Part F: Special cases

Part F of this guide discusses how you get approval in the following non-standard cases:

  • approval through the Transfer of Review program
  • approvals subject to ministry approval of final plans and specifications
  • municipal waste pilot projects

Transfer of Review for sewage works

The transfer of review program for municipal sewage works has been discontinued due to the implementation of the Municipal Consolidated Linear Infrastructure (CLI) Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECAs) program. For more information visit Municipal Consolidated Linear Infrastructure Environmental Compliance Approvals.

Approvals in principle subject to final plans and specifications (sewage works)

In some circumstances you can ask the Director to issue an approval in principle for works whose detailed engineering design has not been finalized, provided the design has advanced to the stage where all significant technical decisions having a potential to affect performance and/or environmental impact of the works have been made.

An approval in principle will include a special condition prohibiting construction of any part of the project until the director has:

  • received detailed engineering design drawings, specifications and a final engineering design report containing detailed design calculations for that part of the works, and
  • approved, in writing, the plans.

The ministry will only consider requests for approvals in principle subject to final plans and specifications (also referred to as staged approvals) where you have included with your ECA application, adequate written justification for the proposed course of action. The ministry highly recommends that if you intend to take this route, you discuss the issue in pre-submission consultation with the ministry.

A request for an approval in principle will be considered if the entity financing or approving the financing of the project (for example, the Ontario Municipal Board) requires the applicant to provide proof of the ministry’s acceptance of the proposal before they agree to release funds for the undertaking of the detailed engineering design.

Similarly, the Director may issue an approval in principle (subject to the director’s separate approval of the final engineering design for the proposed works, or its part) for a large project with agreed upon phased implementation of its various components, or a design-build project, such as a project intended to be implemented through a single contract between the applicant and a contractor who would both design and construct the works.

In the ministry’s experience, the submitted final design often introduces significant changes to the preliminary design approved in principle, which then requires in-depth reanalysis of the entire proposal. Such reanalysis usually significantly increases the total time the ministry has to spend reviewing the proposal.

Pilot projects

If you are applying for an approval regarding a municipal waste or sewage works pilot project you must engage in pre-submission consultation with the ministry.

Further, the criteria for defining a municipal waste pilot project site and the regulatory requirements pertaining to ECAs for such a site can be found in Ontario Regulation 347 R.R.O. 1990 section 5.0.1. These regulatory requirements are in addition to the approval requirements and are based on the proposed processes and the types of waste to be managed at the site.

Acronyms

AAR
Acoustic Assessment Report
C(s) of A
Certificate(s) of Approval
CO
Carbon Monoxide
CSA
Canadian Standards Association
CSO
Combined Sewage Overflow
EA
Environmental Assessment
EAA
Environmental Assessment Act
EASR
Environmental Activity and Sector Registry
EBR
Environmental Bill of Rights
ECA
Environmental Compliance Approval
EPA
Environmental Protection Act
ESDM
Emission Summary and Dispersion Modelling
ESP
Environmental Screening Process
FIPPA
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
FOI
Freedom of Information
GLC
Ground Level Concentration
GLUMRB
Great Lakes-Upper Mississippi River Board
HVAC
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
IC&I
Industrial, Commercial and Institutional
JSL
Jurisdictional Screening Level
LOF
Limited Operational Flexibility
MCL
Maximum Concentration Level
MDWP&L
Municipal Drinking Water Permit and License
MEA
Municipal Engineers Association
MFIPPA
Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990
MISA
Municipal/Industrial Strategy for Abatement
MOECC
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
NAAP
Noise Abatement Action Plan
NAICS
North American Industry Classification System
NASM
Non-Agricultural Source Materials
NCM
Noise Control Measure
NEPDA
Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act
NETE
New Environmental Technology Evaluation
NMA
Nutrient Management Act, 2002
NOx
Nitrogen Oxides
NPC
Noise Pollution Control
OIA
Odour Impact Assessment
OMAFRA
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
O. Reg.
Ontario Regulation
ORMCP
Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan
OWRA
Ontario Water Resources Act
P&IDs
Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams
PCB
polychlorinated biphenyl
PFD
Process Flow Diagram
PNS
Primary Noise Screening
PIBS
Public Information Banking System
POI
Point of Impingement
POR
Point of Reception
PPD
Plan and Profile Drawing
s.
section (reference to a section of a regulation or legislation)
SBR
sequential batch reactors
SCADA
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition
SCFM
standard cubic feet per minute
SDWA
Safe Drinking Water Act
SNS
Secondary Noise Screening
SO2
Sulphur Dioxide
subss.
sub sections (reference to sub sections of a regulation or legislation)
TDH
Total Dynamic Head
TMA
Tailings Management Area
TSP
Total Suspended Particulate
URT
Upper Risk Threshold
UV
Ultraviolet
UTM
Universal Transverse Mercator
VOC
Volatile Organic Compound
WDF
Waste Derived Fuels
WMS
Waste Management System

Appendix 1: Pre-submission meeting considerations checklist

This checklist provides questions to consider to help you determine whether you should seek a meeting with the ministry before submitting your application for an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA).

Answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to each question. Please note that answering ‘Yes’ to one or more questions does not necessarily mean you need to plan a pre-submission meeting with the ministry as the issue may have been previously addressed.

However, if you answered ‘Yes’ to a number of the questions and you have not taken any other steps to address the issues that may potentially delay the ministry’s review of your ECA application – or you do not know how to address the issues raised by the questions – you may find it useful to have a pre-submission meeting with the ministry.

