New Equipment Exceeds MOE Safe Emissions Guidelines
Following MOE pre-approved methodology and testing oversight in June 2014, independent engineering consultants completed emission tests on the new Mount Pleasant cremation equipment.
Mount Pleasant Group is proud to be the first in North America to install the most advanced cremation equipment technology available in the world at our Mount Pleasant Cremation Centre. While we were not required to do so under Ontario legislation, we believe that the installation of this new equipment was the right thing to do for the environment.
We are pleased that the test results exceed the most stringent provincial safe health and ecosystem emissions standards, without exception. In all cases, maximum emissions were less than 10% of Ontario's safe emission levels. In fact, the majority of tested contaminants were less than 1%. Many were not even detectable.
The following graphic shows how these emission results compare to some everyday activities:
In accordance with the Environmental Compliance Approval below, please find a copy of the Emissions Summary Table contained within the environmental engineer's report:
Interpreting the Emissions Test Results
Most chemical emissions are measured in micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3). One microgram is the equivalent of one millionth of a gram. Let's look at a few examples of the test results:
- Mercury: a lot has been written about mercury emissions from crematoria, primarily arising from the presence of amalgam dental fillings. Provincial health standards have determined that maximum off-property concentrations up to 2 ug/m3 are acceptable. Mercury emission levels were so low during Mount Pleasant testing that traces were NOT detectable. In such cases the MOE requires the laboratory detection limit to be referenced as the measured quantity. In the case of mercury this corresponds to less than 0.000218 ug/m3. That's over 9,100 times lower than Ontario's safe emissions standards.
- Particulate Matter: cremation particulate matter is primarily composed of minute particles of wood ash from caskets. Provincial standards have established that off-property concentrations up to 120 ug/m3 are acceptable. Particulate matter emission levels were so low during Mount Pleasant testing that traces were NOT detectable. In such cases the MOE requires the laboratory detection limit to be referenced as the measured quantity. In the case of particulate matter this corresponds to less than 0.0310000 ug/m3. That's almost 3,900 times lower than Ontario's safe emissions standards.
- Dioxins and Furans: are primarily created during an incineration process and measured in picograms of concentration (pg i-TEQ/m3). A picogram is one trillionth of a gram. Provincial standards have established that off-property concentrations up to 0.1 pg i-TEQ/m3 are acceptable. Dioxin and furan emission levels were so low during Mount Pleasant testing that traces were NOT detectable. In such cases the MOE requires the laboratory detection limit to be referenced as the measured quantity. In the case of dioxins and furans this corresponds to less than 0.000213 pg i-TEQ/m3. That's almost 4,700 times lower than Ontario's safe emissions standards.
- Carbon Monoxide: Provincial health standards have determined that off-property concentrations up to 6,000 ug/m3 are acceptable. Carbon monoxide test results produced a maximum excursion of 0.644 ug/m3. That's over 9,300 times lower than Ontario's safe emissions standards.
- Odour: Provincial targets have determined that odour levels up to an evaluation level of 1 odour unit are acceptable. Mount Pleasant's emission test results show a maximum evaluation level of 0.16 odour units at the nearest point of impingement (POI). That's 6 times lower than Ontario's target.
Since the new equipment began operating in early April we have completed approximately 300 cremations (well below the maximum ECA regulated limit of 40 per week). Using an additive that is primarily comprised of bicarbonate of soda, potential particulate and chemical emissions are captured in solid form within the filtration system, and the sealed container is safely disposed of by a provincially licensed waste management company.
Mount Pleasant's new equipment utilizes larger modulating burners. The larger burners actually have an environmental benefit, they increase the efficiency of the cremation process and reduce the use of natural gas and our carbon footprint by approximately 50% as the equipment utilizes air circulation to fuel the cremation.
What will you see coming from the crematorium chimney in the future? During cooler months you may see "white steam" or "water vapour" coming from the chimney when the equipment heats up in the mornings. That is the result of moist hot air from the chimney contacting the cooler air. At other times you will see virtually nothing but clean, warm air.
What does all this mean? Simply put, the Mount Pleasant test results are scientific proof that the new cremation equipment with automated state-of-the-art filtration system works, and the new cremation process produces less air pollutants than many regular every-day activities.
Elgin Mills Cremation Centre has also received provincial licensing approval and installation is nearing completion. With these positive test results now in, we look forward to upgrading our cremation equipment at our Meadowvale and Thornton Cremation Centres.
For those interested, the following link provides you with a copy of the Mount Pleasant emissions test results: