The Federal Government has adopted new PCB Regulations, SOR/2008-273 to end the use and storage of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at or above 50 mg/kg. PCBs have been strictly regulated for more than 30 years, but previous federal regulations allowed PCBs in existing equipment to remain in use and in storage indefinitely. Almost 1/3 of these PCBs are owned by electric utilities.
December 31, 2009 is now the deadline to eliminate the use of PCBs and PCB equipment at or above 500 mg/kg, although the Minister may permit extensions while new equipment is being ordered. PCBs and PCB equipment at or above 50 mg/kg may be used until December 31, 2025, except within 100 m of:
a drinking water treatment plant or food or feed processing plant,
a child care facility, preschool, primary school, secondary school, or
a hospital or senior citizens’ care facility.
Stricter rules for these sensitive areas are becoming increasingly common.
Light ballasts and pole top transformers may also be used until 2025.
The regulations put strict limits on releases of PCBs into the natural environment. PCBs in storage must be sent for destruction within specified deadlines, most by December 31, 2009. Mandatory reporting and labeling will be used to track compliance.
The federal government predicts that these regulations will eliminate 90% of the PCBs still in use and 100% of the PCBs currently in storage by the end of 2009. The remaining PCBs, i.e. equipment in use containing less than 500 mg/kg, will be eliminated by 2025.