Government of New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Ozone Depleting Substances Regulation is part of a world-wide effort to protect the ozone layer, earth's only natural sunscreen. The main threat to the ozone layer is a group of synthetic chemicals known as ozone depleting substances or ODS.

The Regulation bans most releases of ODS. It controls the sale, storage, use and handling of ODS within the province. It also establishes certification and other requirements for people who work with ODS.

The air conditioning and refrigeration industries are most directly affected by this Regulation, but it applies to everyone in New Brunswick.

 

Ozone Depleting Substances

Ozone depleting substances are commonly used in refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, and fire extinguishers, and for some medical and manufacturing purposes. New Brunswick no longer allows non-essential uses of ODS, and the goal is to phase out all use of these substances, over time, as safer alternatives are found.

Ozone Depletion Potential

The "ozone depletion potential" (or ODP) of a substance is a number that reflects the harm that particular substance can do to the ozone layer. The Regulation puts greater restrictions on substances with higher ODPs.

The Regulation also divides common ODS into two groups. Class 1 substances include halons, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and mixtures of CFCs. Class 2 is made up of the hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs, which are somewhat less harmful to the ozone layer.

ODS Releases

In general, no release of ODS is allowed in New Brunswick, either deliberate or accidental. However, this does not apply to ODS used in certain health care products and for some research purposes.

 

Products and Uses

New Brunswick no longer allows non-essential uses of ODS in products and equipment such as plastic foam and rigid insulation, aerosols, packaging, air conditioners, and most new fire extinguishers.

Aerosol Propellants

No ODS of any kind can be used as a propellant in products brought into New Brunswick, or made, sold or used in the province.

Appliances

Some refrigerators and freezers still contain ODS in their insulating foam; only those that were in New Brunswick before 1996 can legally be offered for sale.

Automotive Air Conditioning

Since 1996, all new automobiles with air conditioning must use non-CFC refrigerants. Existing equipment containing CFCs can be used as long as it works properly and is maintained to prevent leaks.

No CFCs can be added to any automotive air conditioner for any purpose.

Fire Extinguishers & Fire Suppression Systems

Only those fire protection systems sold or in use in New Brunswick before October 4, 1992, can contain an ODS that has an "ozone depletion potential" greater than 0.05. No system can be "topped up" or refilled with such an ODS, without the permission of the Minister.

These rules apply to both portable extinguishers and larger fixed systems. The only exceptions are systems for fire protection of aircraft, military tactical vehicles, and military boats or ships.

Reporting Releases of ODS

An owner of a fixed fire suppression system containing an ODS must report any releases to the Minister within 2 weeks of the event. The report must be made in writing, on forms provided by the Department. This is required whether the release happened by accident or in fighting a fire.

Reporting ODS Supplies

An owner of one or more fire protection devices that contain a total of more than 4 kilograms of ODS must notify the Minister of that fact. Notice of this was required in writing before December 15, 1998.

Packaging, Wrapping & Containers

No packaging products in New Brunswick, including food and beverage containers, can contain or be made by a process that uses any Class 1 ODS.

Plastic Foam & Rigid Insulation

Plastic foam and rigid insulation cannot contain any Class 1 ODS or be made by a process that uses these substances. No products that contain such foam or insulation can be brought into New Brunswick, or be made, sold, or used here.

This does not include home refrigerators and freezers that were in New Brunswick before 1996, and other types of products that were in the province before 1994.

Solvents

Methyl chloroform is the only ODS which can be used as solvents. After 1999, methyl chloroform will be allowed only for some specialized uses, as in a laboratory.

Sterilization Systems

Sterilization systems, including those used for medical equipment, can not contain a Class 1 ODS unless the system completely recovers and recycles all of the substance.

 

Certified Technicians

Only a technician certified by the Minister of the Environment can legally buy or work with ODS.

To be certified, technicians must complete a one-day course on ozone depletion and refrigerant recovery in addition to trades training. Certified Technicians are issued a wallet card with their certification number, and must show that identification on request.