If you determine that a pre-submission meeting is recommended, the type of ECA project you are proposing will determine which ministry office to contact – either:

  • the Client Services and Permissions Branch (CSPB)
  • the local district office where your project is located

Contact the Client Services and Permissions Branch (CSPB) for a pre-submission meeting for:

  • High profile, priority, or major projects with significant public or municipal interest
  • New technology
  • System-wide or multi-site requirements
  • Projects to address compliance issues
  • First Nations or Métis community impacts or interests

You can contact the Client Services and Permissions Branch by:

Contact the local district office for a pre-submission meeting for projects with:

  • Hydrogeological or surface water reports, or effluent criteria required
  • Waste management and/or waste disposal sites

Use the online MECP district locator to find your local district office.

Issues of public interest

If there are issues related to a proposal that are of interest to the public, there could be a need for public consultation, for example, including but not limited to:

  • Notice of Proposal under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR)
  • Director’s decision to require such consultation
  • if a third-party appeals the Director’s decision

Planning for public consultation prior to the submission of an ECA application can reduce delays that can result if public concerns issues are not addressed early in the process. A pre-submission meeting with the ministry may be helpful in terms of determining the need for public consultation and the methods of consultation. It is recommended that you bring this completed checklist to your pre-submission meeting.

  1. Do you hold an approval related to this project, or for a similar project, that was subject to a public hearing? (Yes / No)

    Appeals, other reviews, or heightened interest from third parties in the past may mean that there is sustained interest in such projects, or in your activity, that may cause delays during the EBR comment period of the review.

  2. Do you hold an approval related to this project, or for a similar project, that was the subject of a significant amount of Environmental Registry comments in the past? (Yes / No)

    To find out about past comments you can consult the Environmental Registry. The decision notice provided on the Environmental Registry will include a review of comments received. These notices are kept on the Environmental Registry and can be searched by key word, such as the title of the original EBR posting.

  3. Are you aware of any complaints (either made directly to you or to the ministry) about your activities? (Yes / No)

    The types of interest can range from inquiries from the local community to actual environmental and/or health and safety complaints. You should consider whether the interest represents on-going, acute, and/or widespread concern.

  4. Are you aware of operations in Ontario that are similar to those you are proposing – if so, were public concerns about those operations raised? (Yes / No)

    If there are, or were, similar operations in Ontario that were the subject of public concern, you may find your current application also of interest to the public.

  5. Would the public be concerned about any of the environmental impacts from your proposal? (Yes / No)

    Aspects of projects that are likely to cause public concern include:

    • visible or highly noticeable emissions like noise, odour, visible particulates
    • emissions that are considered contentious, for example, toxic chemicals, benzene
    • discharges into water bodies, depending on the use and state of the water body
    • proximity to the nearest neighbours, especially in an area of mixed zoning that includes residential
  6. Is your project close to environmentally sensitive areas? (Yes / No)

    Keep in mind that the environmental sensitivity may depend on your project and the specific emissions. Some examples of environmentally sensitive areas are: the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Niagara Escarpment, and Lake Simcoe. You also need to consider the protection of local wetlands, forested areas and the sources of our drinking water.

    In cases where projects are close to environmentally sensitive areas, environmental issues may take on added significance and mitigation may be needed at numerous stages of project planning, design, and execution. A pre-submission meeting with the ministry may be useful to help you mitigate potential issues.

First Nations and Métis community interest

The Crown has a duty to consult Aboriginal communities when it has knowledge of an established or credibly asserted Aboriginal or treaty right and contemplates conduct that may adversely impact that right. Impacts resulting from the issuance of an ECA could require consultation with First Nation or Métis communities. When the Crown has a duty to consult it may delegate certain procedural aspects of consultation to third parties, but retains ultimate responsibility for ensuring the duty to consult is fulfilled. There are also times when engagement with First Nation or Métis communities is recommended on an interest basis.

The following questions will help you assess if your project may impact or be of interest to First Nations or Métis communities .This will help you determine if a pre-submission meeting with the ministry is warranted. These questions must also be answered as part of the ECA application to help the ministry assess if consultation is required. A pre-submission meeting with the ministry will give you and the ministry an early opportunity to identify consultation requirements and opportunities, and review the roles and responsibilities for all parties.

Planning for consultation well in advance can reduce delays associated with:

  • Ensuring the Crown’s duty to consult is fulfilled
  • Notice of Proposal under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR)
  • a Director’s decision to require such consultation
  • third-party appeals of the Director’s decision
  1. Is the proposed project/activity on Crown land or does/would it alter access to Crown land? (Yes / No)
  2. Is the proposed project/activity in an open or forested area where hunting, trapping or plant gathering could occur? (Yes / No)
  3. Does the proposed project/activity involve the clearing of forested land? (Yes / No)
  4. Could the proposed project/activity impact a water body (such as, direct discharge) or alter access to a water body? (Yes / No)
  5. Could the proposed project/activity impact cultural heritage or archaeological resources, or access to them? (Yes / No)
  6. Is the proposed project/activity adjacent or close to a First Nation Reserve? (Yes / No)
  7. Is the applicant aware of any concerns from Indigenous communities about this proposed project/activity? (Yes / No)
  8. Were there conditions placed, or direction provided, in another (or previous) permit or approval for consultation in relation to this project/activity? (Yes / No)
  9. Based on this Guide, or direction provided by the ministry or another agency, are Indigenous consultation activities likely required as part of this application process? (Yes / No)

If consultation with First Nations or Métis communities in respect of your project was undertaken as a part of the Environmental Assessment (EA) process, there may not be a need to seek further guidance from the ministry on consultation. However, where significant or outstanding concerns were raised through consultation, significant time has passed since the prior consultation and/or new information suggests potential impacts to Aboriginal or treaty rights not previously addressed, a pre-submission meeting with the ministry is recommended. The ministry expects, where prior, relevant consultation (such as through an EA process) has occurred, applicants include this Record of Consultation with their ECA application.

