The Oil Burning Equipment Regulations were enacted on November 17, 2021, prohibiting the installation of these devices from 2022 throughout the province. This Regulation is part of a desire to decarbonise the heating of buildings in Quebec; its purpose is to reduce GHG emissions linked to the abundant use of fuel oil in (space and water) heating systems, mainly in the residential sector.
The regulation includes a prohibition on :
Installing oil-burning heating equipment in new construction from December 31, 2022 ;
Installing oil-burning heating equipment from December 31, 2024 ;
Replacing oil-burning heating equipment with a fossil fuel furnace in all existing buildings as of December 31, 2024.
In the 60s, the use of fuel oil in heating systems was commonplace. At that time in Canada, 75% households used burning oil as their primary energy source, making the number of installations in service rise over one million (DeSimi et Raymond, 2010). As most have remained in place, untouched, the tanks still filled with oil are now subject to leakage, to the chagrin of the new owners who find themselves struggling with major decontamination work.
Today in the province of Quebec, 200,000 households still own a burning oil heating device. Although the quantity is not astronomical, the residential sector continues to be over-represented in total burning oil consumption with a proportion of 70% in the last five years. The use of burning oil in the residential sector was responsible, in 2018, for the emission of just over 1 megatonne of CO2 equivalent (Mt CO2 eq). (MELCC)
In situ treatments
The management of sites contaminated with burning oil is usually done by "dig and dump", which consists of taking the contaminated soil, extracting it and unloading it at a place where the risks to human and environmental health are considered to be. zero. Fortunately, with the rise of ecological imperatives, there is a growing interest towards in situ treatments, characterized by a low carbon footprint and special attention paid to the natural specificities of the contaminated environment. In situ decontamination is particularly suitable for deep contaminations (> 3m).
Characteristics of in situ treatments:
Processing directly and exclusively on the site
Decontamination of hard-to-reach areas
Personalized solutions according to the specifics of the site
Reduced pressure on landfill sites, which are already overworked
A simple leak is expensive
A heating oil leak is more damaging than it looks. It allows the oil to slowly accumulate in the soil and cause heavy contamination of soil or groundwater. The risks to human and environmental health are high, as are the costs of decontamination and the extent of the contamination. Beyond its positive impact on GHG emissions, the Regulation would also significantly reduce the risk of burning oil leaks and spills.
Enutech offers contaminated land remediation services in the residential, commercial, industrial, municipal and governmental sectors. The service follows a rigorous methodology that ensures soil decontamination that respects the characteristics of the environment. An environmental site assessment and a soil characterization are carried out in order to precisely determine the extent and concentration of the burning oil contamination and then carrying out a complete rehabilitation using an in situ method.
The price associated with decontaminating an oil-soaked site varies depending on the extent of the contamination. Contact our team for a personalized estimate. All types of solutions are possible; the objective remains to combine the strengths of the available technologies and to have an "intelligent" approach in relation to the needs of the client and the specificities of the treated site.
With the complete ban on burning oil in Quebec scheduled for 2024, environmental professionals now have the necessary leeway to remedy this environmental liability, the historic stigma of an era soon to be over. Enutech vouches for this future, rich in clean technologies and in situ rehabilitation works.
DeSimini, V.L. et Raymond, M.R. (2010). Residential Fuel Oil Distribution Systems. An Analysis of Risk and Loss Prevention Initiative. Spectius Underwriting Solutions Ltd. SUSL Project RFOST0810, 25p.
Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (2021). Projet de règlement sur les appareils de chauffage au mazout. https://www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/changementsclimatiques/consultations/projet-reglement-chauffage-mazout/index.htm
Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (2021). Analyse d’impact réglementaire sur le projet de règlement sur les appareils de chauffage au mazout. https://www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/changementsclimatiques/consultations/projet-reglement-chauffage-mazout/air-projet-reglement-appareil-mazout.pdf