CSA Group opens new HazMat lab in Edmonton

CSA Group says the new facility will also offer testing for windows and doors

CSA Group has opened a new testing and certification laboratory in Edmonton, Alta.

The new facility specializes in testing and certification for hazardous locations, such as equipment used in oil, gas, mining, marine and fertilizer production. The expansion doubles the testing capacity of the previous lab to provide enhanced service for the increasing needs of explosive atmosphere testing and certification, not only in Alberta, but across North America.

“CSA Group is a world leader in explosive atmosphere testing, and our services for hazardous location testing and certification are growing to meet the needs of our oil and gas clients in Alberta and throughout Canada,” says Nashir Jiwani, VP of CSA Group in Canada. “We are also committed to developing leading standards and building world-class facilities to meet the needs of our clients around the world.”
. There will now be 37 different tests offered for windows and doors, including environmental factors, durability and energy efficiency.

“CSA Group’s state-of-the art windows and doors lab specializes in testing new windows and doors to North American fenestration requirements,” says Jiwani. “Manufacturers will be required to have their products tested to these standards under the updated National Building Code.”

U.S. chemical safety bill passes committee vote

If the bill passes a full Senate vote, it would mark the first substantial update to the Toxic Substances Control Act since the law was adopted in 1976.

Safety standards for thousands of unregulated chemicals could be on the way, following a bipartisan bill’s approval at the committee level Tuesday.

If the bill passes a full Senate vote, it would mark the first substantial update to the Toxic Substances Control Act since the law was adopted in 1976.

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act requires all new and existing chemicals be reviewed for safety, establishes new funding for EPA through user fees, and gives EPA new authority to require testing.

Since 1994 alone, more than 10,000 chemicals have come onto the market

EPA eyes Superfund removal of New Jersey landfill site

Contaminants originally found in the 10-acre site’s surface soil included sediments like fly ash and fine particles of ash from a solid fuel caused by waste gases from manufacturing

After a decade on the U.S. Superfund list, the EPA says it’s time to remove the Crown Vantage Landfill Site in Alexandria Township, N.J., once an industrial landfill that served a nearby paper mill.

Contaminants originally found in the 10-acre site’s surface soil included  sediments like fly ash and fine particles of ash from a solid fuel caused by waste gases from manufacturing.

In April 2007, EPA developed a Work Plan to address specific activities, including stabilizing the entire face of the landfill to prevent erosion; securing the site against unauthorized access; and identifying, retrieving, and removing any containers and their contents above ground to prevent direct contact with these materials. These activities were completed by September 2007.

Ont. concrete company gets fine plus creative sentencing

Rainbow Concrete has agreed to offer stream and bank remediation around the Junction Creek area, as well as implement a training program for its staff

Ontario-based Rainbow Concrete Industries Ltd. has been fined $40,000 for discharging wastewater from ready-mix cement trucks into a wetland near a creek, but in the spirit of creative sentencing the Sudbury company will also perform on-site rehabilitation worth nearly $110,000.

Rainbow Concrete has agreed to offer stream and bank remediation around the Junction Creek area, as well as implement a training program for its staff.

In response to a public complaint, two environmental officers attended the property and observed company trucks entering the property for the purpose of discharging concrete wastewater. Environmental officers returned to the site and noted that more concrete wastewater had been discharged.

Rainbow Concrete has also agreed to make a $10,000 donation to the Vale Centre’s Living with Lakes program at Laurentien University for water quality research.

Ohio Haz waste incinerator fined $34K for 2013 malfunction

The levels of lead on a backyard slide were more than twice the EPA’s soil standard

An Ohio hazardous waste incinerator company will pay the EPA $34,000 for 761 pounds of ash that spewed arsenic and lead into the area in 2013 following a malfunction.

The levels of lead on a backyard slide were more than twice the EPA’s soil standard.

is required to make changes to prevent future problems at the facility.

The settlement comes as the U.S. EPA is conducting its own investigation into the incinerator.

The incinerator burns about 60,000 tons of waste too toxic for landfills. Heritage drew wide attention in the 1990s when residents and environmental groups protested its construction.

