Environment Minister’s Order will likely result in odour at Boat Harbour this summer: Northern Pulp

Featured Online First

ABERCROMBIE – Northern Pulp says the Ministerial Order issued by Nova Scotia Environment on May 14 for management of the Northern Pulp site during its hibernation will likely cause septicity in Boat Harbour.

Graham Kissack, vice president Health, Safety, Environment, and Communications, speaking on behalf of Northern Pulp, said in a press release the company is disappointed with the Ministerial Order.

“Since the mill ceased production on January 12, Northern Pulp has worked cooperatively with Nova Scotia Environment on the safe and environmentally sound hibernation of the facility. However, the new Ministerial Order imposes terms and conditions in addition to those in the January 2020 Ministerial Order that are impractical and show a lack of understanding of the pulp and paper industry and effluent treatment facilities.”

He says it also imposes obligations on Northern Pulp that it is not responsible for and has not agreed to accept.

“The Ministerial Order is supposed to protect the receiving environment. In fact, it will probably do the opposite and cause septicity in Boat Harbour with odour emissions.”

He says Northern Pulp raised the risk of septicity with Nova Scotia Environment in January and provided recommendations to mitigate it.

The new Ministerial Order prevents Northern Pulp from discharging even clean, fresh water from the mill to the effluent treatment facility. Kissack says that absence of water flow “will likely contribute to lower water levels and septic conditions causing odour” which impacts neighbouring communities including the Pictou Landing First Nation.

He says, “Without sufficient aeration and water, the site will generate odour.”

The Ministerial Order also burdens Northern Pulp with meeting compliance limits on the water discharges from Boat Harbour into Northumberland Strait. “Now that Northern Pulp is not operating, the vast majority of water entering Boat Harbour and subsequently being discharged is unrelated to the mill.” Those waters come from surface flows outside its 8 km perimeter that could contain any number of substances unrelated to Northern Pulp.

Kissack questions, “How can we take responsibility for something that has nothing to do with our operation?”

Moving forward, Paper Excellence and Northern Pulp are continuing to review the final Environmental Assessment Terms of Reference for the proposed effluent treatment facility modernization at Northern Pulp to determine if it provides a workable path forward.

“We want to continue being a contributing member of the community. We believe that we can work together with all governments and community members to achieve environmental goals while creating investment, job growth, and innovation in Nova Scotia.”