Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECA)

Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECA)


Any company with complex or unique types of operations that emits containments and discharges related to air, noise, waste and sewage into the natural environment requires an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA). The purpose of this approval is to ensure your business activities do not have any adverse effects on the environment and individuals. An ECA is typically required for specific industries including manufacturing and industrial, cement, waste, and oil refineries. Companies must apply for and receive ECA approvals from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), formerly Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) in order to operate. An amendment to your ECA is also required if you install or modify equipment in your facility that discharges emissions to the environment. Contaminants are defined as any solid, chemical, gas, odour, heat, noise, vibration, or radiation that may cause an adverse effect to the environment. An ECA is typically required for specific industries including manufacturing and industrial, cement, waste, and oil refineries.

Similarly, businesses with less complex operations and activities that pose minimal risk are required to submit for approval through the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). The differences between EASR and ECA are outlined in PDF document accessible here.

Cambium’s team of engineers and technicians specialize in all things related to the ECA application and approval process. We have a proven record of success in assisting companies with the preparation of ECA applications, and the development of operations that work to achieve the MECP standards and guidelines. Our team goes the extra mile and will liaise with MECP review engineers to assess any further requested compliance measures. Cambium provides solutions that meet and surpass operational and legislative requirements of commercial, industrial, institutional and municipal markets across Canada. Our knowledge and understanding of the MECP regulations is a standard component of our services. We can assist you with the ECA application for air and noise emissions which may include the following:

  • Emissions Summary and Dispersion Modelling Report which includes air dispersion modelling with emission rate estimates and a dispersion model from your operations that aligns with MECP guidelines. We utilize the approved ISC-AERMOD software to generate site-specific three-dimensional modeling of airborne contaminants released from facility emission sources.
  • Acoustic Assessment Report showing measured or estimated noise emissions from equipment onsite, modeled noise impacts at nearby sensitive receptors, and a comparison of predicted impacts with regulatory guidelines.
  • Mitigation control plans if necessary.

Cambium can also assist with any additional work may be required related to an ECA based on the needs of the facility or requirements as set by the MECP and they may include:

  • Annual updates and/or ECA amendments.
  • Coordinate and arrange for stack testing, also referred to as source testing for precise measurements of contaminant emission rates.

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.