September 19, 2005

Four-year renewal granted for Irving Oil refinery air quality permit

The air quality approval for Irving Oil's Saint John, New Brunswick refinery will be renewed for a four-year term, effective October 1, 2005.

"The department feels that a four-year approval will provide Irving Oil Ltd with adequate time to address the identified issues and gather additional operating history with its upgraded refinery, including the proposed new Tail Gas unit," said acting Environment and Local Government Minister Dale Graham.

The renewal process included public consultation, with a 120-day public review period running from March 31 to August 22, 2005.

Among other things, Irving Oil will be required to review emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the refinery and to provide the department, by March 31, 2006, an implementation plan for reducing VOC emissions. This initiative will focus in particular on VOC emissions from the loading racks for railcars and tank trucks.

Neither loading operations at the East Saint John Marine Terminal nor the Canaport Terminal will be covered under the refinery approval. Consideration is being given, however, to requiring approvals for bulk terminals in the province and it is expected that both the Canaport and East Saint John terminals would be captured under this initiative.

By March 31, 2008, the refinery is to be in full compliance with provisions of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment's 1991 Environmental Code of Practice for Vapour Recovery in Gasoline Distribution Networks relate to loading and unloading of railcars and tank trucks.

In the future, consistent with Canada's National Framework for Petroleum Refinery Emissions Reductions (NFPRER) process, it is expected that facility-wide emission caps will be established for two levels of particulate matter, PM10 and PM2.5. In the meantime, emission limits for the refinery's fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) have been revised to a limit of 325 kg/day based on an annual average.

In case of a mechanical failure or if a two-month rolling average exceeds 350 kg/day, the company will be required to prepare and submit to the Department within 30 days a plan to ensure emission levels remain within the specified limit.

In addition, Irving must have an odour impact study carried out by a qualified consultant before December 15, 2005. The study's main purpose will be to determine the impacts of odours from the refinery on the surrounding community in order to reduce the odour impacts to a target level of one odour unit per cubic metre at all monitoring sites. This limit will be based on the 98th percentile of all samples taken within a calendar year.

The approval sets out the minimum required content of the study, including: an odour impact analysis; odour dispersion modelling; an assessment of the applicability of currently available technology for real-time odour measurement and predictive odour impact modelling; recommended actions for odour abatement; a proposed schedule for implementation of the recommended actions; and an assessment of, and training for, departmental and refinery staff required to conduct odour tour monitoring.

Documentation supporting the approval review is available from offices of the Department of Environment and Local Government or on the department's Web site,

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