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SOR/2008-239 July 28, 2008

FISHERIES ACT

Regulations Amending The Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations

P.C. 2008-1351 July 28, 2008

Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, pursuant to paragraphs 36(5)(e) and 38(9)(a) of the Fisheries Act (see footnote a), hereby makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations.

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE PULP AND PAPER EFFLUENT REGULATIONS

AMENDMENTS

1. The definition “authorization officer” in section 2 of the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:

“authorization officer”, in respect of a province set out in column I of an item of Schedule V, means the person referred to in column II of that item; (agent d’autorisation)

2. Paragraph 10(1)(b) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(b) the day referred to in subsection 30(1) after which the interpretive report is required to be submitted to the authorization officer;

3. The descriptions of “Qd” and “Qm” in paragraph 14(b) of the English version of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

Qd is the maximum BOD of the BOD matter that may be deposited during a daily period or the maximum quantity of suspended solids that may be deposited during a daily period, expressed in kilograms,

Qm is the maximum BOD of the BOD matter that may be deposited during a month or the maximum quantity of suspended solids that may be deposited during a month, expressed in kilograms, and

4. Paragraph 15(1)(b) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(b) the owner or operator of a mill that commenced operations before November 3, 1971 and since that date treats effluent from the production of dissolving grade sulphite pulp, who seeks an authorization to deposit, or to permit the deposit of, BOD matter or suspended solids in quantities that exceed the maximum quantities authorized by section 14;

5. The descriptions of “Qd” and “Qm” in paragraph 19(1)(b) of the English version of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

Qd is the maximum BOD of the BOD matter that may be deposited during a daily period or the maximum quantity of suspended solids that may be deposited during a daily period, expressed in kilograms,

Qm is the maximum BOD of the BOD matter that may be deposited during a month or the maximum quantity of suspended solids that may be deposited during a month, expressed in kilograms,

6. The descriptions of “Qd” and “Qm” in paragraph 20(b) of the English version of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

Qd is the maximum BOD of the BOD matter that may be deposited during a daily period or the maximum quantity of suspended solids that may be deposited during a daily period, expressed in kilograms,

Qm is the maximum BOD of the BOD matter that may be deposited during a month or the maximum quantity of suspended solids that may be deposited during a month, expressed in kilograms,

7. (1) Subsection 29(3) of the French version of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(3) Malgré les paragraphes (1) et (2), le propriétaire ou l’exploitant de la fabrique ou de l’installation extérieure de traitement qui a rejeté ou immergé l’effluent à partir de l’émissaire d’effluent visé au paragraphe (1) pendant moins de cent vingt jours au cours d’une année civile effectue les essais de toxicité sublétale et présente le rapport connexe une seule fois pour cette année civile.

(2) Section 29 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after subsection (3):

(4) Despite subsections (1) to (3), the owner or operator of a mill is not required to conduct sublethal toxicity testing and submit a report on the sublethal toxicity tests if the mill has not produced pulp or paper products for at least eight consecutive months and has not resumed production.

8. (1) Paragraphs 30(1)(b) to (d) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

(b) the day on which a mill again becomes subject to these Regulations after having not produced pulp or paper products for at least eight consecutive months, which day shall not precede the coming into force of this section; or

(c) the day on which an off-site treatment facility again becomes subject to these Regulations after having not been subject to them for at least one calendar year, which day shall not precede the coming into force of this section.

(2) Subsections 30(2) and (3) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

(2) Subject to subsections (3) to (5), subsequent biological monitoring studies shall be conducted and interpretive reports shall be submitted to the authorization officer within three years after the day on which the most recent interpretive report was required to be submitted.

(3) The time limit for conducting the subsequent biological monitoring study on the fish population, referred to in paragraph 3(a) of Schedule IV.1, and for submitting the interpretive report in relation to this study, is six years after the day on which the most recent interpretive report was required to be submitted if

(a) according to the two most recent interpretive reports, the study has found no effects on the fish population; or

(b) the most recent interpretive report indicates the solutions to eliminate the effects on the fish population.

(4) The time limit for conducting the subsequent biological monitoring study on the benthic invertebrate community, referred to in paragraph 3(c) of Schedule IV.1, and for submitting the interpretive report in relation to this study, is six years after the day on which the most recent interpretive report was required to be submitted if

(a) according to the two most recent interpretive reports, the study has found no effects on the benthic invertebrate community; or

(b) the most recent interpretive report indicates the solutions to eliminate the effects on the benthic invertebrate community.

(5) The owner or operator of a mill is not required to conduct biological monitoring studies if the mill has not produced pulp or paper products for at least eight consecutive months and has not resumed production.

