Pulp mill unveils treatment plan

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This has been amended to reflect the fact that the planning and build are scheduled for 2019, not 2018 as was originally reported.)

Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corp. has presented its proposed waste treatment system that would replace the existing one at Boat Harbour.

Technical manager Terri Fraser and Guy Martin, an engineer with KSH Solutions Inc. of Montreal which designed the project, took turns explaining how the treatment system would work, including the expected by-product that would flow through a discharge pipe that would extend into the Northumberland Strait, during the first of a series of community open house events at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.

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They referenced a presentation prepared by Dillon Consulting Limited of Halifax that included a schedule of the provincial environmental assessment study. Among the steps are consultations through the fall and winter, registering the environmental assessment next summer and completing the planning and project in the spring of 2019. The timeline includes a 30-day public review of the study next summer after it’s registered and 20 days for the environment minister’s decision.

Martin showed how a closed-loop system sought by the local fishing community and others is not applicable for a bleached kraft pulp mill like Northern Pulp.

Fraser described what the proposed system would remove from the effluent before it would flow through the discharge pipe. The by-product would be “well below regulatory levels.”

Photos showed the expected effluent quality that would render it almost clear once the new facility is operating.

She said the new process would require less water from its source, Middle River. What the pulp mill uses from there now is well within the watershed’s ability to replenish itself, she said.

In-mill improvements were also outlined that include a two-stage oxygen delignification system that is designed to reduce chlorine dioxide bleaching chemicals by 30 to 40 per cent, as well as cooling towers to reduce water flows during the summer. According to charts, biochemical oxygen demand levels and suspended solids levels are well below those required.


Northern Pulp technical manager Terri Fraser addresses a gathering during a presentation of its proposed waste treatment system on Monday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. (Goodwin photo)

BOOK SIGNING CANCELLED

Coles book store in the Highland Square mall cancelled a book signing by author Joan Baxter on Saturday.

She was to sign copies of her new book, The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest, but the store cancelled the event after what Indigo called “aggressive conversations directed to store staff” were received.

Kate Gregory, senior manager, public relations said in an email about the cancellation: “We do not take this decision lightly, but we must respect the comfort and safety of all customers, staff and authors in our stores.”

Author Baxter said, “I can’t imagine that everyone who sent in one of those form letters had read the book. And last I heard, we still live in a democracy with freedom of the press. So to try to suppress a book signing because someone takes offence at something (which they likely haven’t read) is a very ominous turn of events.

“I wrote this book because I am a journalist and I believe in documenting history. No more and no less. The mill had every chance to participate and provide me with interviews and information. They refused.

“I would like to emphasize that my problem is not with the bookstore, but with the bullies that made its staff afraid of what would happen if the signing went ahead. The bookstore manager is a courageous woman who was subject to a lot of harassment about the signing but who still sold and stocked the book. I hope that people who are upset by this will direct their questions to the bullies who brought this about, not at the booksellers.”