Compliance issues

In deciding whether to grant an ECA, the ministry considers whether the applicant has open or unresolved non-compliance issues, or a history of non-compliance. To eliminate possible delays in the review of your ECA application, compliance issues should be identified and addressed during the early phases of the approvals process.

  1. Are there any non-compliance issues identified by the ministry that you have not resolved? (Yes / No)

    Non-compliance issues will be taken into account in the review and should be addressed prior to the application rather than at the review stage. These issues may have been identified in violation notices, compliance letters, orders, tickets, environmental penalties, administrative penalties, etc.

    While the following are non-compliance issues and would be examined in the review process, they are of lesser concern because you would have already spoken to the ministry about this:

    • Abatement projects – the applicant may be non-compliant, but is already working with the district to come into compliance (note that these may already have stakeholder issues).
    • Orders to obtain or apply for an approval – this information will be collected in the application form.

Technical project issues (including new and unique issues not currently covered by ministry guidance or policy)

Though it is your responsibility to review and understand the approval process and published guidance, new issues, technologies, or projects are being developed all the time that may not be covered under the available guidance. Also, the application may not be flexible enough to accommodate unusual scenarios. In such cases it is important for you to inform the ministry as early as possible so that a collaborative approach can be taken.

  1. Does your project use innovative, new technology or processes? (Yes / No)

    Characteristics of new technology may not fit easily into the data requirements of known technologies. In such cases it may be necessary to contact the ministry before applying.

  2. Is your project type covered by ministry published guidance? (Yes / No)

    While the ministry offers a large number of online resources at Ontario.ca to help you prepare your application for an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA), in some cases the available guidance may be insufficient and compliance requirements are not clear. In such cases it may be necessary to contact the ministry before applying.

  3. Are you a municipal sewage works seeking approval with only preliminary drawings? (Yes / No)

    The ministry has allowed for such a process but, given the preliminary nature, it may be necessary to contact the ministry regarding the feasibility of such an approval.

  4. Are you applying for an ECA for sewage works or waste disposal site with Operational Flexibility? (Yes / No)

    Refer to Part D for additional information about ECAs with operational flexibility.

  5. Does your project require hydrogeological and surface water reports and/or effluent criteria? (Yes/No)

    If your proposed activity discharges effluents to groundwater or to a surface water body, consultation with ministry district and regional staff is advised. It is your responsibility to determine if groundwater, surface water, effluent criteria assessments need to be addressed.

  6. Are you are applying for a system-wide or multi-site ECA? (Yes/No)

    For example, a system-wide sewage works ECA would require one consolidated approval for the collection system and the treatment plant, including all relevant required reports.

  7. Are you engaged in mobile sewage works or other mobile activities? (Yes/No)

Other issues

A pre-submission meeting with the ministry also presents an opportunity to discuss issues other than policy, public, or First Nations or Métis community consultation. Other circumstances for which a pre-submission meeting with the Ministry might be useful are considered here.

  1. Is your application related to a greenfield project? (Yes / No)

    Though not all greenfield projects need a pre-submission meeting with the ministry, it might be useful to have a pre-submission meeting if your greenfield project is large.

  2. Is your ECA application for emergency purposes? (Yes / No)

    The purpose of the ECA application was submitted to mitigate the following:

    • danger to the public health or safety
    • harm or serious risk to the environment
    • injury or damage to property

Copies of your application

When submitting an ECA application online, you are not required to submit a paper copy to the ministry.

For waste disposal sites you must send a copy of the application — without the fee — to the Clerk’s office of the local municipality (both upper and lower tier) in which the facility/proposed facility is located unless the application is for a revocation or an amendment that is environmentally insignificant or the applicant is a municipality.

Applicants submitting ECA applications under the Transfer of Review program are required to submit the completed application — and the fee — to the designated municipal authority, not the ministry.

Appendix 2: Municipalities currently under the Transfer of Review program

As we implement and transition all municipalities to the CLI ECA program, the Transfer of Review program for municipal sewage has been discontined.

Municipalities will have to ensure that source protection considerations, such as source protection threats, are addressed. Read Part C of this guide for additional requirements for CLI ECAs. Visit the Municipal Consolidated Linear Infrastructure Environmental Compliance Approvals page for more information about these permissions.

Types of works reviewed

Type A – includes storm and sanitary sewers (except for new stormwater outfalls), sewage pumping stations and forcemains (except for those pumping directly to a sewage treatment plant). Prior to the issuance of Municipal Drinking Water Works Permits and Licences (MDWP&L), watermains and water booster pumping stations were also included.

Type B – includes stormwater management works limited to works that control stormwater quantity and/or provide basic quality control only (that is, 60% total suspended solids removal) and that discharge to either the existing stormwater management collection system, a stormwater management works, a ditch, a swale or a municipal drain. Stormwater management works that discharge to a ditch, swale or municipal drain that are included in the Transfer of Review program also require clearance from the local Conservation Authority. Stormwater management works are excluded from the Transfer of Review program if:

  • the works discharge to a ‘natural’ receiving watercourse, stream, river or lake
  • effluent quality criteria and/or monitoring requirements are established
  • the works are proposed to be located on ‘industrial land’ or to drain ‘industrial land’, as defined by Ontario Regulation 525/98
  • the works relate to infiltration of the stored stormwater into the ground
  • the works propose to collect/store and discharge stormwater containing substances or pollutants detrimental to the environment or human health.

Stormwater management works excluded from the Transfer of Review program require submission of the ECA application directly to the ministry for review and processing.

