«SUPPORT DOCUMENT FOR COMPOST QUALITY CRITERIA NATIONAL STANDARD OF CANADA (CAN/BNQ 0413-200) THE CANADIAN COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE ENVIRONMENT ...»
SUPPORT DOCUMENT FOR
COMPOST QUALITY CRITERIA
NATIONAL STANDARD OF CANADA
THE CANADIAN COUNCIL OF
MINISTERS OF THE ENVIRONMENT
AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD
CANADA (AAFC) CRITERIA
FOREWORDThe "Support Document for Compost Quality Criteria - National Standard of Canada (CAN/BNQ 0413-200) The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Guidelines and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Criteria" was made possible by an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Environment Canada (EC) initiative. The Centre de recherche industrielle du Quebec, with the collaboration of organizations involved in the development of criteria for compost quality, was responsible for producing this document. We wish especially to note the vital contributions made by Ms.
Suzanne Fortin (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Ms. Nicole Folliet-Royte (Environment Canada), Mr. Daniel Lefebvre (Bureau de nonnalisation du Quebec), and all those who provided their valuable comments. For more
information please contact:
Daniel Lefebvre Bureau de normalization du Quebec (BNQ) 70, rue Dalhousie, bureau 220 Quebec (Quebec) GiK 4B2 Phone: (418) 644-9299 Fax.: (418) 646-3315 Nicole Folliet-Hoyte Waste Treatment Division Hazardous Waste Branch Environmental Protection Service Environment Canada Ottawa, Ontario KlA 0H3 Phone: (819) 953-2822 Fax.: (819) 953-6881 Suzanne Fortin Fertilizer Section Plant Products Division Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 59 Camelot Drive Nepean, Ontario KlA 0Y9 Phone: (613) 952-8000 Fax.: (613) 992-5219 iii Support Document for Compost Quality Criteria
TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE
1.0 CONTEXT 1
2.0 MAJOR PARTICIPANTS 2
2.1 BUREAU DE NORMALISATION DU QUÉBEC 2
2.2 CANADIAN COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE
2.3 AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD CANADA 4
3.0 BACKGROUND INFORMATION 5
4.0 DEFINITION OF COMPOST 7
4.1 BNQ STANDARD 7
4.2 CCME POSITION 7
4.3 AAFC POSITION 7
5.0 CLASSIFICATION 8
5.1 BNQ STANDARD 8
5.2 CCME POSITION 9
5.3 AAFC POSITION 9
6.0 MAIN CRITERIA CONSIDERED FOR THE
COMPOST STANDARDIZATION PROJECT
6.1 MATURITY 10 6.1.1 BNQ standard 10 6.1.2 CCME Position 11 6.1.3 AAFC Position 12 iv Support Document for Compost Quality Criteria
During the past few years, the Canadian composting industry has been expanding, which has meant an increase in the number of composting sites and, consequently, in the quantity of compost produced from organic waste of diverse origins.
In Canada, many organizations are involved in the development of standards and regulations. In the area of compost and composting, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) (through the Plant Products Division), the provincial and territorial governments (through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME)), and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) (through the BNQ) are all concerned with developing quality criteria. The necessity and feasibility of establishing safety criteria for compost have led AAFC, the CCME and the BNQ to collaborate in developing uniform criteria while retaining sufficient flexibility for the different organizations to work within their mandates and reach their objectives.
This innovative approach brings together two levels of government (the CCME and the AAFC), as well as the producers and the users of compost (the BNQ). The following three distinct
outcomes will result from this approach:
• a national Canadian standard for the composting industry (BNQ);
• guidelines for compost (CCME); and
• the adoption of new mandatory criteria for compost (AAFC).
The five categories of quality criteria for compost considered by these three organizations are:
The objective of this document is to describe the scientific and non-scientific rationale for selecting the five categories of criteria used in developing the BNQ standard and the CCME and AAFC guidelines, and to describe the positions of these three organizations.
For each of the criteria considered, this document describes the point of view of the BNQ and the BNQ standard's parameters. The respective positions of both the CCME and AAFC follow.
This document, which is a collection of the available scientific and non-scientific arguments taken into consideration by the two task forces (13NQ and CCME), will also describe the process that led to the final version of the standard and the positions taken by both the CCME and AAFC.
This section summarizes the mandates and objectives of the three main organizations involved in the development of standards, regulations and guidelines for compost.
2.1 BUREAU DE NORMALISATION DU QUÉBECIn Canada, voluntary standardization activities are co-ordinated by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), which represents the country within the International Standards Organization (ISO). Only five standards writing organizations, including the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ), are accredited by the SCC and have the authority to develop and introduce national standards for Canada.
The BNQ deals mainly with environmental, health, safety, construction and public works issues.
Moreover, as an organization drafting standards (ODS) accredited by the SCC, the BNQ has
been given primary responsibility over the following areas:
• organic fertilizers (with the exception of chemical fertilizers);
Support Document for Compost Quality Criteria
• treatment and quality of municipal drinking water.
In November 1992, following a request from representatives of the composting industry, the BNQ informed the SCC that it would develop a national standard for compost within the scope of its responsibilities regarding soil amendments and fertilization.
This consensual standard will be applied on a voluntary basis and will be accompanied by a BNQ accreditation program that aims to verify, with the collaboration of laboratories accredited by the BNQ, whether products meet the standard's requirements. The BNQ's approval label will then be stamped on the products that meet the standard.
