Northern Pulp receives order from Minister on continued Boat Harbour use

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ABERCROMBIE – Northern Pulp received an order from Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment Gordon Wilson directing the on-going use of the Boat Harbour wastewater treatment plant until the end of April 2020.

The order and its 38 pages of terms and descriptions was issued on Tuesday.

It applies to general operations that were to end today so that no further mill effluent would flow to the Boat Harbour treatment facility and limits wastewater sent through the pipe under the East River to the cleaning and decommissioning of the pipe over the next few months.

The order requests third-party confirmation rendering the mill incapable of producing pulp on or before January 31, 2020 and requires the mill to maintain infrastructure “to ensure systems which have the potential to have an impact on the environment are not compromised by the cessation of pulp production.”

The mill is also required to provide daily water use data on a monthly basis to the department and stop discharging all wastewater to the Boat Harbour facility by April 30, 2020.

The order seeks a plan to inspect the pipeline’s condition by April 1, confirm the inspection has occurred by May 1 and for the mill to develop a decommissioning plan by August 1.   

The order includes provisions to ban the discharge of pulping liquor, monitor water use and measure air emissions, while ramping down the power boiler use by April 20 so that it is shut down by April 30.

Groundwater and surface water monitoring at the mill site is also required.

Petroleum and ash pond management, asbestos disposal and industrial landfill provisions are also included

“The short-term extension to use the Boat Harbour wastewater treatment facility will allow for a safe and environmentally sound hibernation of our facilities,” said Brian Baarda, CEO of Paper Excellence, in a press release.

“Thus far, we have transferred almost all chemicals from the site to other operating facilities in Canada and the hibernation plan is on track to be completed by end of April.”

The press release says that hibernation of the pulp mill during cold temperatures poses significant challenges against both the freezing of piping and maintaining adequate warmth during the wastewater treatment process until the end of winter. Monitoring and testing of wastewater is continuing throughout the hibernation of the mill.

The facility has now given layoff notice to most employees however some will remain over the next six months as activity continues but winds down into the fall of 2020.