9. Section 31 of the Regulations and the heading before it are repealed.

10. Paragraph 38(5)(d) of the French version of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

d) les résultats de l’essai effectué en application du sousalinéa (3)a)(ii) ou de tout autre essai qui répond aux critères du paragraphe (4);

11. (1) Subsection 2(1) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations is replaced by the following:

2. (1) Sublethal toxicity testing shall be conducted by following the applicable methods referred to in subsections (2) and (3) and by recording the results for an invertebrate species and an algal species.

(2) Paragraphs 2(2)(a) and (b) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations are replaced by the following:

(b) in the case of an invertebrate species, Biological Test Method: Test of Reproduction and Survival Using the Cladoceran Ceriodaphnia dubia (Report EPS 1/RM/21 Second Edition), February 2007, published by the federal Department of the Environment; and

(3) Subparagraph 2(2)(c)(i) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(i) Biological Test Method: Growth Inhibition Test Using a Freshwater Alga (Report EPS 1/RM/25 Second Edition), March 2007, published by the federal Department of the Environment, or

(4) The portion of paragraph 2(3)(b) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations before subparagraph (ii) is replaced by the following:

(b) in the case of algal species, one of the following test methodologies, as applicable, namely,

(i) Short-term Methods for Estimating the Chronic Toxicity of Effluents and Receiving Waters to Marine and Estuarine Organisms (Third Edition) (Reference Method EPA/821/R/ 02–014), October 2002, published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or

12. (1) Paragraph 3(a) of Schedule IV.1 to the French version of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

a) d’une étude sur la population de poissons dans le cas où la concentration de l’effluent dans la zone exposée est supérieure à 1% en deçà de 250 m d’un point d’immersion de l’effluent;

(2) Paragraph 3(c) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(c) a study respecting the benthic invertebrate community, if the concentration of effluent in the exposure area is greater than 1% in the area located within 100 m of a point of deposit of the effluent in water.

13. (1) The portion of subsection 4(1) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:

4. (1) At least six months before the commencement of sampling for biological monitoring studies, a study design shall be submitted to the authorization officer that, subject to subsections (2) to (4), consists of

(2) The portion of paragraph 4(1)(d) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations before subparagraph (i) is replaced by the following:

(d) if the study referred to in paragraph 3(c) respecting the benthic invertebrate community is required, a description of how the study will be conducted, that includes

(3) Paragraph 4(1)(e) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(e) the dates when any samples will be collected;

(4) Paragraph 4(1)(h) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(h) if the two most recent interpretive reports indicate the same effect on the fish population, on fish tissue or on the benthic invertebrate community, a description of the magnitude and geographical extent of the effect.

(5) Subsection 4(2) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(2) If the most recent interpretive report indicates the magnitude and geographical extent of an effect on the fish population, on fish tissue or on the benthic invertebrate community, or that the cause of the effect has not been identified, the study design shall consist of the following:

(a) the summary of results referred to in paragraph (1)(g); and

(b) a detailed description of the field and laboratory studies that will be used to determine the cause of the effect.

(3) If the most recent interpretive report indicates the cause of the effect on the fish population, on fish tissue or on the benthic invertebrate community, or that the solutions have not been identified, the study design shall consist of a detailed description of the studies that will be used to identify the possible solutions to eliminate the effect.

(4) If the most recent interpretive report indicates the solutions to eliminate the effect, the study design shall consist of the information referred to in subsection (1).

14. Paragraph 5(1)(a) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(a) a description of the manner in which the effluent mixes within the exposure area, including an estimate of the concentration of effluent in water at 100 m and 250 m, respectively, from each point of deposit of the effluent in water;

15. Paragraph 10(b) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(b) in the case of effluent that is deposited into marine or estuarine waters, the ratio of carbon to nitrogen, redox potential (Eh) and sulphides.

16. (1) The portion of subsection 12(1) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:

12. (1) After biological monitoring studies are conducted in accordance with sections 8 to 10, an interpretive report shall be prepared that, subject to subsections (2) and (2.1), contains the following information:

(2) Subsection 12(3) of Schedule IV.1 to the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(2.1) If a study design is submitted under subsection 4(3), the interpretive report shall consist of only the studies that were used to identify possible solutions to eliminate the effect and the results of those solutions and, if no solutions were identified, an explanation of the reasons why and a description of any steps that need to be taken in the next study to identify the solutions.

(3) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(f), if a study on the fish population, on fish tissue or on the benthic invertebrate community is not required to be conducted under these Regulations, the effluent is considered to have no effect on the fish population, on fish tissue or on the benthic invertebrate community, respectively.

17. Schedules V and VI to the Regulations are replaced by the Schedules V and VI set out in the schedule to these Regulations.

18. Subsection 4(2) of Schedule VII to the French version of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(2) Aux fins de vérification du calibrage de la jauge CTD à l’égard de la salinité, les spécifications de l’instrument devraient être appliquées.

