Environmental permits are a way for governing bodies to ensure that facilities (typically industrial, commercial and institutional) operate in compliance with standards that they have set. These permits may relate to air, water or land. In Ontario, since the Environmental Protection Act came into force in 1972, there has been a requirement to obtain an Approval from the Ministry of the Environment for certain activities (air/noise emissions, waste management systems and disposal sites, sewage works). In October 2011, the MOE introduced a two-path process: an online registry process (EASR – Environmental Activity and Registration) for ‘standard’ activities (simple, well-understood impacts). EASR registration eliminates the requirement to submit an Environmental Compliance Approval (formerly called Certificate of Approval) for those processes/sectors. More complex activities and larger facilities still require an ECA for any sources not covered by an EASR registration. The ECA application process is similar to the previous Certificate of Approval process.
Currently EASR registration is available for Heating Systems, Standby Power Systems, Automotive Refinishing, Printing, Waste Management Systems and Solar facilities, if specific conditions are met. Additional EASR regulations are in varying stages of development.
Additionally, individual cities have also begun to require permits – for example, the City of Oakville has introduced a bylaw requiring facilities which emit certain contaminants to obtain a municipal air emissions approval.
The application processes and assessments required to obtain environmental permits are detailed, technical, complex, and occasionally convoluted – and increasingly difficult for facilities to prepare in-house. In addition, the requirements are fluid – they can be modified by the governing bodies as need arises.
Once a permit is received, there are frequently conditions attached which require the facility to maintain current assessments and dispersion modelling.
WESA has over 25 years of experience assisting clients navigate through the air/noise, waste and water/sewage works assessments and other environmental permitting processes. We've worked with all parties involved - both the regulated community and the governments developing the regulations; this has provided invaluable insight into the requirements and the processes involved.
We have a team of professionals with the required knowledge, experience and accreditation to assist you with your permitting needs - from application to compliance assistance with any on-going maintenance requirements (maintaining current assessments, modelling etc). Our objective is to help you ensure that your facility operates in compliance with the regulatory requirements that apply to it. We have the experience, knowledge and flexibility to understand your operations and develop our processes so that they work with your operations and systems; we don't try to force your operations to fit our system.
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