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Pulp mill receives focus report terms

Community

ABERCROMBIE – An alternate pipe route is among items Nova Scotia Environment has sought among terms of reference for Northern Pulp’s preparation of a focus report.

Outgoing Environment Minister Margaret Miller issued the nine-page document on Tuesday. Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation and its parent company Paper Excellence Canada have a year to respond and complete the report.

The terms were promised by April 24 after Northern Pulp registered its proposed replacement effluent treatment facility project and Miller released a decision on March 29 that requested more information instead of either accepting or rejecting the proposal.

Northern Pulp’s proposal included treating the effluent onsite and discharging it through a pipe along Highway 106 past the Caribou ferry terminal for several kilometers into the Northumberland Strait. It also featured a multi-header diffuser on the end of the pipe. 

The focus report’s timelines include receiving the focal report within a year, NSE having 14 days to notify the public where it can be accessed and reviewed for comment and a 30-day consultation period. Department staff has 25 days to review the responses and submit a recommendation to NSE.

Rerouting the overland pipe away from Highway 106 was among 11 general points contained in Miller’s document. It says the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal does not permit the pipeline to be placed on the highway’s shoulder.

It also sought maps and/or drawings of the new pipeline location, as well as a list of properties that will intersect with the new alignment.

Kathy Cloutier, director of corporate communications for Paper Excellence Canada, responded by email to the document.

“Having just received the Terms of Reference provided by Nova Scotia Environment’s EA department, over the coming week Northern Pulp will review the details to determine timelines and other associated factors related to the additional information request,” she said.

Pictou Mayor Jim Ryan supported Miller’s concerns which the town expressed regarding the proposed pipe’s proximity with the town’s sources of drinking water,

“The Minister’s response certainly recognized and addressed the major concerns identified in the town submission,” he said.

In an emailed response, Ryan said the town questioned air quality as well as effluent discharge in the proposal

“The town cannot accept additional risk to the water supply and has expressed significant discomfort with the lack of information regarding the potential for new emissions or odours resulting from the burning of the sludge or transmission of treated effluent,” he said.

Two other points dealt with requesting from Northern Pulp a response to questions and comments by the public, government departments and the Mi’kmaq community and a study on indigenous people’s use of land and resources.

Information on the effluent treatment facility’s design, construction, operation and maintenance has been sought.

Other areas include marine water and marine sediment, fresh water resources, air quality, fish and fish habitat, archaeology, human health and baseline herptile (lizards andamphibians), plant and bird surveys.