19. The French version of the Regulations is amended by replacing the words “le détail” with the words “la mention” wherever they occur in the following provisions:

(a) paragraph 11(1)(a); and

(b) paragraph 11(1)(d).

COMING INTO FORCE

20. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

SCHEDULE
(Section 17)

SCHEDULE V
(Section 2)

AUTHORIZATION OFFICERS

Item

Column I

Province

Column II

Authorization Officer

1.

Ontario

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Ontario Environment Canada

2.

Quebec

(a) if there is a written agreement in effect between the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec in respect of information required to be submitted under these Regulations, and the Minister has notified all operators in the province of the agreement,

(i) for the purposes of giving the notification mentioned in paragraph (a) of the definition “daily period” in section 2, and for the purposes of paragraphs 7(1)(h) and (i) and 10(1)(b) and sections 13, 15 to 18 and 28 to 31, of subsection 4(2) of Schedule II and for the purposes of Schedule IV.1, Director, Environmental Protection Operations Division — Quebec, Environment Canada, and

(ii) for the purposes of all other provisions, le sous-ministre adjoint de la Direction générale des opérations régionales, ministère de l’Environnement du Québec; and

(b) if there is no such agreement in effect, Director, Environmental Protection Operations Division — Quebec, Environment Canada

3.

Nova Scotia

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Atlantic Environment Canada

4.

New Brunswick

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Atlantic Environment Canada

5.

Manitoba

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Prairie and Northern Environment Canada

6.

British Columbia

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Pacific and Yukon Environment Canada

7.

Saskatchewan

(a) if there is a written agreement in effect between the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan in respect of these Regulations, and the Minister has notified all operators in the province of the agreement, Manager, Industrial, Uranium, and Hardrock Unit, Environmental Protection Branch, Saskatchewan Environment; and

(b) if there is no such agreement in effect, Director, Environmental Protection Operations Division — Prairie and Northern, Environment Canada

8.

Alberta

(a) if there is a written agreement in effect between the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta in respect of these Regulations, and the Minister has notified all operators in the province of the agreement, Regional Approvals Manager, Regional Services, Central Region, Red Deer Office, Alberta Environment; and

(b) if there is no such agreement in effect, Director, Environmental Protection Operations Division — Prairie and Northern, Environment Canada

9.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Atlantic Environment Canada

SCHEDULE VI
(Subsections 32(1) and 38(1))

NOTIFICATION AND REPORTING OF DEPOSITS OUT OF THE NORMAL COURSE OF EVENTS

Item

Column I

Province

Column II

Office

Column III

Position

1.

Ontario

Environmental Protection Operations
Division — Ontario
Environment Canada

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Ontario
Environment Canada

2.

Quebec

Environmental Protection Operations
Division — Quebec
Environment Canada

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Quebec
Environment Canada

3.

Nova Scotia

Maritimes Regional Office
Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Atlantic
Environment Canada

4.

New Brunswick

Maritimes Regional Office
Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Atlantic
Environment Canada

5.

Manitoba

Manitoba Section
Environmental Protection Operations
Division — Prairie and Northern
Environment Canada

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Prairie and Northern
Environment Canada

6.

 British Columbia

Environmental Protection Operations
Division — Pacific and Yukon
Environment Canada

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Pacific and Yukon
Environment Canada

7.

Saskatchewan

Compliance and Field Services Branch
Saskatchewan Environment

Executive Director
Compliance and Field Services Branch
Saskatchewan Environment

8.

Alberta

Enforcement and Monitoring Branch
Alberta Environment

Director
Enforcement and Monitoring Branch
Alberta Environment

9.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Office
Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Director
Environmental Protection Operations Division — Atlantic
Environment Canada

REGULATORY IMPACT
ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations)

Description

The Regulations Amending thePulp and Paper Effluent Regulations (hereinafter referred to as the amendments) are a result of operational experience gained through implementing the environmental effects monitoring (EEM) requirements, as well as feedback from a multistakeholder group of policy experts brought together to work on the Smart Regulation Project on Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Pulp and Paper EEM. The amendments are aimed at improving the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations (hereinafter referred to as the PPER), so that the pulp and paper EEM requirements are more effective and efficient. Minor changes have also been made to update the regulatory text and enhance its clarity and consistency.

The amendments maintain the same stringent requirements governing the quality of pulp and paper mill effluent, ensuring the continued protection of the environment.

The amendments come into force on the date on which they are registered.

Background

On May 20, 1992, the PPER, made under the Fisheries Act, were published in Part II of the Canada Gazette. The PPER set limits for the maximum quantity of biochemical oxygen demand matter, which consumes oxygen dissolved in water, and the maximum quantity of suspended solids that may be deposited from pulp and paper manufacturing operations. They also prohibit the deposit of any effluent that is acutely lethal, as defined in the PPER. All pulp and paper mills are subject to the PPER, as are off-site treatment facilities (OSTFs) in cases where the proportion of pulp and paper mill effluents treated exceeds levels specified in the PPER.

