Algoma Steel Inc. - Order to conform with the Environmental Protection Act

Instrument type: Order to conform with the Environmental Protection Act

ERO number
019-4585
Ministry reference number
8541-C7KQ7Q
Notice type
Instrument
Act
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Decision Updated
Decision posted
Comment period
November 22, 2021 - December 22, 2021 (30 days) Closed
Last updated

Update Announcement

This notice has been updated in order to fix a broken hyper-link to the order

June 17, 2022

This consultation was open from:
November 22, 2021
to December 22, 2021

Decision summary

We have issued a director’s order to Algoma Steel Inc. requiring them to apply for new site-specific standards for air emissions for their Sault Ste. Marie facility by March 31, 2022.

Location details

Site address

105 West Street
Sault Ste Marie, ON
P6A 7B4
Canada

Site location map

The location pin reflects the approximate area where environmental activity is taking place.

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Proponent(s)

Algoma Steel Inc.
105 West Street
Sault Ste Marie, ON
P6A 7B4
Canada

Decision details

Decision overview

Following a 30-day public consultation period, we are issuing an order to Algoma Steel Inc. to require a plan to submit applications for new site-specific standards as follows:

  1. Submit a plan by December 31, 2021 to come into compliance with section 20 of Ontario Regulation 419/05 by applying for new site-specific standards for benzo[a]pyrene, benzene and suspended particulate matter by no later than March 31, 2022.
  2. Complete at least one public meeting on the intended applications for a benzo[a]pyrene, benzene and suspended particulate matter site-specific standards by February 28, 2022.

This order will allow the company to submit applications for new site-specific standards for all three contaminants at the same time and no later than March 31, 2022. Due to restrictions in the Local Air Quality Regulation regarding when an application can be submitted, Algoma Steel Inc. would otherwise be unable to submit all applications at this time. The order also ensures that Algoma Steel Inc. hosts a public meeting about the applications.

In the final order, we changed the compliance date for the public meeting from January 31, 2022 to February 28, 2022 to give the company more time to:

  • prepare for the public meeting
  • prepare the air emissions modelling information which will be shared at the meeting

The ministry is confident that this timeline still provides enough time for the company to consider and respond to comments received at the public meeting before submitting its site-specific standard applications on, or before, March 31, 2022.

A copy of the final order can be found under supporting materials.

Background

Algoma Steel Inc. currently has three site-specific standards for:

These standards expire starting in November 2022. In addition, due to more accurate air emission modelling information completed in 2021, Algoma Steel Inc. has determined that the company is not in compliance with its existing site-specific standards. It is noted that there have been no changes in the operations of the facility that have increased emission levels. For both these reasons, new site-specific standards are required.

Algoma Steel Inc. intends to transition from its current coal-fired integrated steel production system to a non-coal based electric arc furnace process that uses primarily scrap steel and eliminates coal by 2030. The transition would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air contaminants from the facility. New site-specific standards will also help them manage their emissions as they transition to a new lower-emission, electric arc furnace-based production process.

Regulatory requirements

Site-specific standards are contaminant-specific air emissions standards established for a facility that is unable to meet a provincial air standard due to technical or economic reasons. To obtain a site-specific standard, companies must complete and submit an extensive application package that demonstrates their inability to meet the general air standard and considers potential technological and process solutions that could allow them to reduce emissions.

As part of the application for new site-specific standards required by the proposed order, the ministry requires that Algoma Steel Inc. submit an updated action plan outlining how it intends to reduce emissions over the period for which the site-specific standard is in effect.

The ministry will post proposals for the new site-specific standards on the Environmental Registry of Ontario for public notice and comment prior to making any decision about issuing the new site-specific standards. Any comments received will be considered when making a decision about the new site-specific standards.

More about Site-Specific Standards

Comments received

Through the registry

1

By email

0

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

The ministry considers all comments received during the comment period. Below is a summary of the concerns raised in the comment received and the ministry’s response:

Comment: Concerns that:

  • pending the transition to a non-coal-based process using electric arc furnaces, necessary maintenance will be ignored on equipment that will be phased out and/or that the ministry will not enforce maintenance requirements
  • certain equipment has already not been properly repaired and maintained

Response: This order does not exempt Algoma Steel Inc. from any of its obligations to meet all applicable regulatory requirements, including those requiring necessary maintenance and repair work on its equipment.

