Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECA)

Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECA)


In Ontario, most industrial facilities are required to have an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) - formerly known as Certificate of Approval (CofA) - granted by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) in order to operate. Anyone who constructs, alters, replaces or extends anything that may discharge containment into the natural environment, other than water must obtain an ECA prior to any undertakings. Ministry approval is requires before you operate, install, or modify equipment that discharges, or is likely to discharge, contaminants into the natural environment.  Contaminants are defined as any solid, liquid, gas, odour, heat, sound, vibration, or radiation that may cause an adverse effect.

Cambium has exceptionally experienced staff with the expertise to assist companies with the preparation of ECA applications, and the development of operations that work to achieve the MOECC standards and guidelines. Our knowledge and understanding of the MOECC regulations is a standard component of our services. We can assist you with the ECA application which can include the following undertakings:

  • Review all existing ECA documents (if any), applications, and source inventory information.
  • Develop a strategic approach for the application to ensure the details within the ECA do not restrict operations at the facility.
  • Update or develop the source and emission inventory for the current and/or the proposed plan.
  • Emission rate estimates and MOECC approved dispersion modelling – including Air Dispersion.
  • Modelling and Emission Summary and Dispersion Modelling report.
  • Stack Testing for precise measurements of contaminant emission rates.
  • Acoustic Assessment reports.
  • System review and data collection as appropriate.
  • Update/develop site/source plans.
  • Prepare and complete application including necessary supporting study documentation, designs, and the associated forms and checklists.
  • Liaise with the MOECC review engineers and assess any further compliance measures requested.

Source Testing

Source testing, also referred to as stack testing or emissions testing, is used to determine the discharge rate of pollutants into the air, typically from samples collected from an exhaust stack. Source testing is often required as a condition of a facility’s Environmental Compliance Approval submission or amendment through the Ministry.

Cambium’s team of professionals has extensive experience conducting stack testing of emission sources and ambient monitoring of airborne contaminant concentration. We strive to offer solutions to meet and surpass operational and legislative requirements of commercial, industrial, institutional and municipal markets across Canada. We have a proven record of accomplishment in regulator-approved source testing.

Cambium can prepare a source testing pre-test plan for the Ministry to review and approve. Typically these plans must be submitted within three-months of the start of operations of equipment or approval if the equipment is already installed. Upon approval, we would commence a Source Testing Program and subsequently provide a comprehensive report to the client for submission to the Ministry.

Emission testing (stack and ambient) can be of assistance for a number of reasons, including:

  • To determine contaminant emission quantities and rates for use in dispersion modelling or pollutant discharge inventories as required by federal, provincial or municipal legislation
  • To quantify process releases when conducting mass balance and process optimization studies
  • To evaluate the risk (loss control and occupational health and safety) associated with the airborne contaminant concentration
  • To determine or characterize the locations of air emissions within a facility or process
  • To verify the airborne concentration of contaminants as calculated by dispersion modelling

Air Dispersion Modelling

Air dispersion modeling is the mathematical estimation of pollutant impacts from emission sources within a study area. Several factors impact the rate of transportation of contaminants in the atmosphere including quantity and type of emissions, meteorological conditions, site configuration, emission release characteristics, and surrounding terrain, among others. Air dispersion modelling is conducted for a number of reasons, including:

  • Calculating airborne contaminant Point of Impingement (POI) concentrations as required by Ontario Ministry’s Regulation 419/05;
  • Visualizing the path of discharged airborne contaminants released to the environment to assess the potential for re-entrainment and the boundaries the contaminant impact zone;
  • Determining the predicted efficacy of proposed engineering controls upon the contaminant POI concentration and the contaminant discharge zone; and,
  • Reconstructing historical exposures, both occupational and environmental, to discharged airborne contaminants for insurance and litigation purposes.

Cambium has dedicated professional and experienced staff focused on assisting our clients with the preparation of contaminant dispersion modeling reports for discharged airborne contaminants. We utilize the current ISC-AERMOD software to generate site-specific three-dimensional modeling of airborne contaminants released from facility emission sources. Part II of Ontario Regulation 419/05 recognizes AERMOD as an approved dispersion model for discharges of contaminants. Cambium also has the capability to complete air dispersion modeling using Ontario Regulation 308 software provided by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.