Type C – these upper-tier municipalities provide Transfer of Review services for their respective lower-tier municipalities.

Type D – includes additional types of sewage works specified in an expanded Transfer of Review program agreement.

Appendix 3: Sample project descriptions for application summary section

This appendix shows the requirements for the form and content of the project description executive summary section of the online ECA application.

Proposal for ECA involving multiple media

This application is for a new ECA as required by Environment Protection Act s. 9 and s. 27 for the use and operation of a single 13.8 hectare waste disposal site, within a total area of 27.6 hectares, to be used for the construction and operation of a composting facility to manage source separated organic waste (food waste and non-recyclable tissue) and leaf and yard waste.

Source separated organic waste will be composted within a 2,060 m2 building equipped with pollution control equipment. Leaf and yard waste and compost curing will take place outdoors. The equipment includes: active windrows for leaf and yard waste composting, grinding, shredding and screening equipment, one (1) emergency generator and one (1) biofilter.

The service area for the composting facility includes the residential and industrial, commercial and institutional sectors of the municipalities of Somewhere County.

The composting facility has a proposed maximum daily receiving rate of 200 tonnes per day and a maximum storage limit of 17,600 tonnes at any one time. Operating hours are Monday to Friday 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., 312 operating days per year.

The expected contaminants that will be released into the air from this facility are products of combustion, particulate matter, ammonia, total reduced sulphur and odour.

Proposals for waste disposal sites

Table 9 lists the requirement from Part D and how it should be interpreted as demonstrated by the examples that follow.

Table 9: ECA requirements for waste disposal sites
RequirementInterpretation for waste disposal sites
The reason for the application.State whether it is for a new or amended ECA.
A description of the purpose for the proposal, or of the operations you propose carrying on, that is, what is the business occurring at the site where your project will take place.State what type of waste disposal site your proposal involves.
The main components or processes – this should include the main equipment or modifications, including pollution/noise control equipment or measures and a description of the source the pollution/noise control equipment is meant to control.List the main processes occurring at the site, such as landfilling, grinding, processing, incinerating, shredding, etc. Also list any pollution control equipment or measures, such as watering to control dust.
A description of the key operating parameters – this description should indicate the scale of the business, including hours of operation.This should include days and hours of operation, life expectancy of a landfill, service area or source of material, storage/transfer/receiving/disposal capacity per day, maximum storage capacity, total area of site.
A description of the discharges and/or waste characteristics.A description of waste (type, category, class) and any other discharges anticipated. For example, non-hazardous household waste.
If your application is for an ECA with Operational Flexibility, this should be indicated.A description of the flexibility that is being applied for and a description of the site as it will initially operate.

Proposal for a new waste disposal site (processing/transfer)

This proposal is for a new ECA (waste disposal site) for the use and operation of a waste disposal site with a total site area of 1.5 hectares, to be used for processing solid non-hazardous waste including roofing waste (shingles, wood, nails) up to 100 tonnes per day. The total amount of waste and processed materials stored at the site will not exceed 300 tonnes at any time. Processes to be used include grinding and shredding. The waste disposal site is to serve the Province of Ontario. The hours of operation are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, Monday to Friday.

Proposal for a new waste disposal site (landfill)

This proposal is for a new ECA (waste disposal site) for the use and operation of a 1.1 hectare waste disposal site within a total area of 1.1 hectares and a receiving capacity of 7 cubic metres per day, for the landfilling of the following categories of waste: tree parts, wood chips, waste bark, ash, limb remnants, shavings, occasional scrap boards and wood waste cuttings. The site will have a final volumetric capacity of 40,000 cubic metres and an anticipated life expectancy of 20 years to serve the Province of Ontario. The hours of operations are from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, Monday to Friday.

Proposal for an amendment application

This proposal is for an amendment to the existing ECA (waste disposal sites) No. 1234-123 ABC issued for the use and operation of a waste disposal site with a total site area of 1.5 hectares, to be used for transfer and processing of solid non-hazardous waste, including construction demolition waste. The proposal includes changes to the total processing capacity of waste from 100 tonnes to 200 tonnes per day. The total amount of waste and processed materials stored at the site is proposed to change from 200 tonnes to 300 tonnes at any time. The waste disposal site is to serve the Province of Ontario. The hours of operation are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, Monday to Friday.

Proposal for an ECA with Operational Flexibility for a waste disposal site (formerly a Comprehensive Certificate of Approval)

This proposal is for a new ECA with Operational Flexibility for a waste disposal site for a non-hazardous waste transfer and processing facility to be located at XXX Drive, Anytown, Ontario. Operational Flexibility for a waste disposal site provides a company with flexibility to make changes to defined aspects of the site’s operations without a requirement to make an application for amendment. It includes conditions that describe the scope within which the changes can be made. It allows industry to plan and to make changes to their facilities in a timely manner and reduce the delays associated with the traditional approvals process.

Operational Flexibility incorporates additional conditions to ensure that the ministry is kept informed of the continued site operations, that the company remains in compliance with legislative requirements and that the environment is not adversely affected. The extent to which operational flexibility is permitted by the ECA for a waste disposal site is contained with a design and operations report provided by the proponent.

The details of the Operational Flexibility requested in this proposal are described below.

