Nova Scotia

Northern Pulp charged with releasing effluent into fish habitat

The Northern Pulp mill has been charged under the federal Fisheries Act with releasing pulp and paper effluent into water inhabited by fish.

Pictou Landing First Nation wants the mill to close its treatment facility at Boat Harbour

Northern Pulp mill is charged with releasing effluent into water used by fish in connection with a June 2014 spill at Pictou Landing. (Pictou Landing First Nation)

The Northern Pulp mill has been charged under Environment Canada's Fisheries Act with releasing pulp and paper effluent into water inhabited by fish.

On June 10, 2014, a leak in an effluent pipe forced a shutdown of the Pictou County mill. That pipe carries 90-million litres of pulp waste every day from the mill site at Abercrombie Point, under the East River to a treatment facility at Pictou Landing.

At the time, then Environment Minister Randy Delorey estimated the pooled effluent totalled about four- to five-million litres.

Environment Canada ordered the company to contain and clean up the spill and an investigation was launched. The charge was laid by Fisheries and Oceans Canada on Aug. 27, 2015.

Northern Pulp is scheduled to make a court appearance in Pictou on Nov. 30.

The company has done extensive work to repair the problem, Northern Pulp spokeswoman Kathy Cloutier said Wednesday.

"The entire line has now been inspected as a preventative measure to minimize the possibility of such a leak occurring again," she said.

"During the June 2015 maintenance shutdown, Northern Pulp undertook proactive line repairs as part of ongoing preventative measures."

The leak resulted in a protest and blockade by members of the Pictou Landing First Nation, who have demanded the closure of the mill's treatment facility at Boat Harbour.

Earlier this year, the provincial government brought in legislation to close the treatment plant by 2020, and set aside $50 million for the cleanup.