Environmental Emergency Regulations and Upcoming Final Regulations

Posted by on Apr 15, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

In August 2019, the updated Environmental Emergency (E2 Regulations) will officially repeal and replace the existing Environmental Emergency Regulations.  What exactly does this mean and how can you prepare now for updated E2 Regulations?  We provide some details below.

As we stated in October 2016, the E2 Regulations are, in principle, based on, and in response to, the 1984 disaster in Bhopal, India.  That 1984 incident released 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 11,000 people.

The aftermath of 1984 Bhopal India disaster.  The accident released methyl isocyanate gas, resulting in thousands of deaths.

Environmental Emergency Regulations

The E2 Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette on March 6, 2019.  Under the E2 Regulations, facilities storing or using any of the regulated substances under Schedule 1 above the specific thresholds, or who have a container with a capacity for substances in excess of the specified quantity, will have to notify Environment Canada.  The notification must include the place where the substance is held and the maximum expected quantity and size of the largest container for that substance.

The updated E2 regulations are supposed to “clarify and strengthen requirements for emergency planning and public notification before, during and after an environmental emergency.”

The new E2 Regulations incorporate 249 substances (the amendments added 33 hazardous substances to Schedule 1) that fall under 6 hazard categories covered under the final regulations:

  • Aquatically toxic
  • Combustible
  • Explosion hazard
  • Pool fire hazard (fire burning above a horizontal pool of vaporising hydrocarbon fuel)
  • Inhalation hazard
  • Oxidizer

Who is Affected?

It has been estimated that as many as 3,000 facilities across Canada will be required to prepare and implement an E2 Plan.

In addition to developing and implementing the E2 Plan, there are requirements for an annual simulation exercise and a full-scale simulation exercise every 5 years.

Those that have substances in Schedule 1 at or above specified thresholds, are required to provide facility and substance information.  As stated in Environmental Science and Engineering Magazine, “If the thresholds for both the quantity and the container capacity are met, regulated parties are also required to either develop an environmental emergency plan or amend an existing plan to account for the new regulatory requirements, and bring into effect and exercise the plan.”

Each E2 plan must be developed specific to each site and must address a wide range of potential hazards to the site.  The E2 plan includes prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.  The plan must also include emergency training.

There are exclusions, including substances contained within pipelines, which are otherwise regulated (e.g., National Energy Board Onshore Pipeline Regulations).  More details are found in the Canada Gazette.

What Should You Do?

If the E2 Regulations don’t apply to your company, it may be wise to document why they don’t apply.  If they do apply, stay ahead of the reporting deadline, and make sure you implement your plan.  Dragun can help you as you evaluate and, if necessary, implement your E2 Plans.

If you have questions or require assistance, you can reach me at 519-979-7300, Ext. 114.