“This is the same process we followed in late 2011 for cadmium and in 2010 for sulphur dioxide,” said Glencore spokesperson Iyo Grenon, in an email to Northern Life. “Both applications were approved. For cadmium Site-Specific Standards, it was approved in early 2013, and sulphur dioxide Site-Specific Standards was approved in August 2012.”
Kate Jordan, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Environment, said the ministry has not yet received Glencore's application for site-specific standards.
Companies are required to hold public consultations and include that input when they apply for exceptions to air contaminant standards.
Glencore has scheduled an open house meeting at the Falconbridge Community Centre on June 3, from 3 to 7 p.m.
The province's new air quality standards, under Ontario Regulation 419/05, will take effect on July 1, 2016.
The new standard will switch from a daily averaging period – where contaminants cannot exceed 2 ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air) – to a yearly averaging period with a contamination limit of 0.04 ug/m3.
“The new standard is based on an annual average because an annual average is more representative of what people are exposed to over the long-term versus just a day which is more of a snap shot,” Jordan said in an email. “If you took the annual number and equated it to a day, it would still be more stringent than the current daily standard. Controls will be in place to prevent any daily spiking.”
Companies that make site-specific standard requests are required to submit information about potential exposure levels.
Jordan said site-specific standard requests are common. As of January 2014, the Ministry of the Environment has issued eight site-specific approvals. Four others are under review.
The ministry allows for site-specific approvals because attaining new standards may not be immediately achievable by a facility due to unique technical or economic limitations, Jordan said.
Members of the public are invited to attend Glencore's open house meeting on the site-specific standards application.