A key element in the PPER is the requirement to conduct EEM studies on a periodic basis. These studies help assess the adequacy of the PPER in protecting fish, fish habitat, and the use of fisheries resources by measuring the potential effects of effluent on fish populations, benthic invertebrate (see footnote 2) communities and fish tissue, respectively. The requirement to conduct EEM was built directly into the PPER to provide a science-based feedback loop to help assess whether national discharge limits for pulp and paper mills are protective of the health of aquatic ecosystems.

Under the PPER, the EER is carried out in three-year cycles. It consists of a biological monitoring study, sublethal toxicity testing of effluent, and supporting environmental measurements. Mills and OSTFs are required to conduct a biological monitoring study once per cycle and test their effluent for sublethal toxicity twice per year, or once per year if they discharge effluent over a period of less than 120 days. The biological monitoring study usually consists of a fish survey, benthic invertebrate community survey, and a fish tissue survey that measures concentrations of dioxins and furans. Sublethal toxicity tests study effects of chemicals or their mixtures on an organism below the threshold that would result in its death. Sublethal toxicity testing is to be conducted according to the applicable methods referred to in the PPER using a fish species, an invertebrate species and an algal species.

While the quality of pulp and paper mill effluent has improved over the years, reviews by Environment Canada of the first three EEM studies have produced a number of key findings. Results of sublethal toxicity testing have demonstrated clear improvements in effluent quality from Cycle 1 to Cycle 2. For the most part, no further improvements were evident in Cycle 3, with effluent from some mills still having the potential to elicit sublethal responses. During both Cycles 2 and 3 at mills demonstrating effects (see footnote 3), fish living in aquatic environments exposed to pulp and paper effluent were generally older, fatter, and had smaller gonads. This is suggestive of nutrient enrichment and metabolic disruption. Studies of benthic invertebrate communities during these cycles were generally indicative of eutrophication (overfertilization of a body of water by nutrients) that ranged from mild to pronounced.

In January 2005, following the third EEM cycle, a multistakeholder group was brought together to work on the Smart Regulation Project on Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Pulp and Paper EEM (see footnote 4). The group included policy experts from government, industry, non-government organizations and Aboriginal groups. Its purpose was to review the key scientific findings and operational experience gained to date through implementation of the EEM requirements. The group members worked collaboratively to develop ways to improve the future effectiveness and efficiency of the studies and to address effects where they were identified in the EEM studies of mills. Their report, entitled Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Pulp and Paper Environmental Effects Monitoring, contained recommendations to Environment Canada and the pulp and paper industry on how to improve EEM. The amendments reflect many of those recommendations.

Amendments

The following highlight the major areas of changes to the PPER that are contained in the amendments.

1. Suspending EEM at mills that have ceased production for an extended period of time

An increasing number of mills have, for a variety of reasons, ceased producing pulp or paper products for an extended period of time. EEM studies conducted at these mills have very limited scientific value in assessing the potential effects of pulp and paper effluents on fish, fish habitat, and the use of fish by humans. Therefore, the amendments exclude mills from having to conduct EEM studies if they have ceased production of pulp or paper products for a period of at least eight consecutive months. If a mill resumes production of pulp and paper products after an eight-month period of non-production, the amendments require an EEM study be conducted within three years after the mill has resumed production.

There could be a concern that with this amendment a mill could cease production periodically in order to avoid having to conduct any EEM studies. This risk is negligible as the costs of conducting EEM studies are very small relative to the costs of ceasing production. Furthermore, even in the unlikely event that this were to occur, it would not change the risk to the environment as a mill’s effluent quality will continue to be monitored daily to ensure it meets the effluent quality limits prescribed in the PPER.

2. Streamlining sublethal toxicity testing

Sublethal toxicity testing provides valuable information on subtle changes in effluent quality. Under the PPER, mills and OSTFs were required to conduct sublethal toxicity tests of their effluent twice per year using a fish species, an invertebrate species and an algal species. This resulted in a total of six tests per year or 18 tests during a three-year cycle.

The amendments streamline the sublethal toxicity testing by removing the requirement to conduct the test using a fish species. This change is made because experience has shown that the current fish species tests are often not responsive to pulp and paper effluent. The amendments now require mills and OSTFs to conduct sublethal toxicity tests of the effluent twice per year using only an invertebrate species and an algal species, as these tests have provided valuable information on the sublethal effects of pulp and paper effluents. As a result of this change, the number of tests needed for sublethal toxicity has been reduced by two per year or six per three-year cycle.

