Asbestos, a Dangerous Designated Substance Not Visible to the Eye

In a recent article, Asbestos Exposure is Still Making People Sick,  CNN reportes that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to see people suffer asbestos-related medical issues.

In Ontario, Designated Substances are defined as “a biological, chemical or physical agent to which the exposure of a worker is prohibited, regulated, restricted, limited or controlled.” Asbestos is one of 17 designated substances that present health and environmental risks. It can be found in a variety of everyday materials that may be present inside your work and home environment like vinyl sheet flooring, vinyl floor tiles, plaster, vermiculite insulation, ceiling tiles, drywall joint compound, and sealants.  It’s fibres are smaller than the diametre of human hair and even smaller than glass fibre. The risk for exposure and inhalation increase when the fibres are disturbed and exposed to air through the poor condition of the material, demolition/construction, or regular maintenance.

A problem with illnesses related to asbestos is the latency period. It takes a long time for the effects of asbestos exposure to develop and is hard to determine when the exposure happened to an individual.  In Ontario, asbestos is a designated substance and governed under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation 278/05, Asbestos on Construction Projects and In Buildings and Repair operations.  It is important for businesses to have a non-intrusive compliance survey completed for the health and safety of your employees.  If the presence of asbestos is confirmed, a management plan is required to provide instructions and training for staff and maintenance on the proper procedures to prevent fibres and asbestos containing materials (ACM) from being exposed in the work environment.

Additionally, prior to any renovation or demolition, business and home owners hiring an independent contractor are required to complete an intrusive survey to determine the presence of materials which may be uncovered during those activities. Tearing down walls, removing ceiling tiles or insulation – these types of actions can disturb and release ACM fibres into the air.  It is always best to put the safety of your family, employees, and contractors first to ensure they are not exposed to this designated substance.

The removal, disposal and management of the asbestos abatement should be done by qualified professionals. Cambium specializes in Designated Substances Surveys (DSS), Asbestos and Hazardous Material Assessments. If you have any concerns or have questions, Cambium can assess and test for designated substances and develop an abatement plan to manage the removal.

Online Tool will help Municipalities Manage Excess Soils

The Importance of Managing Excess Soils

As Ontario continues to rapidly develop and cities continue to expand, the management of soils being excavated from developments and construction projects have to be considered. Excess soils are both a useful economic resource and a growing problem due to the sheer amount being moved. Excess soils have many uses such as constructing embankments, leveling or raising ground, commercial fills, agriculture etc. As useful as it  may be, it is not without its fair share of issues; soils may be of very different types and consistencies, be contaminated with pollutants, contain invasive species, be of generally low quality or be inappropriate for use in environmentally sensitive areas.

These issues are very detailed and specific which can make it quite difficult for municipalities to create By-Laws or regulations on the use of excess soils – something that may be very important for local sustainability and environmental damage control. Due to this issue the Canadian Urban Institute has created an online tool for municipalities to use for the creation of excess soils By-Laws simply and easily. The tool provides an easy-to-use interface and provides the language, structure, technical details and examples on excess soils for the creation of By-Laws. This new development should help to improve excess soil management greatly – which in turn will help to protect human health and protect the natural environment.

Cambium offers soils handling services and our goal is to provide a viable and feasible approach that satisfies landowners, developers, municipalities, and conservation authorities in maintaining the integrity and functionality of the natural systems. Give us a call if you have any questions about excess soils or would like further information about our services.

Environmental Activity and Sector Registry: How will the Air Emissions EASR Impact Your Facility

A guide to the new Environmental Activity and Sector Registry

Sadie Bachynski, Project Manager with Cambium, has written a blog to answer a number of questions about what the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) is, who it applies to and what it means to your operations.

What is the EASR?

After quite an extensive process of public consultations and stakeholder input, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is now operating the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). The purpose of this new registry system is to provide a streamlined and easy approach to registering an activity that an individual or facility might be engaged in that releases any type of emission into the natural environment – as is required by the MOECC. Emissions may include air, noise and odourous emissions from a given site. This new system is an easy-to-access registry that can be found online on the Service Ontario website.

The idea behind this new system is fairly straightforward: if a person or business is emitting anything into the natural environment they must self-register online before they do so. The government of Ontario website puts this as: “O. Reg. 1/17 requires persons engaging in activities that discharge or may discharge contaminants to the natural environment, other than water, to register in the EASR unless the activities do not meet the criteria in the Regulation”.

Who does this apply to?

