Air emission standards establish limits on the amount of contaminants that can be released into the atmosphere. These standards are expressed as a concentration in the exhaust gases leaving the stack and are capable of being achieved using generally available incineration technology and waste diversion practices. The following emission standards1 apply to existing, new or expanding solid waste incinerators operating in Nunavut and have been adopted from the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Canada-Wide Standards for Dioxins and Furans and Mercury Emissions, respectively. Similar standards for the open burning of solid waste have not been established.
Table 1. Air Emission Standards for Solid Waste Incinerators
Parameter Numeric Standard Explanation
Dioxins and Furans
80 pg I-TEQ/cubic metre
Unit of measure is picograms of International Toxicity
Equivalents per cubic metre of air
20 µg/Rcubic metre
Unit of measure is micrograms per Reference cubic metre (the volume of gas adjusted to 25oC and 101.3 kilopascals)
Opacity is the degree to which the exhaust gases reduce the transmission of light and obscure the view of any object in the background. It is expressed as a percentage representing the extent to which an object viewed through the gases is obscured. Although not an emission standard, opacity provides an indication of the general performance of the incinerator during normal operation2. Opacity in the incinerator stack should not exceed 5%. While it is not anticipated that opacity levels would exceed 1% to 2% under normal operation, values greater than 5% indicate the incinerator is not performing properly and additional performance evaluation and adjustment is required.
Figure 6 – Examples of Smoke Opacity Ratings
The opacity ratings are estimates and are provided for illustrative purposes only
Centre and right photos courtesy of GNWT Department of Environment and Natural Resources