This proposal is for the use and operation of a waste disposal site operating 24 hours per day, seven days per week, serving the Province of Ontario with a total area of 2,200 square metres, to be used for the following:

  • The processing and temporary storage of non-hazardous solid municipal waste, including: residential waste, industrial, commercial, institutional waste, construction and demolition waste.
  • The receipt, transfer and storage of domestic/residential waste in the event of an emergency situation that results in an inability of a municipality in Ontario to manage its waste under the existing network of waste disposal site ECA. For example, the closing of the U.S. Canada border to waste shipment, or a municipal strike.
  • Storage of waste at the site will be limited to a maximum of 500 tonnes at any one time.
  • The waste disposal site will initially receive and process a maximum of 219,000 tonnes of waste per year. This amount is the equivalent of an average of 600 tonnes per day over the course of a year (365 days). This will enable the waste disposal site to receive more waste per day during peak periods to account for seasonal fluctuations in waste generation. The site will be limited to receiving a maximum of 1,200 tonnes of waste in any one day.

The scope of Operational Flexibility for the proposed waste disposal site is limited to the operating envelope described and contained within the design and operations report and as follows:

  1. The ability to make modifications to the infrastructure of the waste disposal site. For example, the proponent would be able to expand the existing building a further 2,500 square metres.
  2. The ability to make modifications to the waste disposal site’s processing operations and equipment. For example, the proponent would be able to transform a manual waste handling operation into a fully automated handling facility.
  3. The ability to make modifications to the waste disposal site that are routine, with predictable effects that are environmentally insignificant. For example the proponent would be able to utilize a different storage location (for example inside the building versus outside the building), utilize a different storage method (for example storage on an outdoor pad versus within covered bins) or accept additional waste types during future project phases. Modifications considered to be administrative would also not require an approval.
  4. The ability to accommodate peak periods when there are higher amounts of waste received due to seasonal fluctuations in waste generation. You can apply for Operational Flexibility to utilize an annual average of waste that is received by providing specific information and details in your application. This includes an assessment in your application of the maximum daily amount of waste that the site can manage (process/transfer). This maximum throughput will be identified in the ECA as a threshold daily receiving limit. The maximum quantity of waste that is to be received at the site on an annual basis must also be identified. An ECA with Operational Flexibility will allow you to receive the maximum annual amount of waste while not exceeding the daily threshold limit.

The following modifications to the waste disposal site are not permitted under the proposal:

  1. The ability to extend the physical size of the waste disposal site.
  2. The ability to alter the function of the approved operations of the waste disposal site from a waste disposal site used for the sorting and transfer of solid municipal waste.
  3. The ability to change the type of waste that can be received at the site and in particular, the ability to accept hazardous waste, liquid industrial waste or hauled sewage.
  4. The ability to increase the maximum amount of waste that is allowed to be stored at the site beyond the approved maximum of 500 tonnes.
  5. Any modification to the waste disposal site that requires a change to the design and operations report.
  6. Any modifications to the waste disposal site that are subject to the Environmental Assessment Act.

Proposals for air applications

Table 10 below lists the requirement from Part D and how it should be interpreted as demonstrated by the examples that follow.

Table 10: ECA requirements for air applications
RequirementInterpretation for air applications
The reason for the application.State whether it is for a new or amended ECA.
A description of the purpose for the proposal. What is the business occurring at the site where your project will take place? The operation you propose to carry on?State what type of facility your proposal involves, for example, a car manufacturing facility or a chemical manufacturing plant.
The main components or processes – this should include the main equipment or modifications, including pollution/noise control equipment or measures and a description of the source the pollution/noise control equipment is meant to control.List the main processes occurring at the site, such as painting, metal coating, HVAC, etc. Also list any pollution control equipment or measures, such as baghouses.
A description of the key operating parameters – this description should indicate the scale of the business, including hours of operation.This should include days and hours of operation and any parameters that describe the facility, for example, the number of parts produced per year.
A description of the discharges and/or waste characteristics.A description of the significant emissions.
If your application is for an ECA with Operational Flexibility this should be indicated.Follow the template below.

Proposal for a new application

This proposal is for a new ECA (air) for Acme Window Corporation for manufacturing vinyl and wood frame window products at a facility located in Concord, Ontario. This application is for the operation of maintenance welding, combustion equipment, adhesives, sealants and a glycerin-based vinyl shaping operations. Emission contaminants into the atmosphere include volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. The facility will operate 5 days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Proposal for a new mobile unit

This proposal is for a new ECA (air) for Acme Products Inc. This application is for one (1) mobile tub grinder used to grind wood waste, such as tree parts, limb remnants, shavings, occasional scrap boards wood waste cuttings into wood chips. The facility will be used for the manufacturing of scrap wood chips and dust. Contaminant emissions to the atmosphere include particulate matter and products of combustion, such as nitrogen oxides.

Proposal for an amendment

This proposal is for an amendment to ECA (air) No.123-123ABC by Acme Canada Company for the facility located in Concord, Ontario. This application is for replacement of one (1) flare and for the addition of one (1) chlorine dioxide scrubber and one (1) emergency generator. Contaminant emissions to the atmosphere include volatile organic compounds such as methanol, isobutane and propane and products of combustion such as nitrogen oxides. The facility produces propane, isobutane and butane from natural gas liquids and operates 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Proposal for a new ECA with Operational Flexibility for an air application

This proposal is for a new ECA with Operational Flexibility (air) which is a single ECA that replaces the existing ECAs (air) and includes the addition of new or historically unapproved sources for all emissions from Acme Ceramic Materials Canada Inc., manufacturing fused metal oxides for use in abrasive applications, located in the City of Toronto, Ontario. This proposal includes all emission sources from the manufacturing and associated processes that exhaust to the atmosphere including furnaces, dust collectors, crushers, laboratory fume hoods and ancillary combustion equipment. Emissions to the atmosphere from this facility include graphite, calcium oxide, manganese oxide, particulate matter and products of combustion, such as nitrogen oxides.