New and existing facilities are required to register if they make any modification to their emissions related activity. In essence this is a phasing out of the existing ECA process; however, if a person or business submitted an application for an activity outlined in O. Reg 1/17 on or before December 31, 2016 they will have the option of remaining in the current ECA process or withdraw their application and instead register with the EASR. If a facility receives an ECA process approval, the facility will have to register with the EASR by January 31, 2027 or when the modification to the facility/activity occurs. In essence, the MOECC is looking to phase out the ECA process for eligible EASR facilities by 2027 completely.

One of the major criterions of those who must apply to the EASR is the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code that they report under – these have carefully been assessed for potential environmental impact. Another major criterion is the complexity of the operations/activity being performed. In essence, anyone is eligible – unless the activity/operation in question is complex in nature and deemed to be a “potentially heavy emitter”. Complex operations remain under the realm of requiring an Environmental Compliance Approval from the MOECC. For more details on who is and is not eligible, see the link below to the full Regulation outline.

 

What does this mean for reporting?

This in no way alters the way a facility would have to assess, model, and even report on the air, noise and odour emissions. Nothing has changed in regards to registering – it is essentially the same as it would be for a full ECA in the sense that you still require full reports (or at least the associated screening to say that a report is not required). One difference is that the work is now to be signed off on by a professional engineer independent of the MOECC rather than by the MOECC. Specific documents related to a facility’s emissions of air, noise and odour will have to be supplied to the Ministry and the public and the detailed reports and any addendums made over time are to be kept at the facility.

 

Cap and Trade, Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) and other Regulation Changes that Impact Your Business

The new Cap and Trade is designed to help fight climate change and  reward businesses that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. There are also new regulation changes to the Environmental Activities and Sector Registry (EASR).  New regulations and legislative changes like this will help to improve our environment, but require some changes for how your business operates and reports environmental compliance to the Ministry.

Cambium’s mission is to provide exceptional service guiding decisions for a better future. With regulation changes, we strive to engage in new learning opportunities and participate in continued education in order to provide our clients with practical and innovative solutions.  Our Air and Noise Professionals are members of the Air and Waste Management Association (AWMA) and will meet with air practitioners across Ontario next week to discuss the new EASR regulation (O.Reg. 1/17) requirements which include air, noise, and odour updates, in addition to other items such as modelling updates and licensing obligations.

Our team will be sharing information from these sessions through future blog posts to help you better understand these changes and how it may impact your operations. Some of this information will include:

  • EASR Regulation Registration Process Updates and Associated Professional Engineers Obligations;
  • General Environmental Compliance Approval Updates and Future Plans; and
  • Cap and Trade Requirements.

Our Air and Noise Specialists have worked with many manufactures and industrial companies throughout Peterborough, Barrie, Kingston, and central Ontario. Give Sadie Bachynski a call if you have any questions, need advice or would like a quote for our services.

Tips to Prolong a Septic System Lifespan

Your septic (on-site wastewater treatment) system and some easy tips to prolong its lifespan and preserve your water quality.

On-site wastewater treatment systems, commonly referred to as septic systems, can be found at just about every rural residence or cottage.  An on-site wastewater treatment system is just that, a system that treats wastewater and is located on the same property as the building it services.  As many studies have concluded, ineffective septic systems directly affect water quality of lakes and rivers by adding nutrients to the system.

What Is An On-Site Wastewater Treatment System?

Most commonly, an on-site wastewater treatment system consists of a septic tank followed by a leaching bed; both sized accordingly based on the type of building it services.  A septic tank is ordinarily made of concrete or polyethylene and is buried near the building it services.  The role of the septic tank is to provide primary treatment by separating heavy solids (sludge) and lighter materials (oils and grease) from the sewage.  If a wastewater treatment system has been installed or upgraded since 2007, then the septic tank will also have an effluent filter on the outlet of the septic tank.  The effluent filter provides additional filtration of fine particles and further prevents scum from flowing into the leaching bed, prolonging the life of the bed.  Generally, the effluent then flows by gravity from the septic tank to a leaching bed that is developed based on the property area, soil characteristics, depth to groundwater, and distances to buildings, lakes, streams, property lines, and wells.  The leaching bed is typically made up of several equally spaced lengths of perforated PVC pipes which are laid in gravel overlying the native soil or imported sand.  The underlying soil dynamics are an important part of a septic system; the sewage effluent is treated by biological, chemical, and physical processes as it trickles from the leaching bed through the soil.  A wastewater treatment system designed in this fashion and in good working order has been demonstrated to provide excellent treatment of sewage protecting nearby lakes and rivers.

on-site wastewater treatment system

Cambium’s On-Site wastewater treatment system for a camp resort

on-site wastewater system Upgrades and Maintenance

Many wastewater treatment systems in Ontario are several decades old; however, this does not mean that the treatment system is no longer effective. Wastewater systems used only seasonally tend to last much longer than a wastewater system used year-round.  The lifespan of a wastewater treatment system initially set by the appropriateness of the design, technology, location, and construction of the system but proper maintenance and operation are equally important.

