Decision Date: May 3, 2002
Panel: Alan Andison, Glen Ewan, Q.C., Phillip Wong
Keywords: Waste Management Act – s.1defintion of “environment”, ss. 10,13; air contaminants: continuous monitoring program; air quality management plan; particulates
The Friends of Granby Environmental Society appealed the issuance and amendment of an air pollution permit by the Assistant Regional Waste Manager (the “Assistant Manager”). The permit authorized the emission of air contaminants from Roxul’s mineral wool processing plant. The Appellant requested that the Board rescind the amended permit, and order that no such permit be issued without a full air quality impact analysis demonstrating no adverse impacts on the local airshed and population. Alternatively, the Appellant requested that the Board amend the permit to require continuous air quality monitoring, development of an airshed management plan, and disclosure of results of emissions tests conducted at the Roxul plant.
The Board found that the Assistant Manager had sufficient technical information to determine whether the permitted emissions would cause an unacceptable adverse effect on human health or the environment. The Board was, therefore, satisfied that the Assistant Manager had adequate information to issue and amend the permit.
The Board found that one of the main purposes of the Waste Management Act is to allow discharges in a manner that will protect the environment. The Board did not accept the Appellant’s argument that any “new” introduction of waste into the area airshed would violate the intent of the Act. The Board concluded that the proper question here was whether the permit, as amended, included appropriate conditions for the protection of the environment. The issue was not whether the permit should have been issued at all.
The Board found that the Appellant failed to show, on the balance of probabilities, that there was any unacceptable risk posed to human health or the environment as a result of the permitted emissions from the plant. However, the Board directed the Assistant Manager to review the plant’s stack monitoring results on an annual basis to determine if the levels may cause an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. The Board also recommended that the Assistant Manager review the effects of building downwash and consider the possibility of increasing stack height, if necessary.
The Board ordered that the Assistant Manager add a clause to the permit specifying the frequency of stack sampling and monitoring, and a clause specifying the date on which Roxul will commence submitting its reports to the Assistant Manager. The Board also ordered that the Assistant Manager include in the permit a requirement that stack sampling results be made available to the public.
The Board concluded that it would be inappropriate to impose conditions in the amended permit making Roxul responsible for implementing a continuous monitoring program and air quality management plan. The Board found that air quality within the airshed is affected by many emission sources, not just the emissions from the Roxul plant. The Board found that those issues should not be addressed in the context of a single permit. The Board recommended that the Assistant Manager explore options for developing an airshed management program, including enhanced continuous monitoring, and, if warranted, an episode management plan, and ensure that all point source dischargers take part in such programs.
The Board confirmed the Assistant Manager’s issuance and amendment of the permit subject to directions and recommendations. The appeals were dismissed.