Regulation - LGIC

New regulation to help reduce sulphur dioxide emissions from Ontario petroleum facilities

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Environmental Protection Act
Summary of Proposal:
On July 1, 2018, the Local Air Quality Regulation (Ontario Regulation 419/05) was amended to require facilities in the petroleum sector to model discharges of sulphur dioxide under flaring conditions.

An upper risk threshold for sulphur dioxide was also introduced as part of these regulatory amendments. An upper risk threshold is used to:
•manage the risks associated with a contaminant while an air standard is being phased in
•inform approvals decisions after the air standard takes effect
Facilities are required to:
•notify the ministry if an upper risk threshold is exceeded&
•develop plans to reduce their emissions

As part of the 2018 regulatory amendments, the air standard for sulphur dioxide was updated to 100 micrograms per cubic metre of air (ug/m3) over a one-hour averaging period. The new standard will come into force on July 1, 2023.

The Local Air Quality Regulation has three compliance pathways. A facility can meet the air standard, request and meet a site-specific standard, or register to and comply with a technical standard, if one exists.

The site-specific standard and technical standard pathways recognize that certain facilities or sectors may have technological challenges in meeting the air standard. Technical standards and site-specific standards allow facilities to continually improve over time to reduce emissions as much as possible using technology and best management practices.

For petroleum facilities that discharge sulphur dioxide, it is anticipated that site-specific or technical standards will be required.

These standards take time to develop. In order to support more immediate action, we are proposing a regulation that would improve management of flaring events and greater accountability through reporting, enhanced monitoring and the introduction of environmental penalties.

Under the proposed regulation, petroleum facilities in Ontario would now be required to:
•calculate sulphur dioxide emissions from flaring incidents and, within two to four years, install continuous in-stack monitoring equipment;
•report sulphur dioxide flaring incidents;
•submit reports to the ministry that analyze the root cause of flaring incidents and set out corrective and preventive actions to be taken;
•submit plans to the ministry for reducing emissions of sulphur dioxide and flaring incidents at the facility within one year;
•engage the local community about sulphur dioxide emissions and plans to address the emissions;

These actions align with similar requirements in other jurisdictions, such as the U.S.
The proposed regulation would also tailor requirements to the specific operations of individual petroleum facilities based on site-specific circumstances.

As part of the proposed regulation, we will require facilities to provide calculated emissions information on a periodic basis for normal operations and after each flaring incident. Based on these emissions calculations, we may issue an environmental penalty where a specified emission threshold is exceeded.

Until July 1, 2023, when the facilities are complying with the new requirements, it is proposed that the flare modeling and upper risk threshold provisions of the Local Air Quality Regulation (Ontario Regulation 419/05) will not apply.

All other provisions of the regulation, including the ability to require incident-specific modelling, will continue to apply.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The analysis of regulatory impact is currently under development and will be informed by the consultation process.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
November 16, 2018
Comments Due Date:
December 15, 2018