Ontario seeking to double HazMat waste fees

Ontario is accepting comments on the HWIN proposal until Sept. 19 under EBR Registry number 012-3915

To achieve full program cost recovery, Ontario is proposing to raise fees for its Hazardous Waste Information Network (HWIN), where fees have been frozen since their inception in 2002.

The Ministry of Environment & Climate Change posted the proposal to Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights registry on Aug. 5, as an amendment to O. Reg 347 under the Environmental Protection Act.

The proposal would raise the tonnage component of Hazardous Waste Fees from $10 per tonne to $20 per tonne for hazardous waste transferred or disposed of between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2016.

The tonnage component of the Hazardous Waste Fees would be further increased to $30 per tonne as of January 1, 2017. The ministry proposes to phase the fee change in over a two-year period to give hazardous waste generators time to adapt processes before the full impact of the fee change is in place.

Subject waste includes liquid industrial waste, hazardous waste or specific treated characteristic waste. The regulatory activities include tracking the movement of such waste from generation or point of last transfer before import (for waste from out-of-province) to final destination.

Ontario is accepting comments on the HWIN proposal until Sept. 19 under EBR Registry number 012-3915.

Now You’re Cooking: First responders defend against ‘Kitchen Menace’

This handheld device for chemical detection and identification is a downrange tool for situational understanding. It expands the survey mission with a focused objective, sniffing out priority chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial materials, and precursors.


As of June, there were 100 million registered chemicals in the American Chemical Society database. Some are naturally occurring, while others have been manmade. Combinations of these chemicals can produce useful, interesting, or sometimes … deadly reactions. While many chemicals are used for industrial purposes, some perform double-duty as useful household cleaning agents and – when introduced to the perfect mate – explosives, poisons or intoxicants.

In recent years, there’s been a change in the type of chemicals encountered by first responders and law enforcement at a response scene. As the Internet now allows for anyone to explore various options for combining common household items, threats are becoming more diverse, and therefore, harder to anticipate and prepare for.


Stepping Onto The Scene

There are already several go-to systems that are part of the first responder toolkit, including ion-mobility spectrometry (IMS) detectors, and handheld devices based on Raman and FTIR spectroscopy. Being armed with these instruments is increasingly considered a safety best practice, along with ensuring proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn.

Often, the initial step first responders take in analyzing their surroundings is to utilize a training protocol developed by HazMat IQ and executed with their “Stay Alive Five” equipment. This kit, sold as the SAFe Kit, includes a radiation detector, pH paper, fluorine paper, a temperature gun and a lower explosive limit (LEL) meter. Each piece of equipment allows responders to be more prepared, decrease their incident response time, and ensure responder safety in situations when hazards may not be visible.

Another tool that responders will utilize during their evaluation is their IMS device, which analyzes airborne chemicals. IMS technology is incredibly sensitive and handheld IMS products have been successfully used to give responders early warning of the presence of particularly harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, these devices have a high rate of false alarms, which means they frequently alert for serious threats such as chemical weapons that are not actually present. Due to their lack of selectivity, common substances such as diesel fumes and household cleaning products will trigger the device.

Most recently, the first responder toolkit has been expanded with the addition of M908 (watch video), a new device that utilizes high-pressure mass spectrometry (HPMS), effectively bringing the power of mass spectrometry right to where responders need it. This handheld device for chemical detection and identification is a downrange tool for situational understanding. It expands the survey mission with a focused objective, sniffing out priority chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial materials, and precursors. The dramatically increased selectivity of HPMS over IMS allows identification of a much broader list of target materials without false alarms, even when background or interferent compounds are present. When utilized together, as first responders make their way through the hotzone and the IMS is going off, they can look to M908 for a fast confirmation and identification of immediate danger.

Once the site is rendered safe by ruling out the presence of priority threats, first responders can continue and further interrogate samples to put together the puzzle pieces at the scene. Raman and FTIR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy) tools allow responders to analyze the solid and liquid compounds surrounding them using light scattering techniques. These tools are instrumental in identifying ambiguous chemicals – for example, is that powder on the floor of a bedroom an explosive (terrorist activity), cocaine (drug activity), or baby powder (hastily changed diaper?)