Compliance with these requirements does not necessarily mean that the product meets the additional requirements of certain government authorities, such as the AAFC and the CCME.
Compost producers will be responsible for verifying whether their products meet the requirements of each provincial authority. However, this does not exclude the possibility that authorities may refer to certain aspects of the national standard upon its completion.
2.2 CANADIAN COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE ENVIRONMENTBy the year 2000, Canada aims to divert 50 percent of its waste relative to 1988. The provinces and territories regulate, through provincial environmental legislation, the diversion and the beneficial use of waste. They therefore regulate both the production and the use of compost. All the provinces and territories have endorsed the 50 percent diversion goal through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME).
Support Document for Compost Quality Criteria 4 During the past few years, interest in composting as an alternative for the management of the organic portion of waste has increased significantly in Canada. As a result, through a national committee, the CCME has begun developing national guidelines for the production and utilization of compost for all provinces and territories. The specific objectives of these guidelines
• to protect the environment and public health throughout the country;
• to encourage source separation of municipal solid waste in order to produce high quality compost;
• to develop harmonized, nation-wide compost standards that will accommodate various groups and diverse interests;
• to ensure consumer confidence by establishing national quality criteria for compost; and
• to ensure that composting is allowed to develop as a waste/resource management solution and as an environmentally conscious industry that diverts organic waste from landfills and incinerators.
The CCME guidelines have four criteria for compost quality and safety: maturity, foreign matter, trace elements and pathogenic organisms.
2.3 AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD CANADAThe Plant Products Division of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) administers the Fertilizers Act and Regulations and, therefore, regulates fertilizers and supplements sold in Canada. All compost sold as a soil amendment or fertilizer is controlled and regulated under the Fertilizers Act. The Act requires that fertilizers and soil amendments sold in Canada be safe, efficacious and properly labelled. They must not pose a significant risk to humans, plants, animals or the environment when used according to the directions, and they must be efficacious when used for their intended purpose. Moreover, when random sampling and analysis of these products is conducted, they must meet the established criteria.
Support Document for Compost Quality Criteria AAFC is currently working at adopting safety criteria from the BNQ standard in the Fertilizers Act and Regulations. AAFC anticipates including criteria for trace elements, pathogenic organisms and sharp objects. These requirements would then be detailed in a trade memorandum.
AAFC approach is based on the following considerations:
• The composting industry, through l'Association québécoise des industriels du compostage (AQIC), has requested that the BNQ standard be adopted under the Fertilizers Act.
• The criteria and procedures included in the BNQ standard were consensually developed by the standardization committee.
• The technical committee as well as the nation-wide public consultation were organized by the BNQ, which was also responsible for writing all the procedures in the minutes.
These stages were successfully completed in accordance with the requirements of the SCC.
• By using the BNQ reference approach, whose standard's criteria were developed by the industry and made compatible with both AAFC and the CCME standards, AAFC ensures the highest possible degree of conformity between the standard and the Regulation.
• The BNQ is responsible for the development and monitoring of a compliance program, financed by the industry, which ensures that accredited compost continues to meet the standard's criteria. By referring to the BNQ standard in the Regulation, it is expected that AAFC and BNQ compliance programs will complement each other to a greater extent.
3.0 BACKGROUND INFORMATIONThe end of 1992 marked the start of three activities concerning the development of quality criteria for compost.
Support Document for Compost Quality Criteria The AQIC called on the BNQ to conduct a feasibility study on the development of a standard for compost. The results of the study confirmed the feasibility of and interest in developing a nationwide standard for the industry. But the establishment of a useful industry standard on compost quality would not be feasible without taking into consideration the existing regulations and guidelines at the federal or provincial level.
The BNQ set up a task force to develop a national compost standard that would protect both the environment and consumers, as well as promote the composting industry through the production of quality compost. The national committee on composting standardization comprised composting industry representatives, compost users, specialists, and representatives from the CCME and AAFC.
At the same time, the CCME set up another task force whose objective was the development of a national guideline on composting. This guideline must ensure the production of compost that is safe for both the user and the environment, and must, as far as possible, be harmonized with existing regulations.
Simultaneously, AAFC prepared safety criteria for pathogenic organisms and planned to review their safety criteria for metals.
In January 1993, Environment Canada (EC), AAFC and the BNQ met with representatives of the provincial and territorial organizations that regulate composting and compost activity. At this meeting, the organizations agreed to co-ordinate their efforts to develop criteria for compost quality that would, as far as possible, be harmonized throughout the country and that would be sufficiently flexible to recognize and respect the mandates and objectives of the different organizations involved.
The organizations in attendance also agreed to consider the following five categories of criteria on the quality and safety of compost: foreign matter, maturity, organic contaminants, pathogenic organisms and trace elements. Further criteria dealing with the quality of compost - organic matter, water content, etc. - were also considered by the BNQ standardization committee.
To facilitate harmonization of the compost quality criteria and to ensure the exchange of pertinent information between the two tasks forces (BNQ/CCME), a representative of AAFC, the CCME and the BNQ participated in the work of both committees. AAFC was involved in both task forces because the Fertilizers Act and Regulation requires that all products sold as fertilizers or as soil amendments must be safe, efficacious and properly labelled.