Since a wastewater treatment system is the responsibility of the property owner, it is up to you to ensure your wastewater treatment system is functioning properly in order to protect human health and the environment on and around your property, as well as prolong the life of your investment. For property owners that live near lakes or streams, this is especially important as malfunctioning septic systems can pollute both your drinking water and the lake or stream. Effluent is what the sewage treated by your septic system is called. Sewage is primarily composed of organic nutrients such as ammonia, nitrates, carbon, and phosphorus. Effluent that has been ineffectively treated by a malfunctioning septic system, disposes nutrient laden water into the ground and nearby water bodies. The nutrients act as a fertilizer increasing the rate of growth of water plants and algae, resulting the eutrophication (using up the oxygen) of lakes, which can be fatal to aquatic life like fish.

The following are some tips and minor upgrades that, if completed, will not only extend the life of your wastewater treatment system, but will make your system easier to service when needed:

  • Learn the components of your wastewater treatment systems and where they are;
  • Only have licenced contractors install, service, or repair your system and ask for proof of certification;
  • Have a licenced contractor add watertight sealed access risers to your septic tank lids;
  • Keep all records of service performed on your wastewater system;
  • Test your well water for bacteria regularly (consult your local health department for more information);
  • Have a licenced contractor inspect your septic tank every 3-5 years, and pump the septic tank if your scum and sludge is more than 1/3 of the volume of the tank;
  • Have a licenced contractor install an effluent filter;
  • Conserve water use and spread heavy water use appliances over the day;
  • Avoid pouring oils and grease down the drain;
  • Do not flush pharmaceuticals, chemicals, sanitary products, or paint;
  • Do not use a garburator;
  • Do not use special additives promising improved septic performance;
  • Do not encroach on the wastewater system with trees, buildings, vehicles, driveways, etc.; and,
  • Do not connect any rainwater downspouts, sump pumps, or water softeners to the wastewater treatment system.
  • Although not prominently visible, your on-site wastewater treatment system is a critical component of your home or cottage and must be maintained and cared for in order to prolong its lifespan, protect the lakes and rivers we enjoy, and protect your health. If renovating or building new, it is suggested that you contact a professional at the start of your project design to ensure your septic needs.

Septic on-site wastewater treatment system

Cambium’s new spectic system – onsite waterwater system.


 

Cambium’s professionals are experts in water and wastewater engineering. We have extensive experience with onsite wastewater treatment and water treatment programs. Our team has worked with a wide range of clients including school boards, campgrounds, resorts, commercial businesses, property developers, industrial users, municipalities and individual land owners throughout Peterborough, Barrie, Kingston, and central Ontario. Give us a call or email Kevin Warner or Stewart Dolstra, (our team page) if you have any questions, need advice or would like a quote for our services.

 

 

Environmental Site Assessments

Are you looking to purchase or develop commercial property? There are some things you should know before you buy. Having an Environmental Site Assessment is a necessary part of making a large property investment.

If you are working with a financial institution, real estate, or funding bodies, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is almost always required so all parties involved are aware of the potential risks. Knowing the environmental state of a property prior to completing a real estate transaction can help you save a significant amount of time and money. You wouldn’t buy a used car without knowing its history; similarly it would be unwise to take the risk with your property investments. A Phase I ESA, conducted by a qualified person, is a historical document review and on-site visual inspection that provides details on whether there is a risk of contamination at the site. When Cambium conducts a Phase I Site Assessment (http://www.cambium-inc.com/environmental-site-assessments.php), we look at the historical activity and use of the site. While completing the site inspection we examine all areas and surrounding properties to identify environmental concerns such as underground and above ground storage tanks. A final report will outline our findings and note if there is a concern for potential contamination – in which case the recommendation is to follow-up with a Phase II ESA.

