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Wood Preservation: Pollution Prevention Planning Consultation - Response To Comments

Response to Comments on the Proposed Notice Requiring the Preparation and Implementation of Pollution Prevention Plans in Respect of Inorganic Arsenic Compounds, Hexavalent Chromium Compounds, Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins, Polychlorinated Dibenzofurans and/or Hexachlorobenzene used by Wood Preservation Facilities.

The Minister of the Environment published a Proposed Notice Requiring the preparation and implementation of pollution prevention plans in respect of inorganic arsenic compounds, hexavalent chromium compounds, polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans and/or hexachlorobenzene used by wood preservation facilities in Part I of the Canada Gazette on May 14, 2005, as per section 56 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999).

Stakeholders had 60 days to provide comments on the Proposed Notice. Written comments, questions and concerns on the Proposed Notice were received from a variety of stakeholders including members of the industry, concerned public, and government.

All comments received during this 60-day comment period have been considered in the preparation of the Final Notice requiring the preparation and implementation of P2 plans. Under section 92 of CEPA 1999, publication of the Final Notice must be within 18 months of the publication of the Proposed Notice, or no later than November 14, 2006.

Comment #1: The contact phone number for the Pacific & Yukon Region is incorrect.

The contact phone number has been changed.

Comment #2: There was a concern regarding the naming of a specific facility due to a belief that the facility was meeting the requirements of the voluntary program.

From the onset of the voluntary Strategic Options Process program in 2000, all wood preservation facilities were made aware of the deadlines associated with the program. They were also informed that failure to meet the voluntary guidelines could result in regulatory action being taken (in this case, in the form of a P2 Notice). Being named to the P2 Notice is to ensure that all facilities meet the December 31, 2005 deadline. In order to maintain consistency, the deadlines for both the voluntary program and the P2 Notice are the same.

Comment #3: There was a concern raised regarding worker health when using hexavalent chromium compounds (within the electroplating industry).

This P2 Notice is applicable to the Wood Preservation Sector (specifically Wood Treatment Facilities). Within the Best Management Practices (BMPs) set out for the industry, there are provisions for protecting human health and safety when dealing with these chemicals.

Comment #4: The Risk Management Objective (RMO) from Section 4 of the P2 Notice is over defined, allowing no flexibility.

The RMO may appear over defined, however the Notice states "by the application of or by achieving equivalence with...". The inclusion of this wording allows significant flexibility within the general principles outlined in the cited "Recommendations for the design and operation of wood preservation facilities, 2004" and the supporting document, "Technical Guidelines for the Design and Operation of Wood Preservation Facilities, 2004" (herein referred to as the guidelines). Throughout the voluntary implementation program process, participating facilities have developed unique solutions to specific issues within their individual facilities.

Comment #5: Concern with the phrase "Amended from time to time".

The guidelines were last updated in 2004, and no updates are expected for several years. All updates were done with significant stakeholder input, as would be the case with any future changes.

Comment #6: It is not appropriate to use the implementation of a Consultant's Report for the P2 Plan.

The wood preservation sector is a narrow, targeted audience, and as such is unique. A baseline assessment of all wood treatment facilities was carried out by a consultant. These confidential reports identified specific deficiencies within each facility. These reports are meant to be used as a basis towards development of an individual pollution prevention plan.

Comment #7: Correction of deficiencies should include economic and technical considerations.

The guidelines do not specify technical solutions to deficiencies. As such, there is much flexibility for facilities to meet the intent of the guidelines through economic and technically feasible methods.

Comment #8: There is inadequate time to complete the P2 Planning Notice.

From the onset of the program to implement these guidelines beginning in 2000, industry has been informed that non-participation in the voluntary implementation of the guidelines would result in the application of other tools within CEPA 1999 such as a Pollution Prevention Planning Notice. The deadline of Dec. 31, 2005 has been emphasized from the initial information sessions held in 2000 and was reinforced on a yearly basis through regular correspondence with all wood treatment facilities. As such, the facilities being named have been aware of this deadline since early in 2000. It is important to maintain this same deadline for this P2 Notice so that those facilities voluntarily implementing the guidelines are not placed at a competitive disadvantage.

Comment #9: This application deviates from the original intent of P2 Planning.

The companies subject to this Notice still retain the flexibility to determine how best to achieve the standards set out in the guidelines. This allows the companies to choose which methods are both environmentally preferable and economically feasible, on an individual basis. In addition, CEPA 1999 encourages the innovative use of a combination of instruments, either voluntary or regulatory in nature, in order to achieve the best possible results with respect to the environmental performance and protection. This application of the P2 planning process was determined to be appropriate for the wood preservation sector, and would not be adopted across other sectors without considerable consultation

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