It is illegal to work with or handle ODS without this certification; it is also illegal for anyone to hire a non-certified person to do such work.

Environmental Code of practice

Certified technicians must comply with the Environmental Code of Practice, with the Clean Air Act, and with the Regulation. Business owners are responsible for making sure that they and their employees all follow the Code and the law.

Permits to Buy & Sel

Only certified technicians can apply for the permit needed to buy ODS.

The Minister may decide that extra qualifications are required, or may attach terms and conditions to the permit. If there is reason to believe that a permit-holder has not complied with any term and condition, or with the legislation, the Minister may cancel or suspend the permit.

Permits are valid for one year, and may be renewed for the same period.

An application for a permit or renewal must be made on a form provided by the Department of Environment, and must be accompanied by a fee of twenty-five dollars.

Records and Reports

People who handle ODS must keep written records of each time they:

  • recover a total of more than 1 kilogram of ODS from equipment in one day;
  • send a total of more than 1 kilograms of used ODS to be stored, reclaimed, or destroyed;
  • transport a total of more than 5 kilograms of used ODS from their place of business;
  • receive a total of more than 5 kilograms of used ODS; or
  • transfer ownership of a total of more than 5 kilograms of used ODS.

The record must show the date of the event, the source of the ODS, its exact type and amount, and what was done with it. A summary of these records must be sent to the Minister twice a year, and the original records must be retained for at least two years.

 

Flushing and Purging Gas

No ODS can be used as a flushing or purging gas in any equipment.

 

Recharging and Topping Up

No equipment can be recharged or topped up with an ODS unless it has first been tested for leaks and that all leaks have been repaired.

 

Leak Testing

Equipment with a motor rating of 3.00 horsepower or 2.24 kilowatts or more (such as restaurant refrigerators and rooftop air conditioners) except domestic heat pumps must be tested for leaks at least once each year. No ODS can be added to an untested system, or added during a leak test except according to leak test guidelines.

Leak tests must be done by a certified technician, or by an apprentice supervised by a certified technician. Within one month, the technician or apprentice must send a written record of the leak test results to the Minister, using forms provided by the Department.

Any leaks that are found must be promptly repaired. Otherwise, the remaining ODS must be removed and the equipment labelled to indicate that it cannot be recharged with ODS.

 

Recovery & Handling of Used ODS

ODS recovered from equipment must be transported promptly to an approved site, or, as soon as possible, be reclaimed, recycled, or reused in the equipment it came from.

If this cannot be done, the person who recovered or possesses the used ODS must notify the Minister within six months. Used ODS must be properly stored and handled to prevent its accidental release.

Alteration of Used ODS

No one can mix or contaminate used ODS with any substance or other ODS, or otherwise alter it such that it can no longer be reclaimed, recycled or reused.

Disposal and Dismantling of Equipment

All ODS must be recovered from equipment that is to be discarded or dismantled. The equipment must then be disabled and labelled to show that it cannot be recharged with ODS.

This does not apply to home refrigerators, freezers, heat pumps and air conditioners that are owned and used by an individual, or to equipment that will be repaired within 4 months.

Pressurized ODS Containers

All pressurized containers intended to hold recovered ODS must be reusable, except for charging cylinders, temporary collection containers, and those pressurized containers in use in New Brunswick before October 4, 1992.

 

Enforcement

Under the Clean Air Act, the Department of Environment may inspect or audit any sellers and buyers of ODS. These people must show that they have ODS certification and keep records of ODS purchases and uses.

The Minister may also give warnings, and may issue Ministerial Orders with directions for corrective action such as the reduction or elimination of the release of a contaminant into the environment. When the terms of a permit or certificate are not followed, the Minister of the Environment may suspend or revoke it.

(While the authority for legislation rests with the Minister, departmental staff acting on behalf of the Minister should be regarded as conveying that same weight of authority.)

Finally, anyone who violates the Act, the Regulation, or Ministerial orders may be prosecuted.

If convicted of an offence under this Regulation, individuals may be fined up to $50,000. Corporations may be fined up to $1,000,000.