There could be a concern that this amendment could result in a sublethal toxicity response not being identified due to the elimination of the sublethal toxicity tests using a fish species. This risk is very small since, while this test continues to be responsive to other effluents, it is no longer responsive to pulp and paper effluent, even at 100% effluent concentrations. This lack of responsiveness is a result of improvements in effluents quality achieved since the implementation of the PPER. Therefore, even if the tests were retained, they are unlikely to provide valuable information.

3. Frequency of monitoring for each component of the biological monitoring

Under the PPER, biological monitoring must be conducted by a mill or OSTF every three years. Mills and OSTFs were able to reduce monitoring frequency to every six years if there were no statistical differences in the results of every component of the study (fish survey, benthic survey, and fish tissue survey) for two consecutive cycles. However, if effects were demonstrated for at least one component of the three, then the study had to be done for all components within three years, even if no effects were evident for the other two components.

The amendments allow each component of the biological monitoring study to now be assessed individually. Therefore, mills and OSTFs only have to conduct studies every three years for components that actually demonstrate effects. Components showing no effects over two consecutive cycles must be monitored every six years. As a result, EEM monitoring will be focused where effects have been identified and minimized where no effects have been observed.

There may be a concern that this amendment could result in an effect not being identified for the component that is monitored every six years. This risk is very small, as the components that would be monitored every six years have previously demonstrated no effects in two consecutive cycles. Furthermore, effluent from the mills and OSTFs will still be monitored daily, and must continue to meet the effluent quality limits prescribed in the PPER.

4. Exemption from a benthic invertebrate study

Under the PPER, mills and OSTFs were required to conduct a benthic invertebrate survey in all cases as part of the biological monitoring study. However, this may not be practical in cases where there is rapid dilution of the effluent. In these situations, suitable sample sites are difficult to identify since effects are usually limited to small areas. Furthermore, sampling in rapid currents may be hazardous to those conducting the sampling. A provision to account for rapid effluent dilution exists for fish surveys, which are only required if the concentration of the effluent is greater than 1% in the area located within 250 metres of the point of deposit of effluent in water.

The amendments include a similar provision relating to conducting benthic invertebrate studies. Mills and OSTFs will now only conduct a benthic invertebrate survey as part of their biological monitoring if the concentration of the effluent is greater than 1% in the area located within 100 metres of the point of deposit of effluent in water.

There could be a concern that this amendment could result in some effects not being observed due to these mills being exempt from conducting a benthic invertebrate survey. This represents a small risk as effects in these cases of rapid dilution are difficult to identify, and even if present, would be limited to a very small area.

5. Requirements for investigating magnitude and geographical extent

Experience has demonstrated that the EEM requirements in the PPER were not as efficient as they could be in terms of biological monitoring requirements. Under the PPER, if the two most recent interpretive reports of the biological monitoring studies indicated the same effect on the fish population, on fish tissue or on the benthic invertebrate community, the subsequent biological monitoring study must have included a description of one or more additional sampling areas within the exposure area. This was intended to allow the magnitude and geographical extent of the effect to be assessed by the mill or OSTF. However, sufficient information that enabled such an assessment was frequently collected during the EEM studies.

Therefore, the description of the requirements respecting the magnitude and geographical extent of the biological study has been modified under the amendments. Rather than requiring additional sampling, mills and OSTFs that have demonstrated the same effect in two consecutive cycles are now allowed to describe the magnitude and geographical extent of the effect using existing information and then move directly to investigating its cause. This change will help streamline and expedite the EEM studies.

There could be a concern that this amendment could result in the full magnitude and geographical extent of an effect not being determined. Based on operational experience, the information that enables such an assessment is frequently collected during the EEM studies and, as such, does not necessarily require a dedicated cycle to collect. The amendment does not represent a significant risk since mills and OSTFs are still required to provide information on the magnitude and geographical extent of an effect. Therefore, no information will be lost as a result of this amendment.

6. Investigation of solutions

Under the PPER, if the two most recent interpretive reports of the biological monitoring indicate the same effect on the fish population, on fish tissue or on the benthic invertebrate community, steps must be taken by the mill or OSTF to identify the magnitude and geographic extent of the effect as well as its cause. However, once the mill or OSTF determined the cause, there was no requirement in the PPER to investigate possible solutions. The amendments now require mills or OSTFs that have identified the cause of the effect to conduct a study to determine the potential solutions that would eliminate or reduce the effect.

7. Administrative changes

Changes of an administrative nature have been made to update and improve the clarity of the regulatory text. The names of sublethal toxicity test methods have been updated for the invertebrate and algal species under subsections 2(2) and 2(3) of Schedule IV.1 of the PPER. As well, the information required in paragraph 10(a) of schedule IV.1 has been corrected to require the measurement of “sulphides” rather than “total sulphides”. Finally, the titles of the authorization officers identified in Schedule V as well as the prescribed persons for notification and reporting of deposits out of the normal course of events identified in Schedule VI have been updated, as has the definition of authorization officer.