These tools are primarily used as bulk solid and liquid identification techniques and have the capability to identify thousands of material types. As such, these tools are often utilized at the end of an evaluation to determine the identity of all visible materials at the scene. With near-trace to bulk solid and liquid identification capabilities, M908 can also be utilized in conjunction with these tools, swabbing for residues on surfaces and performing a first pass at solid and liquid materials present to assist in rendering the site safe before Raman and FTIR are used to complete the mission.

Cleaning Up the Kitchen Menace

With the addition of M908 the new responder tool kit now has the tools necessary to protect first responders from evolving threats. As clandestine and household labs become more and more common in crime and disaster scenes, first responders must be equipped with tools downrange that are sensitive and selective enough to alarm them to priority threats. While the current toolkit contains a robust selection of analytical tools and meters, each has both benefits and limitations. It is the combination of these impressive detectors that will add real benefit to first responders’ activities. M908 allows for responders to more accurately confirm the presence of priority threats and quickly determine mission objectives in real time.

About Dr. Kevin Knopp

Knopp is co-founder & CEO of 908 Devices Inc. As an experienced high-tech entrepreneur, Kevin co-founded Ahura Scientific in 2002, and was Senior Vice President overseeing Operations, R&D and Safety and Security Sales through Ahura’s acquisition by Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2010, where he continued as Vice-President and Site Leader of the Portable Optical Analysis division. Kevin served as an independent board member for Crystal IS until its acquisition by Asahi-Kasei. He earned B.S.E.E from Boston University, M.S.E.E, and Ph.D. degrees in Optics from the University of Colorado. Kevin is an inventor on more than 20 US patents, is an author on more than a dozen refereed publications, and his products have received R&D 100, Business Week IDEA, GSN, CPhI Gold, Cygnus, and Frost & Sullivan awards.

Edmonton needs 25 new HazMat techs, says chief

Edmonton currently has 110 trained HazMat technicians, but dealing with 813 spill-dominated HazMat calls in 2014 put stress on the team
HazMat calls are on the rise in Edmonton, arguably a “petrochemical capital,” and the city’s Fire Chief wants to hire 25 HazMat technicians to bridge the gap, a move that could cost upwards of $2.4 million per year.

Edmonton currently has 110 trained HazMat technicians, but dealing with 813 spill-dominated HazMat calls in 2014 put stress on the team. The Chief, Ken Block, only expects HazMat calls to increase in the coming year.

The number of train cars carrying oil products in Alberta is expected to jump by 242 per cent from 2012 to 2024, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

Environmental Opportunities in HydroFracking

In November of 2014, President Obama stated in the press conference that he was skeptical of the claims by proponents that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would create jobs. In its review of the project, the U.S. State Department estimated that the project would create 3,900 jobs during the two years of construction and 50 permanent jobs during operation.

With the recent Presidential election results in the United States, there are many who think that the Keystone XL pipeline project may well be approved and other controversial activities, such has hydrofracking, will also get the go-ahead by a “jobs-first” administration.

Opponents of the hydrofracking claim the environmental harm from accessing oil and natural gas from shale is not worth the jobs and cheap energy.

In Canada, fervent environmental activists have made up their minds that hydrofracking anywhere in the country is too dangerous and should not be pursued (there is natural gas trapped in shale rock deposits in various provinces including the Maritimes, Upper Canada, and Western Canada).

Opposition to hydrofracking has been so ardent that there are moratoriums on fracking in Nova Scoatia, New Brunswick and Quebec. A poll conducted by EKOS Research and released by the the Council of Canadians (a not-for-profit lobby group that is anti-fracking) claims 70% of Canadians support a national moratorium on fracking until is scientifically proven to be safe (the question asked during polling was prefaced with anti-fracking statements).

The Council of Canadians (CofC) wants no fracking in Canada because of, amongst other things, its high water use and the danger it poses to groundwater and local drinking water. It seems the CofC is of the opinion that no technology exists today that can treat the water used in fracking to acceptable levels despite the fact the wastewater generated from fracking is no more difficult to treat than industrial or municipal sewage.

