New Brunswick

Irving Pulp and Paper's illegal dumping trial set for late October

Six weeks have been set aside for Irving Pulp and Paper's trial on charges the mill dumped a harmful substance into the St. John River at Saint John.

Company accused of 15 violations of the federal Fisheries Act

Irving Pulp and Paper is charged with 15 counts of depositing a 'deleterious substance' into the St. John River. (CBC)

Six weeks have been set aside for Irving Pulp and Paper's trial on 15 counts of dumping a harmful substance into the St. John River at Saint John.

The company has pleaded not guilty to violating the federal Fisheries Act at its Reversing Falls Mill over a two-year period from June 2014 through August 2016.

In each case, the mill is alleged to have deposited a harmful substance in waters frequented by fish.

The nature of the substance allegedly deposited in the St. John River has not been revealed.

In a statement Jan. 30, J.D. Irving vice-president Mary Keith said the charges are based on fish mortality rates in a laboratory test, which were self-reported by the company.

"The laboratory test does not reflect what would happen in the real world," Keith said. "None of the incidents that resulted in the 15 charges resulted in any environmental damage. There was no fish mortality in the natural environment as a result of the incidents."

Keith also said the "issues" reported were within the guidelines of Irving Pulp and Paper's approval to operate the mill.

Because of previous pollution convictions in 2007, if Irving is found guilty of all 15 charges the minimum penalty would be $3 million.

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