If you reach the point where a Phase II ESA is recommended – this is where intrusive investigation takes place. In short, we go below the surface to take groundwater and soil samples. It’s one thing to know about the potential of contamination and another to confirm the contamination and its extent. During a Phase II, our team would drill for soil samples and install monitoring wells to collect groundwater samples – all of which are forwarded to a certified testing lab to confirm the results. The final results of a Phase II ESA will define the nature and extent of any contamination and/or hazardous materials present at the site. Cambium’s team provides a thorough report which includes projected expenses on the remediation of the site. This report also provides a cost outline for how the remediation will affect your property value

Looking to learn more about Environmental Site Assessments?

ESAs are one of Cambium’s primary areas of expertise. We have worked with many financial institutions, commercial realtors, and private businesses throughout Peterborough, Barrie, Kingston, and central Ontario completing Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) and Records of Site Condition (RSC). Give us a call  or email Brad Sawdon, Bernie Taylor or David Mably on our teamif you have any questions, need advice or would like a quote for our services.

Cambium Environmental Site Assessment and Records of Site Condition Services

Environmental Site Assessments at Manufacturing Sites
An Environmental Site Assessment conducted at a manufacturing will identify any risk of environmental contamination

City of Ottawa Takes Lead in Noise and Land Use Compatibility

The City of Ottawa’s 2016 update to their Environmental Noise Control Guidelines  has established the City as a leader among Ontario municipalities in addressing a major side effect of high density development and urban intensification – land use compatibility disputes between neighbours as it relates their noise sensitivities and noise production.

While improved noise guidelines for land use planning were developed and published by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) in their 2013 publication Environmental Noise Guideline – Stationary and Transportation Source – Approval and Planning (NPC-300) , the MOECC has no authority under the Planning Act; as such, adoption and enforcement of the guidelines is at the discretion of the local planning authority.  The MOECC however does enforce the NPC-300 criteria on noise emitting industries under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA); but without equal enforcement of noise guidelines by the municipality during the land use planning process, cases of existing industries that were previously compliant with the EPA forced to install costly noise controls to remain compliant as a result of their new, noise sensitive neighbours, has become all too common, with negative impacts on both the industry and noise sensitive occupants.

The City of Ottawa’s updated guideline takes a major step toward avoiding these land use compatibility issues in their municipality, most significantly through comprehensive criteria for triggering the requirement for noise studies for both noise sensitive and noise generating developments. Additionally, clear guidance is provided for varying levels of noise studies:

  • A Phase 1 Noise Control Feasibility Study, to establish whether or not noise will be an issue;
  • A Phase 2 Noise Control Detailed Study, to provide a detailed assessment of noise impacts and mitigation requirements.

A crucial requirement for the Phase 2 study, is that mitigation measures must be included as specific designs in the Site Plan, not simply as recommendations that a certain criteria be met. By including specific designs as part of the Site Plan Control the City is ensuring that the required mitigation measures will actually be implemented.  This benefits both industry and residential developments by ensuring that all developments consider existing and potential future noise impacts on others, as well as on themselves.

The City of Ottawa’s previous guidelines were already a step ahead in protecting both noise sensitive developments and existing industries, and this update has raised the bar once again.

http://documents.ottawa.ca/sites/documents.ottawa.ca/files/documents/enviro_noise_guide_en.pdf

http://www.cambium-inc.com/publication-npc-300.php

http://www.cambium-inc.com/acoustic-vibration-control.php

 

Cambium Opens Kingston Office

Cambium's Kingston Office at 710 Arlington Park Place
Cambium’s Kingston Office at 710 Arlington Park Place

Cambium is proud to announce the opening of its newest office in Kingston, Ontario. With the opening of the Kingston office, we now have 5 locations across central Ontario to service our growing client base. Our decision to establish a permanent presence in Kingston was an easy one to make. The main factor for opening the new office was due to the increase in service requests from clients in the region coupled with opportunities to collaborate with the existing team of local professionals.

The office officially opened its doors in June, but Cambium is no stranger to the City having already worked in the community and with neighbouring municipalities for many years. At the onset of its phenomenal growth three-years ago, Cambium established regional offices in Oshawa and Barrie. “We are responding to the needs of our clients combined with the eagerness of our team to offer our services to a broader audience,” shares President/CEO, John Desbiens, P.Eng.

Kingston is a strong, vibrant community offering exciting opportunity for businesses and economic growth. We look forward to being a part of the community for many years to come.

http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/2016/07/07/peterborough-engineering-consulting-firm-cambium-expanding-to-kingston