Nova Scotia

Northern Pulp emissions prompt directive from Nova Scotia government

There's good news and bad news emerging from the stacks at the Northern Pulp paper mill in Pictou County.

$35M precipitator has lowered air particulate emissions, but emissions from power boiler exceeding limits

The Environment Department has ordered Northern Pulp to carry out an independent engineering review and evaluation of the entire boiler system by Nov. 30. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

There's good news and bad news emerging from the stacks at the Northern Pulp paper mill in Pictou County.

The most recent test results — taken in September — show a new $35-million precipitator has lowered air particulate emissions from the mill recovery boiler to well below government limits.

But particulate emissions from the power boiler are still exceeding the limits, prompting a directive from the Nova Scotia government on Tuesday.

The Environment Department has ordered Northern Pulp to carry out an independent engineering review and evaluation of the entire boiler system by Nov. 30.

"We are incredibly pleased with the results of the recovery boiler precipitator," says Kathy Cloutier, a spokesperson for Northern Pulp.

"We are 100 per cent committed to resolving the issue of power boiler emissions."

The power boiler has had fluctuating results — sometimes meeting limits and other times failing.

Cloutier said the mill is already working on the problem and preliminary results show too much excess combustion air is within the power boiler furnace. It is also investigating whether bark that is too small is not burning sufficiently and being released as particulate.

The September results for the recovery boiler were four milligrams per reference cubic metre. The allowable limit is 77 milligrams per reference cubic metre.

For the power boiler, emissions were 190 milligrams per reference cubic metre and the limit is 150 milligrams per reference cubic metre.

Northern Pulp continues to protest other measures imposed in its most recent government industrial approval, including water restrictions. The company has launched a court challenge and is in discussions with the Nova Scotia government.

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