The ECA with Operational Flexibility (air) requires that the company demonstrate compliance on an ongoing basis with Ontario Regulation 419/05, applicable ministry guidelines for air and noise and other performance requirements as specified in their conditions. It permits modifications such as process changes, de-bottlenecking or addition of new equipment subject to limits on operational flexibility that include a production limit for the facility to be specified on the ECA (air). The Operational Flexibility conditions have a five-year expiry date. The company will be required to make application for an amendment at that time to renew these conditions. Of specific public interest, one condition that will be included in the ECA (air) will require the company to make available during business hours, a table (Emission Summary Table) that documents the facility’s compliance with Ontario Regulation 419/05.

Proposal for an Operational Flexibility renewal (air)

This proposal is for the renewal of the Operational Flexibility for an ECA (air & noise) No.1234-ABCDEF from Acme Printing Inc., a commercial lithographic facility located in the City of Toronto, Ontario. This proposal includes all emission sources from the manufacturing and associated processes that exhaust to the atmosphere including heatset presses with associated dryers, a regenerative thermal oxidizer, cooling towers and combustion equipment. Emissions to the atmosphere from this facility include volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides and ethylene glycol.

The ECA with Operational Flexibility (air) requires that the company demonstrate compliance on an ongoing basis with Ontario Regulation 419/05, applicable ministry guidelines for air and noise and other performance requirements as specified in their conditions. It permits modifications such as process changes, de-bottlenecking or addition of new equipment, subject to limits on the Operational Flexibility that include a production limit for the facility. The company has submitted an application to renew the existing Operational Flexibility conditions for an additional five-year period. Of specific public interest, one condition that will be retained on the renewed ECA (air) will require the company to make publicly available during business hours at the facility, a table (Emission Summary Table) that documents the facility’s ongoing compliance.

Proposal for sewage works only

Table 11 below lists the requirement from Part D and how it should be interpreted as demonstrated by the examples that follow.

Table 11: ECA requirements for sewage works
RequirementInterpretation for waste disposal sites
The reason for the application.State whether it is for a new or amended ECA.
A description of the purpose for the proposal, or of the operations you propose carrying on, that is, what is the business occurring at the site where your project will take place.State what type of sewage works your proposal involves.
The main components or processes – this should include the main equipment or modifications, including pollution/noise control equipment or measures and a description of the source the pollution/noise control equipment is meant to control.List the main processes occurring at the site, such as transmission, collection, etc. Also list any pollution control equipment or measures such as chemical injection for contaminant removal.
A description of the key operating parameters – this description should indicate the scale of the business, including hours of operations.This should include days and hours of operation, size or treatment capacity, service area.
A description of the discharges and/or waste characteristics.A description of the sewage (quality and/or source), the receiver of the effluent and any other discharges anticipated. For example, domestic sewage from a campground or tailings pond for a gold mine.
If your application is for an ECA with Operational Flexibility, this should be indicated.A description of the flexibility that is being applied for.

Proposal for a new sewage works (stormwater)

This proposal is for a new ECA (sewage works) to install a new northeast irrigation pond to collect stormwater runoff from approximately 3.6 hectares agricultural drainage area and operate as a closed loop irrigation system with no direct discharge to surface water except during emergency situations. The proposal is also for an approval to change the equalization and post-biofilter pump tank sizes and biofilter orientation for subsurface sewage disposal systems.

The ministry will impose effluent limits and/or monitoring requirements for emergency discharges leaving the site.

Proposal for a new sewage works

This proposal is for a new ECA (sewage works) for ACME MR to establish sewage works for the collection, treatment and disposal of up to 2.47 million cubic metres of process water per year and an estimated 1.75 million cubic metres per year of stormwater runoff to service an area of 265 hectares at ACME MR’s metal mining operations in AnyRemoteTown.

The nearest town is within 10 km of the mining facility. The mining facility operates 24 hours, 7 days a week.

The proposed sewage works will include a tailings management facility, a reclamation system, an effluent water treatment plant, a constructed wetland system, engineering dams and dykes, a stormwater management system, and all associated structures and components to support the aforementioned systems.

The ministry will impose effluent limits and/or monitoring requirements for effluent discharges leaving the site.

Proposal for an amendment to sewage works

This proposal is to amend ECA (sewage works) No. ABCD-123ABC. The existing ECA covers the sewage works for the collection, transmission and storage of up to 10,500 cubic meters per day (7,280 litres per minute) of mine water from the ACME No. 2 Shaft (Big Mineral Project), for discharge into AnyLake.

The purpose of this proposal is to add the AnyLake tailings pond treatment system and to relocate the current point of discharge into the AnyLake tailings pond from the north shore to the northwest shore, to promote the settlement of total suspended solids through the use of flocculants and silt curtains, to control the soluble ammonia residuals resulting from the use of emulsion, or emulsion blend explosives and it will contain changes in the effluent quality requirements.

The ministry may impose new or revise existing effluent limits and/or monitoring requirements for effluent discharges leaving the site.

Proposal for a Schedule C amendment to CLI ECA sewage works

This proposal is to amend the consolidated linear infrastructure ECA (sewage works) No. 123-X123. The existing ECA covers the sanitary sewage conveyance system for the Municipality of AnyLake.

The purpose of this proposal is to construct 13 km of new sanitary sewer main, PVC DR 35 with a nominal diameter of 1050 mm, extending from Any St to the Other St pumping station. This project does not meet the criteria for future specified alterations authorized under the ECA as it exceeds the nominal diameter of 750 mm authorized in Schedule D of ECA 123-X123, issue number 1 dated January X, 20XX.