Additional administrative changes to improve clarity and consistency between the English and French text are included to address recommendations made by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. Minor changes have been made to the French version of the regulatory text in subsections 11(1)(a) and 11(1)(d), as well as 38(5)(d) and subsection 4(2) of Schedule VII. In addition, the wording “à partir de l’émissaire d’effluent visé au paragraphe (1)” has been added to subsection 29(3) of the French version.

Alternatives

1. Status quo

Maintaining the status quo has been rejected as a viable option. One of the key purposes of the EEM requirements is to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the PPER and to point to areas where the Regulations can be improved. Evidence from cycles two and three of EEM studies and recommendations by a multistakeholder working group have provided options for improving the EEM requirements under the PPER. Maintaining the status quo would have meant that the advantages of these improvements would not be realized.

2. Amendmentsto the PPER

The amendments have been selected as the best available option. They are based on implementation experience and recommendations from a multistakeholder group of policy experts that were asked by Environment Canada to work collaboratively to develop ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the EEM requirements. The amendments provide added clarity and improve the PPER by increasing the efficiency of EEM studies. Monitoring efforts have been focused where effects have been identified and minimized where no effects have been found.

Benefits and costs

Benefits

The amendments maintain the same stringent requirements governing the quality of pulp and paper mill effluent. Therefore, no incremental environmental benefits are expected. Nevertheless, making the EEM requirements clearer and more streamlined in the amendments will result in reduced monitoring costs for mills and OSTFs. These cost savings are addressed in the section below.

Costs

Impact on mills and off-site treatment facilities

The amendments are anticipated to result in overall cost savings to the pulp and paper industry since they streamline EEM monitoring and reporting requirements under the PPER. No changes are being made to the allowable discharge limits for mills or OSTFs; therefore, no capital investment is expected to be incurred by mills as a result of the coming into force of the amendments. It is anticipated that the amendments will result in negligible cost savings for OSTFs.

The cost savings anticipated to accrue to the industry are described below in Table 1. Most of these savings can be estimated; however, some are very difficult to quantify. The total incremental cost savings that can be quantified for the affected facilities are estimated to be in the order of $727,000 per year in 2006 dollars.

A mill’s operations can vary over time. Between 2003 and 2006, more than 17 mills were closed for at least eight months, and this trend is expected to continue into the medium term. Under the amendments, mills that have ceased production of pulp or paper products for a period of eight consecutive months are now excluded from conducting EEM studies. It is expected that an average of four mills would be impacted each year by the closure exemption in the amendments. Each facility that ceases production is expected to save approximately $108,000 over a three-year cycle by not having to conduct biological monitoring and sublethal toxicity testing (see footnote 5). This averages out to $36,000 per year for each facility; therefore, the total annual cost savings of this amendment for the four facilities is estimated to be $144,000.

The amendments also remove the requirement for each mill to conduct two sublethal toxicity tests per year using a fish species. This is expected to save $3,000 per mill, with 106 mills impacted by these amendments (see footnote 6). Therefore, the total annual cost savings from these amendments are estimated to be $318,000.

Also under the amendments, mills showing no effects in a component of biological monitoring for two consecutive cycles can now monitor that component every six years instead of three. Based on experience implementing the EEM requirements, it is estimated that 25 mills will be impacted by these amendments, with an average of one component per mill only requiring testing every six years. This would result in an estimated average cost saving per mill of $5,000 per year. For all 25 mills, this would produce a total annual cost saving of $125,000.

The amendments also exempt mills from conducting a benthic invertebrate survey in situations where rapid currents quickly dilute the effluent. This will result in an estimated cost saving of $30,000 per mill per three-year cycle. Based on previous experience, 14 mills are expected to be impacted, with average annual cost savings per mill estimated to be $10,000. Therefore, the total annual average cost savings from these amendments are anticipated to amount to $140,000.

Table 1. Summary of Quantifiable Annual Total Cost Savings of the Amendments (in 2006 $)

Amendments

Annual Total
Cost savings

1. Suspending EEM at mills that have ceased production for an extended period of time

$ 144,000

2. Streamlining sublethal toxicity testing

$ 318,000

3. Reduction in the frequency of monitoring for each component of the biological monitoring

$ 125,000

4. Exemption from conducting a benthic invertebrate study

$ 140,000

Total

$ 727,000

The amendments also include changes that will likely have cost implications for approximately 20 to 25 mills. However, these are expected to be relatively small, and they are difficult to quantify. The first change relates to reduced sampling requirements in cases where the magnitude and extent of an effect can be identified through existing information. Quantifying the potential cost savings for the impacted mills in that situation is very difficult, as the incremental sampling needs are site-specific. However, only a few additional samples would typically no longer be needed, and these would usually have been taken at the same time and near the same sites as the samples for the rest of the EEM study. Therefore, the cost savings would be expected to be relatively small.

