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N.S. to proceed with cleanup despite no plan from Northern Pulp

March 22, 2021  By P&PC Staff

The province of Nova Scotia has provided an update on the cleanup process for the shuttered Northern Pulp’s basins at Boat Harbour.

Nova Scotia Lands will be responsible for removing all sludge material from the effluent treatment facility’s aeration stabilization basins.

The cleanup will begin once the federal environmental assessment process is complete and approved. The approval is expected in 2021, with the cleanup to start in 2022.


The province is now working on a plan to dredge and dispose of the sludge to ensure the job is completed in a timely way.

The additional sludge removal is expected to cost $19 million. The province says it is not accepting any legal liability associated with the additional work.

Northern Pulp was responsible for removing the top layer of sludge, down to the level of a 1997 baseline survey.

The kraft pulp mill was ordered by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to develop a decommissioning plan with details regarding the removal and disposal of all solid waste located within the open ditches, settling basins and aeration basins by no later than Aug. 1, 2020.

The company, which is owned by Paper Excellence, was provided an extension to Feb. 28, 2021, but has not yet submitted a complete decommissioning plan, leaving the province to forge ahead.

This means that decommissioning activities could overlap with the remediation project, delaying the cleanup because it is not possible for both parties to dredge on the same site at the same time, the province says.

“We cannot continue to wait. Taking one management approach makes good sense to ensure it’s managed in a responsible way and timelines stay on track,” says Lloyd Hines, minister responsible for Nova Scotia Lands.

“It’s a commitment to the people of Pictou Landing First Nation and Pictou County and we intend to keep it.”

The federal government has committed $100 million toward the overall remediation project.

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