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National Pollutant Release Inventory
Meeting the Needs of Industry
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The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) was created in 1992 to provide information on pollutants released to the environment and transferred for disposal. Reporting of NPRI is mandated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).

Each year, Environment Canada updates the NPRI substance list and revises reporting criteria after consultation with stakeholders. The NPRI currently tracks over 300 substances or groups of substances.

The Goals of NPRI are to:

  • provide Canadians with access to pollutant release information for facilities located in their communities
  • assist governments and others in identifying priorities for action
  • encourage industry to take voluntary measures to reduce releases
  • allow for tracking of progress in the reduction of releases
  • support a number of regulatory initiatives across Canada

The NPRI substances are broken into several Parts:

  • Part 1
    • Group 1 General list of 232 substances and families
    • Group 2 Mercury
    • Group 3 Cadmium
    • Group 4 Lead, arsenic, Hex chrome, tetraethyl lead
  • Part 2 Polycycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Part 3 Dioxins & Furans, Hexachlorobenzene
  • Part 4 Criteria Air Contaminants
  • Part 5 Speciated Volatile Organic Compounds

In general, any person in Canada who owns or operates a non-exempt facility is required to submit a report to the NPRI, if they meet all of the three following criteria:

  • employees worked a total of 20,000 hours or more (equivalent to 10 full-time employees) during the calendar year, and
  • the facility manufactured, processed, or otherwise used 10 tonnes (10,000 kg) or more of an NPRI substance in the calendar year including by-products, and
  • the NPRI substance was manufactured, processed or otherwise used at a concentration greater than or equal to 1% by weight, with the exception of NPRI substance considered to be by-products.

Note: There are a number of NPRI substances that have alternate thresholds. These thresholds are substance specific and must be considered for each facility and contaminant.

Note: There are a number of specific activities for which the 20,000 employee hours threshold does not apply.

What is required to be reported to the NPRI?

If the reporting criteria are met for an NPRI substance, then all releases of the substance must be reported regardless of the concentration or amount and include releases to:

  • air
  • underground injection
  • surface water
  • land, and
  • offsite transfers for disposal or recycling

Is there an overlap between main NPRI Listed Substances and Speciation VOCs?

A number of substances on the core NPRI list are also included on the VOC Speciation List.

Examples of some NPRI listed substances that are found both the MPO list and VOC speciation list include:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Methyl alcohol
  • Styrene
  • Propylene
  • Ethylene

For more detailed information on NPRI and your facility, please contact:

Sid Lethbridge
Tel: 519.336.4101 ext. 222

Marnie Freer
Tel: 519.336.4101 ext. 226

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