The ministry has a process in place for reporting environmental concerns and incidents of non-compliance from industrial facilities like Algoma Steel Inc. Any concerns from the public on environmental issues related to Algoma Steel Inc. can be directed to either the ministry’s Sault Ste. Marie office or Spills Action Centre (when outside of office hours). An Environmental Officer will collect and assess the information provided and decide on an appropriate response.

Comment: Concerns with:

  • the effectiveness of the Ambient Air Quality Monitoring network surrounding Algoma Steel Inc.
  • the potential impact of municipal planning decisions on one of the monitoring stations

Response: Algoma Steel Inc.’s current Ambient Air Quality Monitoring network is operated in a manner consistent with the Operations Manual for Air Quality Monitoring in Ontario. Requirements set out in the manual and other general requirements for Ambient Air Quality Monitoring in Ontario are not affected by this order and are beyond the scope of this proposal and decision.

The ministry may consider whether new or different air monitoring requirements are appropriate for Algoma Steel Inc. when the company submits its site-specific standard applications as required by the order. The decision to issue this director’s order is separate from any decision the ministry will make on Algoma Steel Inc.’s eventual site-specific standard applications.

The ministry will post proposals for the new site-specific standards on the Environmental Registry of Ontario for public notice and comment before making any decision about issuing the new site-specific standards. Any public comments received will be considered when making a decision about the new site-specific standards.

Comment: Concerns about:

  • the current membership composition, mandate and operations of Algoma Steel Inc.’s Community Liaison Committee
  • availability of information about changes to Algoma Steel Inc.’s updated Emissions Summary and Dispersion Modelling
  • health impacts and monitoring protocols for dioxins and furans associated with electric arc furnaces

Response: These comments speak to issues that may be considered when Algoma Steel Inc. submits its site-specific standard applications as required by the order; however, they are not responsive to this proposal. This order is required only to ensure Algoma Steel Inc. is able to submit it’s site-specific standard applications by March 31, 2022 and host a public meeting on those applications prior to submission, no later than February 28, 2022.

As noted above, the decision to issue this director’s order is separate from any decision the ministry will make on Algoma Steel Inc.’s eventual site-specific standard applications. The ministry will post proposals for the new site-specific standards on the Environmental Registry of Ontario for public notice and comment before making any decision about issuing the new site-specific standards. Any public comments received will be considered when making a decision about the new site-specific standards.

Comment: Concerns Algoma Steel Inc. will not provide sufficient advance notice of the public meeting required by the order.

Response: The order requires Algoma Steel Inc. to conduct the public meeting to discuss the site-specific standard applications in accordance with subsections 34(2) to 34(4) of O. Reg. 419/05 (Local Air Quality). At least 15 days before the meeting, Algoma Steel Inc. is required to:

  1. Publish a public meeting notice in a local newspaper

  2. Provide written notice of the meeting to:
     
    • all neighbouring properties (those that adjoin Algoma Steel Inc.’s property or are within 500 metres of the property)
    • all properties where, according to an approved dispersion model, there is a point of impingement where, as a result of the facility’s discharges the concentrations of benzene, benzo[a]pyrene or suspended particulate matter may exceed the proposed standards
    • the medical officer of health for the Sault Ste. Marie health unit.
    • the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
    • the municipality of Sault Ste. Marie

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Appeal

This instrument decision can be appealed. You have 15 days from January 7, 2022 to begin the appeal process.

Carefully review the information below to learn more about the appeal process.

How to appealClick to Expand Accordion

For instrument decisions published on or after June 1, 2021, please refer to the updated instructions for information on how to appeal a decision.

Appeal process for decisions published before June 1, 2021

If you’re an Ontario resident, you can start the process to appeal this instrument decision.

First, you’ll need to seek leave (i.e. get permission) from the relevant appellate body to appeal the decision.

If the appellate body grants leave, the appeal itself will follow.

Seek leave to appeal

To seek leave to appeal, you need to do these three things:

  1. prepare your application
  2. provide notice to the minister
  3. mail your application to three parties

1. Prepare your application

You’ll need to prepare an application. You may wish to include the following things in your application:

  1. A document that includes:
    • your name, phone number, fax number (if any), and/or email address
    • the ERO number and ministry reference number (located on this page)
    • a statement about whether you are a resident in Ontario
    • your interest in the decision, and any facts you want taken into account in deciding whether you have an interest in the decision
    • the parts of the instrument that you’re challenging
    • whether the decision could result in significant harm to the environment
    • the reason(s) why you believe that no reasonable person – having regard to the relevant law and to any government policies developed to guide decisions of that kind – could have made the decision
    • the grounds (facts) you’ll be using to appeal
    • the outcome you’d like to see
  2. A copy of the instrument (approval, permit, order) that you you are seeking leave to appeal. You’ll find this in the decision notice on the Environmental Registry
  3. Copies of all supporting documents, facts and evidence that you’ll be using to appeal
What is considered

The appeal body will consider the following two questions in deciding whether to grant you leave to appeal:

  1. is there is good reason to believe that no reasonable person, with respect to the relevant law and to any government policies developed to guide decisions of that kind, could have made the decision?
  2. could the decision you wish to appeal result in significant harm to the environment?

