and amend existing ones. Among the most recent changes are:

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Code of Practice for Soil Amendments The Code of Practice introduces industrial wastes into the environment as soil enhancements. Soil enhancements are used to improve the biological, physical, or chemical characteristics of a soil and they may also provide nutrients for crop growth. Industrial wastes or byproducts, such as lime, ash, and biosolids, have been recognized and used as soil enhancements in agricultural and forestry practices. Such wastes can improve soil waterholding capacity, structure, and bulk density, neutralize acidic soils, and supply nutrients and trace elements.

The use of industrial wastes for soil enhancement can also divert significant quantities of waste from landfills or
incineration. The Code of Practice applies only to specific materials, defined as ‘soil amendments’. These materials are
fly ash, primary or secondary pulp or paper mill wastewater treatment residuals, lime mud, water treatment plant residuals, and wood that has not been treated with glue, paint, a preservative or another substance harmful to humans,
animals or plants.

Only materials with allowable concentrations of substances such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, or zinc can be used as soil amendments.  If more than 5 m3 of soil amendments will be applied to an application site in a year, then a land application plan must be prepared and signed by a qualified professional before applying the soil amendments.

The Code of Practice provides for other technical and administrative requirements for managing soil amendments,
such as storage facilities and sites, management and monitoring information, notification requirements, and record
keeping. The code takes effect on September 1, 2007.

ONTARIO

Bill 43, the Clean Water Act, 2006

The purpose of Bill 43 is to protect existing and future sources of drinking water. The Bill also sets the area of jurisdiction of each conservation authority as a drinking water source protection area. The conservation authorities will act as drinking water source protection authorities in those areas.  Bill 43 came into force on July 3, 2007. (For the full story, start with the October, 2006 issue of EcoCompliance.ca
newsletter, p. 4.)

Bill 198, the Safeguarding and Sustaining Ontario’s Water Act, 2007

An amendment to the Act allows the government to file a regulation that sets a charge for water taken or used for
industrial or commercial purposes (see below). Subsection 1(19) comes into force on September 1, 2007. The other sections came into force on June 4, 2007 (see also the April, 2007 issue of EcoCompliance.ca newsletter, p. 3).

Charges for Industrial and Commercial Water Users (O. Reg. 450/07) under the Ontario Water Resources Act

The new regulation implements a charge to highly consumptive commercial and industrial users of water for the water
taken annually, starting from January-December 2009, and every subsequent year.

The new regulation specifies the charge rate, to whom the charge applies, when payments are to be made. It also specifies that information on the amounts of water used by highly consumptive commercial and industrial users must
be submitted to the Ministry of the Environment.

Highly consumptive commercial and industrial water users who withdraw more than 50,000 litres per day from groundwater and surface water sources or a municipal system will be charged $3.71 per million litres of water. The charge is volume-based so that commercial and industrial users will be charged for the actual volume of water withdrawn in a 12-month period.

The charge will be phased in starting with highly consumptive uses where water is incorporated into a product.
The uses include: beverage manufacturing; fruit or vegetable canning or pickling; ready-mix concrete manufacturing; and
aggregate processing. The charge goes into effect on January 1, 2009.

Effective January 2010, every highly consumptive commercial and industrial user of water specified in the regulation will be charged a rate. The charge to other commercial and industrial water takers who are moderate or low consumptive water users, including power (except hydropower facilities), will be phased in later.

Money collected from the charge will be used to cover a portion of the provincial costs of water management activities such as preparing water budgets, monitoring, and controlling takings and impacts.

Water Taking and Transfer Amendment Regulation (O. Reg. 451/07) under the Ontario Water Resources Act

Under amendments to the now called Water Taking Regulation (O. Reg. 387/04), pre-1961 industrial and commercial
water takers to which the $3.71 charge applies (see above), who were exempt from requiring a Permit to Take Water, are now required to obtain a permit. These pre-1961 water takers must submit an application for a permit by June 30, 2008.

Financial Plans Regulation (O. Reg. 453/07) under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002

The new regulation requires all municipal residential drinkingwater systems to prepare and submit financial plans. It sets
out the minimum required content of financial plans, but allows municipalities to vary their approach to preparing their
plans to suit local needs.

For existing municipal residential drinking-water systems, financial plans must be developed for a minimum six-year period and must contain details of a system’s financial position, financial operations and cash flow. The plans must be approved by a resolution of municipal council.

The first financial plans for existing systems will be required as a condition of the system’s drinking-water licence. The licence will require the financial plan for the system to be submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing by July 1, 2010 or six months after the licence is issued, whichever is the later date.

Financial plans for existing systems must also include details of the financial activities related to replacing lead service pipes.

A single financial plan for more than one drinkingwater system owned by the same owner is permitted only for existing systems.

For new municipal residential drinking-water systems, the municipality must prepare a financial plan for the system that contains details of its financial operations, based on a minimum six-year period. The plans must also be approved by a resolution of municipal council and the resolution must include a statement confirming that the system is financially viable.

Financial plans must be made available to users of the water system without charge, and updated in conjunction with every application to renew a system’s drinking-water licence. As a result of stakeholder comments on the costs associated with making copies of the financial plans available to the public, the regulation now requires the plans to be
made available to the public without charge through publication on the Internet, if the municipality has a Web site.

The regulation took effect on August 14, 2007. (See also the May, 2007 issue of EcoCompliance.ca newsletter,
“Ontario proposes financial plans be developed for six-year period” on p. 2.)

Toward Financially Sustainable Drinking-Water and Wastewater Systems — Financial Plans Guideline

The final Financial Plans Guideline, Toward Financially Sustainable Drinking-Water and Wastewater Systems, aims
to assist municipalities in preparing the required financial plans under the Financial Plans Regulation (O. Reg. 453/07)
(see above). The guideline sets out broad principles and provides practical advice to assist municipalities in moving
towards long-term financial sustainability of drinking-water and wastewater services.

The guideline covers a range of topics relevant to water and wastewater system financial sustainability, including long-term capital investment planning, asset management, and approaches to developing financial plans.  The guideline, which took effect in August 2007, also encourages municipalities to continue their efforts to replace lead service lines over time.

QUEBEC
Draft Reuse of Water Containers with a Capacity Exceeding 8 Litres Regulation under the Environment Quality Act
The draft regulation requires that containers with a capacity exceeding 8 litres used to market water for human consumption be designed and manufactured to be refilled a number of times during their useful life. The regulation defines “to market” as to offer for sale, sell, distribute or otherwise make available to consumers.

Under the draft regulation, the reusable containers must be handled by a recovery system, and must bear a clear
indication that they are returnable and reusable.  The draft regulation aims to reduce the volume of residual materials produced and promote source reduction and reuse.

Fines will range from $2,000 to $25,000 for a natural person, and from $5,000 to $150,000 for a legal person. Fines
will be doubled for second or subsequent offences. The Quebec government says that, from an environmental perspective, the regulation will prevent the emergence of a new market for large non-refillable containers that would
substantially increase the number of containers used to market bottled water. As well, the government says that the
regulation will also prevent an increase in the volume of residual materials going to landfill and thereby will alleviate
storage and handling problems for municipal recovery services. The draft regulation was published in Gazette officielle du Québec, July 11, 2007, for public comment.

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