The other change involves investigating potential solutions for observed effects. Under the amendments, if a mill observes an effect in the two most recent interpretive reports, and its magnitude and extent have been determined and a cause identified, mills will have to investigate possible solutions to eliminate or reduce the effect. The incremental costs, if any, associated with meeting this requirement are difficult to estimate. However, they are expected to be small, as it is anticipated that the same funds currently used for monitoring (or investigating the cause of an effect) can also be used for investigating solutions. Mills must conduct EEM studies on an ongoing basis under the PPER; therefore, once the cause of an effect is determined, that section of the study can be replaced by a section that investigates solutions.

Impact on government

There will likely be incremental reductions in administration and enforcement costs to the federal government as a result of the changes to the EEM requirements. Field verification of sampling may not be required as frequently. There will be fewer reports from mills that have ceased production, and less time will be needed to review reports from mills where no effects on the environment have been found. However, these cost savings are difficult to quantify and are expected to be small.

Present value of cost savings

The present value of the yearly cost savings of $727,000 are presented in the following table. Various discount rates ranging from 2.5%, 5%, and 10% are used. The net present value (NPV) associated with the discount rate of 5% represents the central estimates, while the NPVs associated with 2.5% and 10% represent the lower and upper bounds of the estimated net cost savings for all of the effected mills.

Table 2. Present Value* of Yearly Cost Savings (2006$)

Discount Rate

20 Years

2.5 %

$11,333,000

5 %

$9,060,000

10 %

$6,189,000

* Figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand

Thus over a 20-year period, the amendments are expected to result in net savings of approximately $11.3 million, $9.0 million, and $6.2 million, using discount rates of 2.5%, 5% and 10%, respectively. Both the pulp and paper industry and the federal government are anticipated to benefit from the streamlined EEM requirements under the PPER.

Consultation

In August 2006, Environment Canada consulted with stakeholders on the proposed amendments to the PPER. A consultation document describing the proposed amendments was mailed out to more than 300 stakeholders including provincial governments, the pulp and paper industry, industry associations, Aboriginal groups, and environmental groups. It was also posted on Environment Canada’s “Green Lane” Web site.

Environment Canada received written comments from a limited number of stakeholders. Overall, these groups mainly supported the proposed changes and provided some specific comments on the proposal. In drafting the proposed Amendments that were pre-published in Part I of the Canada Gazette, on November 3, 2007, the department carefully considered the views, comments and concerns expressed in these comments.

Specifically, industry associations and mills requested that the sublethal toxicity testing requirements be removed from the PPER in their entirety. Environment Canada considered these views, but believed it premature to remove the entire sublethal toxicity testing component of the EEM requirements. Sublethal toxicity testing is an important biological tool used for measuring more subtle changes in effluent quality. While sublethal testing using a fish species has not proven to be responsive, tests using an invertebrate species and an algal species continue to provide valuable information. Therefore, Environment Canada maintained its proposal to streamline the sublethal toxicity testing program by removing the requirement to conduct testing using a fish species. However, the proposed amendments continued to require sublethal toxicity testing using an invertebrate species and an algal species.

In another case, a provincial government commented that the proposed amendments may contribute to continued duplication of requirements. Since both the federal and provincial governments have the authority to legislate in the area of environmental protection, there is a potential for the occurrence of differences in regulatory requirements and administrative duplication. While there may be sound reasons why regulations differ between jurisdictions, it is important to try to minimize these in cases where they cause unnecessary duplication.

With this in mind, the three federal pulp and paper regulations (see footnote 7) currently in force were developed by a federal-provincial working group. The group strove to minimize differences in regulatory requirements across the country. In addition, a number of federal-provincial administrative agreements affecting the pulp and paper industry have been negotiated and put in place to streamline the administration of the federal and provincial regulations. These agreements allow the pulp and paper industry to meet certain regulatory requirements by submitting data to only one level of government.

Comments received following pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I

The proposed amendments to the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations were pre-published in Part I of the Canada Gazette on November 3, 2007. An information package on the amendments was mailed out to stakeholders and was also posted on Environment Canada’s “Green Lane” Web site. The pre-publication was followed by a 30-day consultation period, during which stakeholders could provide feedback on the proposed amendments. Through this process, comments were received from industry associations, individual mills and an Aboriginal group. All the comments received during the public review period were considered and taken into account during the development of the final regulatory text.

