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Inorganic Chloramines and Chlorinated Wastewater Effluents
Performance Report: Pollution Prevention Planning for Chlorine in Wastewater Effluents
Performance Report: Pollution Prevention Planning for Chlorine in Wastewater Effluents (PDF; 68 KB)
Pollution Prevention (P2) Planning is a process by which organizations can improve their environmental protection by strategically planning to reduce or eliminate pollution before it is created.
Last Updated: July 2012
Those subject to the P2 Planning Notice for inorganic chloramines and chlorinated wastewater effluents have prepared and implemented their P2 plans.
This report summarizes the information in the Declarations of Implementation that were received.
Inorganic chloramines and chlorinated wastewater effluents were found to be toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). This P2 Planning Notice (Notice) was selected as the instrument to respond to the requirements of CEPA 1999 for these toxic substances, with the recognition that these substances would be further addressed as part of a harmonized national approach to wastewater management.
The objective of this Notice is to achieve reductions in releases of chlorine in wastewater effluents. Results indicate that 80% of the facilities met the risk management objective of the Notice and releases of chlorine in wastewater effluents were effectively reduced by 85% using P2 techniques. The most popular P2 actions taken by the facilities involved process modifications which included the use of dechlorination and ultraviolet disinfection.
Pollution Prevention Planning Notice Requirements
In December 2004, Environment Canada published a P2 Planning Notice in the Canada Gazette. The persons subject to this Notice are owners or operators of wastewater systems that in either 2004 or 2005 discharged, to surface waters, 5 000 cubic metres per day or more of effluent with a total residual chlorine (TRC) concentration of greater than 0.02 mg/L. 85 wastewater systems in Canada met these criteria and were required to prepare and implement a P2 plan that takes into consideration reducing their TRC concentrations to 0.02mg/L or lower by December 15, 2009. Owners of wastewater systems, i.e. municipalities, were required to submit information to the federal Minister of Environment once their P2 plan was prepared and again once they had fully implemented the activities outlined in their P2 plan. These submissions are made available to the public and the information presented in this document is derived from these submissions.
Information Reported for the Notice
The Minister of Environment has received Declaration of Implementation submissions from 69 facilities that declared they have fully implemented their P2 Plan, while an additional 2 facilities have been granted time extensions to implement their plans for which the deadlines have not yet passed. The remaining 14 facilities have not submitted their Declarations of Implementation.
Methods Used to Meet Objectives of the Notice
There are several alternative technologies available to disinfect treated wastewater effluents while effectively protecting the environment and human health. The P2 Planning Notice allows owners of wastewater systems some flexibility to choose the disinfection technology that best suits their facility in order to meet the risk management objective of the Notice which is to reduce the concentration of total residual chlorine (TRC) to 0.02 mg/L.
Submissions to the Minister of Environment indicate that ultraviolet irradiation and dechlorination are the two main alternative technologies of choice. The following table summarizes the number of facilities that reported using such alternative methods to meet the risk management objective of the Notice.
Wastewater systems reported one or more pollution prevention methods to address the factors to consider under the Notice. Of those systems that declared they have fully implemented their P2 Plans, 99% reported equipment or process modifications, 10% reported good operating practices or training, and 1% reported spill and leak prevention methods.
Overall Achievements of the Notice
To date, 80% of wastewater systems met the risk management objective of the Notice; that is, they implemented P2 plans that considered actions to achieve and maintain a concentration of TRC that is less than or equal to 0.02 mg/L in the effluent released to surface water. Based on information reported in the Declaration of Implementation submissions, the concentration of TRC discharges have been reduced by 85% compared to the 95% anticipated reduction reported in the Declaration of Preparation submissions.
Chart 1: Reductions in Total Residual Chlorine (TRC) Discharges – Description
Chart 1 is a vertical bar graph illustrating the reductions in Total Residual Chlorine (TRC) discharges to surface water. The vertical axis represents the TRC concentration in mg/L and the horizontal axis represents the comparison between two groups of data results; data submitted for the preparation year versus the data submitted for the implementation year. For the Preparation Year, average TRC concentration reported is 1.33 and for the Implementation Year, average TRC concentration reported is 0.21 mg/L. This represents an 85% average reduction in concentration of TRC discharged to surface water from the Preparation Year to the Implementation year for those who implemented their Pollution Prevention Plans.
Chart 1 illustrates the reduction in the concentration of TRC discharged to surface water in the Preparation Year and results achieved in the Implementation Year for those who implemented their P2 Plans.
In some cases, facilities implemented P2 plans that exceeded the requirements of the Notice. For example, 33% of systems that implemented their P2 plan reported a 100% reduction in TRC by upgrading their disinfection process to ultraviolet irradiation. Furthermore, in some cases, the scope of anticipated and completed actions in the P2 plans go beyond requirements to address “chlorine” and covered water/ energy waste, and source control actions for other substances found to be toxic under CEPA 1999 such as mercury and nonylphenol and its ethoxylates.
Looking Ahead: Environment Canada’s Proposed Regulatory Framework for Wastewater
On July 18th, 2012, the Government of Canada published the final Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations in Canada Gazette, Part II. Establishing the Regulations is the Government of Canada’s action to implement an agreement reached through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) in 2009. These Regulations include the country’s first national standards for wastewater treatment. They propose clear standards for wastewater treatment and take a step towards managing overflows from combined sewers.
Chlorine in Wastewater Effluent: what is it and why reduce it?
Over the past century, the use of chlorine has become a common method used to disinfect wastewater effluents. Chlorine is a powerful disinfectant and is easy to use. In Canada, there are approximately 400 wastewater treatment systems that use chlorine and discharge wastewater effluents to surface waters such as rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Total discharges are estimated to be approximately 6 million cubic meters/day.
Following detailed scientific assessments, inorganic chloramines and chlorinated wastewater effluents were found to be toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. These scientific assessments demonstrated that either substance may enter the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity; or they may constitute a danger to the environment on which life depends.
P2 Planning was selected to address inorganic chloramines and chlorinated wastewater effluents as it allows facilities to choose an alternative disinfection technology that best suits their needs in order to meet the Risk Management Objective.
- Information on P2 Planning Notice for Inorganic Chloramines and Chlorinated Wastewater Effluents
- Pollution Prevention Planning Online Reporting Tool and Database
- Environment Canada's website on wastewater
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