Proposal for an amendment to sewage works (sewage works tailings ponds)

This proposal is for an amendment to the ECA No. ABCD-123DSA, for the redevelopment of the former AnyLake Mine site as a new open pit mine and ore processing facility. The former AnyLake Mine facility will be expanded to include two (2) new tailings ponds. The entire tailings management area (TMA) will be operated as an integrated system that will be used to manage both mill effluent and mine water. The mill will use a conventional gravity and cyanidation gold recovery circuit with in-plant treatment of the mill effluent prior to discharge to the TMA. The discharge to the North Lake will consist of treated mine water and runoff from inactive TMA cells. There will be no direct discharge of TMA effluent to the environment from the active TMA cells (cells receiving treated mill tailings).

The ministry may impose new or revise existing effluent limits and/or monitoring requirements for effluent discharges leaving the site.

Proposal for an amendment to sewage works (industrial)

This proposal is to amend ECA (sewage works) No ABCD-123ABC. The existing approval covers the sewage works for the collection, transmission, treatment and disposal of mill operation for the MyMill Site, which consists of a two-stage tailings system to achieve the settling of solids prior to discharge, serving the milling operation located in the Township of AnyTown, Ontario, with a maximum production of 255 tonnes per day of ore. The proposed sewage works include the implementation of changes in the tailings management area to include raising dams and the replacement of the existing decant weir and outlet structures to meet requirements of the Closure Plan and the annual dam safety inspections.

The proposed works will include a boron reduction strategy and changes in the effluent requirements.

Appendix 4: Sample waste projects and their qualification for Operational Flexibility

  1. The ability to make changes that are routine, with predictable effects that are environmentally insignificant.
    • relocate the waste storage areas for recyclable materials (baled cardboard etc.)
    • minor change only, for example, materials stored indoors remains indoors
  2. The ability to make minor changes to the office buildings and non-waste-related infrastructure, such as a scale house.
    • construct a larger waste receiving/processing building
    • the applicant would require any municipal approvals (building permit, site plan)
  3. The ability to make changes to simple processing operations and install new and equivalent equipment.
    • replace minor existing processing equipment such as compactors and balers
    • install new equipment, which must be pre-specified at the time of application
    • transform from a manual sorting operation to a fully automated sorting facility
  4. The ability to increase the amount of waste that may be stored at the waste disposal site within a predetermined envelope.
    • For example, an owner may choose to initially operate the waste disposal site below the maximum amount and would be permitted to increase the storage amount through the operational flexibility.
    • The new financial assurance amount, which is linked to the volume of waste onsite, must be provided to the ministry prior to any additional waste being received at the site.
  5. Receipt of residential solid municipal waste in an emergency situation.
    • For example, a waste disposal site that is not approved to receive residential waste may be permitted to do so through a condition in the waste ECA with Operational Flexibility in order to alleviate an emergency situation such as a border closing or labour action.
  6. A Waste ECA will not include Operational Flexibility with respect to the following:
    • Changes to the waste disposal site that require the design and operations report to be revised, such as, alterations not contemplated in the design and operations report
    • The expansion of the physical size of the site
    • Changes to access locations, site boundaries, site perimeter fencing, etc.
    • Relocation of wastes from indoor storage/processing to outdoors
    • Introduction of any new waste types:
      • For example, hazardous waste and liquid industrial waste or residential or domestic waste, if not previously approved.
      • Introduction of a new waste processing operation that is unrelated to the approved site or processing function in the existing approval.
    • A site initially approved as a waste transfer station could not change to an organics composting site or a soil bioremediation facility.
    • Changes to the waste disposal site that are subject to the Environmental Assessment Act.
    • Any change involving a medium other than waste (such as, air, noise or wastewater) Changes not included in original public consultation/notification

Appendix 5: Typical sewage works projects and their qualification for Operational Flexibility

In this appendix we describe what activities are considered eligible for Operational Flexibility in an ECA.

Since 2013, ECA for sewage works that involve sewage treatment (municipal or industrial) and sewage pumping stations include Operational Flexibility conditions.

The following provides pre-approval granted under Operational Flexibility for low-risk activities. These activities have already been screened and pre-assessed by the Client Services and Permissions Branch (CSPB), and by the Environmental Permissions Branch (EPB) and relates to generic activities commonly needed, which are considered low risk and with predictable effects. By complying with the terms, conditions and the ECA, proponents will not be required to submit an application for approval for sewage works, but will be required to keep the local MECP office informed through a notification procedure required in the Approval.

For greater certainty, the following are not permitted as part of Operational Flexibility:

  1. Modifications to the works that result in an increase of the approved rated capacity of the works
  2. Modifications to the works that may adversely affect the approved effluent quality criteria or the location of the discharge/outfall
  3. Modifications to the treatment process technology of the works, or modifications that involve construction of new reactors (tanks) or alter the treatment train process design
  4. Modifications to the works approved under s.9 of the EPA
  5. Modifications to the works pursuant to an order issued by the ministry

It is important to note that implementation of Operational Flexibility is not intended to be used for piecemeal measures that result in major alterations or expansions. Also, the sewage works proposed under Operational Flexibility are expected to adhere to the design guidelines contained within the ministry’s publication Design Guidelines for Sewage Works 2008, as amended.

