Northern Pulp: Thinking outside the current plan

Opinion

To the Editor:

There seems to be one word that describes the current situation respecting Northern Pulp – ADAMANT. The dictionary defines “adamant” as “refusing to be persuaded or to change one’s mind”.

Northern Pulp is adamant that it is going to run its treated effluent pipe along the Route #106 to Caribou and out into the Northumberland Strait.

The fishermen are adamant that the line is not going out into the Strait.

The Town of Pictou is adamant that the line is not going to go along Route #106 and pass over its watershed.

The Government of Nova Scotia Transportation Ministry appears adamant that they will not allow the line to run alongside Route #106.

The Pictou Landing Band is adamant that Boat Harbour is going to close on January 20, 2020.

The premier appears adamant that he is not going to allow for an extension of Boat Harbour without the approval of the Pictou Landing Band.

The above does not take into account the environmentalists, the residents of Pictou County who are for and against keeping the mill operating or the companies and their employers in the forestry and supply sectors who are dependent on the mill. Each group appears adamant in their positions.

Looking at the situation objectively, there is another solution to the pipeline going out into the Strait at Caribou.

Currently, the mill effluent is minimally treated at the mill, flows into Boat Harbour where it is aerated and allowed to settle in the ponds and then is piped into the Northumberland Strait. It is easy to see why people are upset at the current situation.

The mill is prepared to build a treatment plant on mill property which will treat the effluent to reduce the particulates by 85 per cent. This can be verified scientifically. Instead of running the pipe to Caribou, the mill should build a series of settling and aeration ponds for the remaining 15 per cent of untreated effluent in the large triangle of land between Route #106, Trenton Road and Abercrombie Road. The series of ponds / cells would need between 200 and 250 acres which would be in the center of this area and not prominently visible. This remaining filtrated effluent would then be piped to the East River where the Nova Scotia Power plant currently releases its heated effluent.

The resulting effluent is much better treated then what is currently proposed under the pipe scenario, and eliminates, or at least minimizes, exposure to the lobster grounds in the Strait.

Ira MacInnis

Halifax