It’s been almost two years since the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) finalized regulation requiring facilities with air, noise, and odour emissions to register with the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). This regulation, entitled Ontario Regulation (O. Reg.) 1/17 of the Environmental Protection Act, dated January 2017, applies to all Ontario facilities not explicitly excluded in the regulation. These excluded facilities, which are regulated elsewhere, are listed in Tables 1 and 2 below.
Though it has been two years, there is still a lot of uncertainty by the regulated community with respect to applicability and “what to do.”
What is an EASR?
According to the MECP’s document entitled Air Emissions User Guide – Environmental Activity and Sector Registry, dated January 2017, the EASR replaces the Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) for those industries that represent low-risk for air, noise, and odour emissions. Facilities currently operating under existing ECAs are required to register with the EASR before “… making any modifications at the facility that would require an amendment to the existing approval, or by January 31, 2027, whichever comes first.”
Based on recent client discussions, it seems that many in the regulated community are still unaware of the regulation, let alone that it might be applicable to their facilities. The short answer to the question “Does it apply to my facility?” is: If your facility has any sort of air, noise, or odour emissions, you need to complete this registration, unless you operate a facility described in Tables 1 and 2 below.”
With the O. Reg. 1/17 launch, the EASR online self-registration system opened with intent towards allowing facility owners to register quickly by answering specific questions about their facility’s activities and by paying a one-time registration fee, while simultaneously reducing red tape. The registration requires that all sources of air, noise, and odour emissions be assessed and that a licensed engineer (P.Eng.) sign and seal the information provided. Facility owners are then required to “attest” to the information provided to finalize the registration process.
Registration Process is “Clunky”
My personal experience with the EASR online-registration process is that it’s an awkward one driven, in large part, by a sluggish website that isn’t necessarily intuitive to the user. There are also some parts of the registration that must be completed by the facility owner before progressing to the next step, which leads back and forth between the licensed engineer hired to complete the registration and the facility owner. The registration is such that a question must be answered, usually by choosing an applicable response from a drop-down menu, before the next question is shown. This acts like a flow chart by moving the user through the process one question at a time.
What kind of documents do I need to prepare?
The EASR registration process requires a number of components which are outlined below. In general, separate assessments and reports must be completed for air, noise, odour emissions, and fugitive dust, if applicable.
- EASR Emission Summary and Dispersion Modelling (ESDM) report
- EASR ESDM report supplement
- Noise Report
- Noise Abatement Plan, if applicable
- Odour Screening Report
- Best Management Practices Plan (BMPP), if applicable
- Odour Control Report, if applicable
- Fugitive Dust
- BMPP for fugitive dust control
- Other Activity
- Combustion equipment statements, if applicable
Information from these reports is entered into the EASR through a series of questions. Tables also required include an Emissions Summary Table and an Acoustic Summary Table. The MECP provides guidance documents on preparing the ESDM report and supplement, as well as forms for noise and odour that automatically determine subsequent requirements, as applicable. While these reports, themselves, are not uploaded to the EASR website as part of the registration process, the regulation requires that they be kept on site with the facility in case of inspection for at least 20 years from the date of signing. New reports must also be prepared once every 10 years, at a minimum.
Help with Your EASR
Although the process is “involved,” preparation of these reports and self-registration with EASR result in significantly-reduced approval times. If you have any questions about your facility’s registration requirements or other environmental issues, please feel free to contact Dragun’s senior environmental engineer, Dr. Khaled Chekiri, P. Eng., or me at 519-979-7300.
Table 1. Excluded Facilities by NAICS Code
Table 2. Excluded Facilities by Activity