Municipal and private sewage works

The following municipal sewage works are eligible under Operational Flexibility:

  1. Sewage pumping stations
    1. Adding or replacing equipment where new equipment is located within an existing sewage treatment plant site or an existing sewage pumping station site, provided that the facility Rated Capacity is not exceeded and the existing flow process and/or treatment train are maintained, as applicable.
    2. Forcemain relining and replacement with similar pipe size where the nominal diameter is not greater than 1,200 mm.
  2. Sewage treatment process
    1. Installing additional chemical dosage equipment including replacing with alternative chemicals for pH adjustment or coagulants (non-toxic polymers) provided that there are no modifications of treatment processes or other modifications that may alter the intent of operations and may have negative impacts on the effluent quantity and quality.
    2. Expanding the buffer zone between a sanitary sewage lagoon facility or land treatment area and adjacent uses provided that the buffer zone is entirely on the proponent’s land.
    3. Optimizing existing sanitary sewage lagoons with the purpose to increase efficiency of treatment operations provided that existing sewage treatment plant rated capacity is not exceeded and where no land acquisition is required.
    4. Optimizing existing sewage treatment plant equipment with the purpose to increase the efficiency of the existing treatment operations, provided that there are no modifications to the works that result in an increase of the approved rated capacity, and may have adverse effects to the effluent quality or location of the discharge.
    5. Replacement or refurbishment of previously approved equipment in whole or in part with equivalent equipment, like-for-like of different make and model, provided that the firm capacity, reliability, performance standard, level of quality and redundancy of the group of equipment is kept the same or exceeded. For clarity purposes, the following equipment can be considered under this provision: pumps, screens, grit separators, blowers, aeration equipment, sludge thickeners, dewatering equipment, UV systems, chlorine contact equipment, bio-disks, and sludge digester systems.
  3. Sewage treatment plant outfall
    1. Replacement of discharge pipe with similar pipe size and diffusers provided that the outfall location is not changed.
  4. Pilot Systems
    1. Installation of pilot systems for new or existing technologies provided that:
      1. any effluent from the pilot system is discharged to the inlet of the sewage treatment plant or hauled off-site for proper disposal,
      2. any effluent from the pilot system discharged to the inlet of the sewage treatment plant or sewage conveyance system does not significantly alter the composition/concentration of the influent sewage to be treated in the downstream process and that it does not add any inhibiting substances to the downstream process, and
      3. the pilot system’s duration does not exceed a maximum of two years and a report with results is submitted to the Director and Water Supervisor three months after completion of the pilot project.

Industrial sewage works

An important distinction for industrial sewage works pre-approved under Operational Flexibility is that proponents are required to submit a Notice of Modifications describing any proposed modifications to the sewage works and submit it to the District Manager at least thirty (30) days prior to implementing Operational Flexibility. Further, the proponent is not authorized to proceed with implementation of Operational Flexibility modifications until the District Manager has provided written acceptance of the Notice of Modifications or a minimum of thirty (30) days have passed since the day the District Manager acknowledged the receipt of the Notice of Modifications. The following industrial sewage works are eligible under Operational Flexibility.

  1. Sewage pumping stations
    1. Adding or replacing equipment where new equipment is located within an existing sewage treatment plant site or an existing sewage pumping station site, provided that the facility rated capacity is not exceeded and the existing flow process and/or treatment train are maintained, as applicable.
    2. Forcemain relining and replacement with similar pipe size where the nominal diameter is not greater than 1,200mm.
  2. Sewage treatment process
    1. Installing additional chemical dosage equipment including replacing with alternative chemicals for pH adjustment or coagulants (non-toxic polymers) provided that there are no modifications of treatment processes or other modifications that may alter the intent of operations and may have negative impacts on the effluent quantity and quality.
    2. Expanding the buffer zone between a sanitary sewage lagoon facility or land treatment area and adjacent uses provided that the buffer zone is entirely on the proponent’s land.
    3. Optimizing existing sanitary sewage lagoons with the purpose to increase efficiency of treatment operations provided that existing sewage treatment plant rated capacity is not exceeded and where no land acquisition is required.
    4. Optimizing existing sewage treatment plant equipment with the purpose to increase the efficiency of the existing treatment operations, provided that there are no modifications to the works that result in an increase of the approved rated capacity, and may have adverse effects to the effluent quality or location of the discharge.
    5. Replacement or refurbishment of previously approved equipment in whole or in part with equivalent equipment, like-for-like of different make and model, provided that the firm capacity, reliability, performance standard, level of quality and redundancy of the group of equipment is kept the same or exceeded. For clarity purposes, the following equipment can be considered under this provision: pumps, screens, grit separators, blowers, aeration equipment, sludge thickeners, dewatering equipment, UV systems, chlorine contact equipment, bio-disks, and sludge digester systems.
  3. Sewage treatment plant outfall
    1. Replacement of discharge pipe with similar pipe size or diffusers provided that the outfall location is not changed.
  4. Stormwater management system
    1. Modifications of stormwater management works to service the existing approved drainage area located within the site, provided that there is no increase in the average impervious area established in the original design and the discharges from the site will not exceed the attenuated flows established in the original design.
    2. Installation of new oil grit separators.
  5. Sanitary sewers
    1. Pipe relining and replacement with similar pipe size within the sewage treatment plant site, where the nominal diameter is not greater than 1,200 mm.
  6. Pilot systems
    1. Installation of pilot systems for new or existing technologies provided that:
      1. any effluent from the pilot system is discharged to the inlet of the sewage treatment plant or hauled off-site for proper disposal
      2. any effluent from the pilot system discharged to the inlet of the sewage treatment plant or sewage conveyance system does not significantly alter the composition/concentration of the influent sewage to be treated in the downstream process and that it does not add any inhibiting substances to the downstream process
      3. the pilot system’s duration does not exceed a maximum of two years and a report with results is submitted to the Director and Water Supervisor three months after completion of the pilot project

For both, municipal and industrial sewage systems, notification requirements apply to the above sewage works, except for normal or emergency operational modifications, such as repairs, reconstructions, or other improvements that are part of maintenance activities, including cleaning, renovations to existing approved sewage works equipment, provided that the modification is made with equivalent equipment, which are considered pre-approved.