Kruger Inc.'s struggling paper mill in Corner Brook was fined $50,000 on Wednesday for polluting the mouth of the Humber River.

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The Corner Brook newsprint mill has been struggling financially. ((CBC))

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper accidentally released nearly 7,400 litres of sodium hydroxide into a storm sewer that flows into the Humber Arm, part of the river's estuary on the west coast of Newfoundland, almost three years ago.

The substance, also known as lye and used in a variety of industrial applications, is harmful to fish.

The release happened while a tanker truck was trying to transfer the chemical to a steam plant.

The company pleaded guilty earlier in June in Newfoundland and Labrador provincial court to violating the federal Fisheries Act by releasing a substance that is noxious to fish into a fish-containing body of water.

The bulk of the fine, $45,000, will be paid to the federal Environmental Damages Fund, Environment Canada said Wednesday in a statement. The rest will go to the court.

Owned by Montreal-based Kruger Inc., Corner Brook Pulp and Paper operates the only remaining newsprint mill in the province but has been in financial distress recently amid low worldwide prices for newsprint and the high Canadian dollar.

 The Newfoundland and Labrador government committed $15.4 million in its most recent budget to cover some of the paper company's costs.