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Northern Pulp asks for one-year extension on effluent plan


February 1, 2019
By P&PC Staff

February 1, 2019 – Northern Pulp has submitted a request to the Nova Scotia government to extend the deadline to move its effluent drainage system, and indicated that it may not be able to continue to operate without extra time.

The Globe and Mail reports that the pulp and paper mill is seeking an additional year to come up with an alternative plan for its wastewater treatment, meaning it would continue dumping its effluent near First Nations territory until January 2021. 

The Abercrombie, Nova Scotia–based Northern Pulp has been ordered by the province to stop diverting its effluent through the nearby Pictou Landing First Nations reserve, which sees untreated effluent piped into the Boat Harbour facility before being emptied into Northumberland Strait. The waters in the strait are now polluted with toxic substances that the community says are a threat to the environment and fishermen’s livelihoods.

Following a public consultation, the mill was given five years come up with a new plan, with the deadline coming up in January of next year. 


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At a press conference this week, Northern Pulp representatives said they need the extra time to ensure there is due diligence for each phase of their proposed wastewater plan. While executives did not say the mill would close if the deadline wasn’t extended, they did say they would not operate illegally under the Boat Harbour Act, which states that no effluent can be drained into the strait after January 2020.

Northern Pulp’s proposed plan has the effluent treatment on-site at the mill, with a mostly land-based pipeline leading to a terminus at Caribou Point – which the mill says has deep waters to make it more ideal for dilution.