In general, stakeholders providing comments were supportive of the amendments, which were recognized as being mainly consistent with those from earlier consultations and the 2005 Smart Regulation Report. Some specific comments were similar to those presented during previous consultations described above; however, many of the responses included a request that the amendments be implemented without further delay so that they would apply to the current three-year monitoring cycle, which began in April 2007.

Understanding this request, Environment Canada has moved to have the amendments in effect as quickly as possible to ensure that they apply to the current monitoring cycle.

While stressing the need to move quickly on implementing the amendments, one industry association expressed the importance of ongoing dialogue to continue the process of making the EEM requirements more efficient and effective.

Environment Canada agrees with this view and is committed to ongoing review of the EEM requirements to ensure they continue to provide valuable information.

One mill requested that an exemption from the sublethal toxicity testing requirements be provided for mills where there is rapid dilution of the effluent beyond the lowest test concentrations used in the sublethal toxicity testing. This would be similar to provisions to exempt mills from components of the biological monitoring studies (i.e., fish surveys and benthic invertebrate surveys) in areas where there is rapid dilution of effluent.

Environment Canada has considered this request, but maintains its position that the sublethal toxicity testing be streamlined by only removing tests that are not responsive to pulp and paper effluents. Unlike biological monitoring studies that are based on effluent diluted in field conditions, sublethal toxicity testing is conducted using a direct effluent sample. Therefore, rapid dilution does not compromise the ability to conduct this testing, and Environment Canada believes that the sublethal toxicity tests continue to be an important measure of subtle changes in effluent quality, even in situations where field conditions dilute the effluent beyond the concentrations used in laboratory experiments. Therefore, no change has been made to the application of sublethal toxicity testing at mills with rapid dilution.

Compliance and enforcement

Following the publication of the amendments in Part II of the Canada Gazette, information packages will be distributed to stakeholders to inform them of the final amendments to ensure that the new requirements are well understood. This will help promote compliance.

The amendments will not alter the manner in which the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations are enforced; nor will they alter the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for the Habitat Protection and Pollution Prevention Provisions of the Fisheries Act.

However, since the PPER are made under the Fisheries Act, Environment Canada fishery inspectors and fishery officers will, when verifying compliance with the PPER, apply the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for the Habitat Protection and Pollution Prevention Provisions of the Fisheries Act. This Policy, jointly published in November 2001 by Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, sets out the range of possible responses to violations, including warnings, directions by a fishery inspector, ministerial orders, injunctions and prosecution. In addition, the Policy explains when the government will resort to civil suits by the Crown for costs recovery.

When, following an inspection or an investigation, a fishery inspector or fishery officer discovers an alleged violation, the inspector/officer will choose the appropriate enforcement action based on the following factors:

  • the seriousness of the damage or potential damage to fish habitat, the fishery resource, or the risks associated with the human use of fish;
  • the intent of the alleged violator;
  • whether it is a repeated occurrence; and
  • whether there were attempts by the alleged violator to conceal information or otherwise circumvent the objectives and requirements of the habitat protection and pollution prevention provisions.

Contacts

Greg Kaminski
Environmental Effects Monitoring
Science Assessment and Integration Division
Environment Canada
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3
Telephone: 819-934-5562
Fax: 819-953-0461
Email: Greg.Kaminski@ec.gc.ca

Markes Cormier
Regulatory Analysis and Instrument Choice Division
Environment Canada
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3
Telephone: 819-953-5236
Fax: 819-997-2769
Email: Markes.Cormier@ec.gc.ca

Footnote a
 R.S., c. F-14

Footnote 1
 SOR/92-269

Footnote 2
Benthic invertebrates are organisms without backbones that live on the bottom of a water body or in the sediment such as aquatic worms or insect larvae. Measures of the benthic invertebrate communities, such as the abundance, diversity, and species composition, can be used as indicators of changing environmental conditions.

Footnote 3
Effect means a statistical difference between fish or benthic invertebrate data from a study conducted in an area exposed to pulp and paper effluent and an area not exposed to pulp and paper effluent.

Footnote 4
Environment Canada. 2005. Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Pulp and Paper Environmental Effects Monitoring: A Smart Regulation Opportunity. Ottawa, ON. (http://www.ec.gc.ca/eem/pdf_publications/english/EEM_Smart_ Regulation.pdf)

Footnote 5
Biological monitoring costs are assumed to be $30,000 per each component (fish, fish tissue and benthic), while sublethal toxicity tests are assumed to cost $1,500 for fish and $750 each for algal and invertebrates.

Footnote 6
There are currently 110 mills and OSTFs; however, cost savings for sublethal fish testing at four facilities are already accounted for under the estimate of savings from ceased production.

Footnote 7
The three federal regulations are: i) the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations made under the Fisheries Act, ii) the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furan Regulations made under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), and iii) the Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations made under CEPA 1999.