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N.S. withholds Northern Pulp approval, requesting more data

December 17, 2019  By P&PC Staff

Northern Pulp. Photo: © Murdo Ferguson/Paper Excellence

Construction of Northern Pulp’s effluent treatment facility has been delayed again after Nova Scotia’s environment minister announced today he will not approve the project proposal without further scientific information.

According to the Canadian Press (CP), Environment Minister Gordon Wilson said the province requires a new environmental assessment report indicating that the proposed pipe will not harm fish, air, water or human health.

The Paper Excellence–owned mill had already submitted additional information to its proposal in the form of a focus report on Oct. 2, which contained third-party assessments saying that the modern Activated Sludge Treatment (AST) system it planned to install would not have adverse effects on fish or the environment.


The AST system was part of the proposed wastewater facility on Northern Pulp property that would deliver 85 million litres of treated effluent per day via a 15.5-kilometre pipeline into Northumberland Strait.

The CBC reports that the terms of reference for this new report ordered by Wilson will be released by Jan. 10, with a 30-day period for public comments to follow. Northern Pulp would have an additional two years to file the report.

In the interim, however, the mill’s current pipeline, which releases untreated effluent into Boat Harbour near Pictou Landing First Nation, must be removed by Jan. 31 2020, as previously ordered by the province.

Brian Baarda, CEO of Paper Excellence, told CP in a statement that the province must now decide “as soon as possible” on extending that deadline in order to keep the mill operational.

The mill previously said it will close if an extension to that deadline isn’t granted, which would cost about 300 direct jobs.

–With files from The Canadian Press and CBC

Read the full story from The Canadian Press on our partner site Manufacturing AUTOMATION.

For more background on Northern Pulp’s plan and its consultations with the local community, read our recent feature Pipe or #NoPipe?.

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