2. Provide your notice

You’ll need to provide notice to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks that you’re seeking leave to appeal.

In your notice, please include a brief description of the:

  • decision that you wish to appeal
  • grounds for granting leave to appeal

You can provide notice by email at minister.mecp@ontario.ca or by mail at:

College Park 5th Floor, 777 Bay St.
Toronto, ON 
M7A 2J3

3. Mail your application

You’ll need to mail your application that you prepared in step #1 to each of these three parties:

  • appellate body
  • issuing authority (the ministry official who issued the instrument)
  • proponent (the company or individual to whom the instrument was issued)

Issuing authority
Brian Cameron
Sudbury District Office Manager

Drinking Water and Environmental Compliance Division - Sudbury District Office
199 Larch Street
Suite 1201
Sudbury, ON
P3E 5P9
Canada

705-564-3214

Proponent(s)

Algoma Steel Inc.
105 West Street
Sault Ste Marie, ON
P6A 7B4
Canada


Appellate body

Environmental Review Tribunal
Attention: The Secretary
655 Bay Street
Floor 15
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 1E5
(416) 212-6349
(866) 448-2248
OLT.Registrar@ontario.ca

About the Environmental Review Tribunal


Include the following:

ERO number
019-4585
Ministry reference number
8541-C7KQ7Q

This is not legal advice. Please refer to the Environmental Bill of Rights for exact legal requirements. Consult a lawyer if you need help with the appeal process.

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Original proposal

ERO number
019-4585
Ministry reference number
8541-C7KQ7Q
Notice type
Instrument
Act
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Proposal posted

Comment period

November 22, 2021 - December 22, 2021 (30 days)

Proposal details

The ministry is proposing to issue a director’s order to Algoma Steel Inc. (Algoma) to require a plan to submit applications for new site-specific standards as follows:

  1. submit a plan by December 31, 2021 to come into compliance with section 20 of Ontario Regulation 419/05 by applying for new site-specific standards for benzo(a)pyrene, benzene and suspended particulate matter by no later than March 31, 2022.
  2. complete at least one public meeting on the intended applications for a benzo[a]pyrene, benzene and suspended particulate matter site-specific standards by January 31, 2022

This order will allow the company to submit applications for new site-specific standards for all three contaminants at the same time and no later than March 31, 2022. Due to restrictions in the Local Air Quality Regulation regarding when an application can be submitted, Algoma Steel Inc. would otherwise be unable to submit all applications at this same time. The order also ensures that Algoma Steel Inc. hosts a public meeting about the applications.

A copy of the draft order can be found under supporting materials

Background

Algoma Steel Inc. currently has three site-specific standards for:

These standards are set to expire starting in November 2022. In addition, due to more accurate air emission modelling information completed in 2021, Algoma Steel has determined that the company is not in compliance with its existing site-specific standards. It is noted that there have been no changes in the operations of the facility that have increased emission levels. For both these reasons, new site-specific standards are required.

Regulatory requirements

Site-specific standards are contaminant-specific air emissions standards established for a facility that is unable to meet a provincial air standard due to technical or economic reasons. To obtain a site-specific standard, companies must complete and submit an extensive application package that demonstrates their inability to meet the general air standard and considers potential technological and process solutions that could allow them to reduce emissions.

As part of the application for new site-specific standards required by the proposed order, the ministry would require that Algoma Steel Inc. submit an updated action plan outlining how it intends to reduce emissions over the period for which the site-specific standard is in effect.

The ministry will post proposals for the new site-specific standards on the Environmental Registry for public notice and comment prior to making any decision about issuing the new site-specific standards. Any public comments received will be considered when making a decision about the new site-specific standards.

Algoma intends to transition from its current coal-fired integrated steel production system to an electric arc furnace process that uses primarily scrap steel and eliminates coal by 2030. The transition would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air contaminants from the facility.

More about Site Specific Standards

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from November 22, 2021
to December 22, 2021

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