Since fracking first began in 1950’s, there continues to be much research, development, and implementation of new technologies and methods for the safe extraction of oil and natural gas along with the proper treatment and reuse of water.

What is Fracking?

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “hydrofracking or “fracking”, is a method of recovering natural gas and involves the injection of large quantities of water, sand, along with chemical additives (i.e., surfactants and gelling agents) at high pressure down a well into a rock formation. The pressurized mixture causes fractures in the rock which results in the release of natural gas or oil.

Fracking releases the petroleum products that had been embedded in the rock where they are captured at the surface along with a portion of the original fracking fluid (flowback water). The controversy around fracking is the concern of the contamination of local water supplies.

Fracking has been taking place in Canada for over 50 years. During that time, there have been over 175,000 wells drilled and not a single case of drinking water contamination has been recorded.

Environmental Issues

One of the major environmental concerns related to fracking of the water used in hydrofracking that flows back up the well (referred to as “flowback”). There are a number of options for treating the flowback including deep well injection (relatively inexpensive) to treatment prior to discharge to receiving waters (relatively expensive).

With available water be a limiting factor in the development of some natural gas resources, much focus has been placed on recycling the flowback so it can be reused in other fracture wells. Recycling flowback can offset water source requirements while avoiding the relatively high cost associated with flowback water disposal.

There is nothing special about fracking water that cannot be treated using today’s wastewater treatment technologies. According to Statistics Canada, there were 61, 572 jobs in the oil and gas industry in 2013. There were 99, 435 jobs in “Support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction” in 2013. Included in these figures are environmental jobs.

Moving Forward

The incredible natural resources in Canada have been a key to our prosperity. Tapping these resources does impact the environment. Managing and mitigating the environment impacts is important to our continued prosperity. Shutting down any development of oil and natural gas supplies is short sighted and ignores the continued advances in innovation water recycling and wastewater treatment technologies. It also destroys jobs in the oil and gas industry as well as the environment industry.

New Contaminated Sites Regulations in British Columbia

On September 21, 2016, the Minister of Environment Mary Polak amended the Contaminated Sites Regulation, B.C. Reg. 375/96 (the “Regulations”). The amendments took effect November 1st, 2017, following a 12-month transition period, and have been a long time coming, as the Regulations have been sparingly updated since its implementation in 1997.

The amendments will incorporate new soil, water, and vapour standards that were developed while taking into account a number of considerations. These include up-to-date toxicology data, the new B.C. environment groundwater model, and new deviation protocols for environmental quality standards from environmental agencies around the world. Because existing sediment quality criteria already reflect standards used throughout North America, sediment standards remain substantially unchanged.

To improve ease-of-use, the Regulations have been reorganized and consolidated into four schedules, each representing standards for an environmental medium — soil, water, sediment, and vapour. A number of Contaminants of Emerging Concern have been added, and the Regulations will now address several specific exposure/land use scenarios, setting particular soil standards for High and Low Density Residential land use, ecological impact standards for Natural and Reverted Wildlands, and vapour standards for at-surface and below-surface parkade facilities.

To streamline the soil relocation process, the new soil and vapour standards will also be used to determine when a soil relocation agreement is required to relocate soil, and leachate tests may now be used (with authorization) to demonstrate that water quality will not be impacted at a soil receiving site.

The Regulations will trigger the need for consequential amendments to the Hazardous Waste Regulation, B.C. Reg. 63/88 and Organic Matter Recycling Regulation, B.C. Reg. 18/2002, which haven’t been amended since the 1980s, to bring their standards in line with the Regulations.

Finally, to ensure standards remain scientifically and economically defensible, the Regulations will include provisions requiring the director to review the standards every five years and bring any recommended changes to the attention of the Minister.

The new Regulations will have wide reaching implications on the identification and remediation of contaminated sites, and will likely have implications for property owners across the Province. Owners and potential purchasers of potentially contaminated property should be aware of the consequences of the new Regulations.

About the Author

Luke Dineley is a partner in both BLG’s Insurance and Tort Liability Group and Environmental Law Group in our Vancouver office. Luke focuses his practice on civil litigation, with an emphasis on insurance and tort law, and environmental law.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. This article published by Borden Ladner Gervais.