Thunder Bay

Ministry of Environment reviewing incident with Resolute Forest Products effluent in Thunder Bay, Ont.

The Ministry of the Environment says it will continue to look into an incident where Resolute Forest Products was discharging "higher than normal contaminant levels" through its effluent into the Kaministiquia River.
The Ministry of Environment is investigating after the Total Suspended Solids in the effluent at Resolute Forest Products' Thunder Bay pulp and paper mill were higher than normal, following an issue at its kraft mill. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

The Ministry of the Environment says it will continue to look into an incident where Resolute Forest Products was discharging "higher than normal contaminant levels" through its effluent into the Kaministiquia River.

The ministry said it was notified on February 8 about the mill experiencing a problem with its effluent treatment system because of an unexpected shutdown of the kraft mill three days earlier. 

"As a result there were higher than normal contaminant levels in the effluent discharge to the Kaministiqua River. The company shut down the kraft mill to reduce the amount of effluent going into the river," a spokesperson for the ministry said in a statement.

A day after being notified, the operations of the treatment system started to stabilize and the kraft mill was restarted on February 12, with normal operations since that time, the Ministry said.

Seth Kursman, the vice president of corporate communications with Resolute said the ministry was notified as required.

"During this unscheduled outage, the extreme cold weather resulted in a shock to the Kraft Mill side of the effluent plant. As per the site procedures, appropriate steps and corrective actions were taken quickly to mitigate the impacts on the effluent plant including prolonging the Kraft mill unscheduled outage," Kursman said in a statement.

"All treated effluent from the complex went through a fully permitted and monitored outfall. The site did experience elevated Total Suspended Solids at the treated effluent outfall on February 7 only, which was communicated promptly to government," he wrote.

The ministry said it takes all spills and threats to the environment seriously and will ensure environmental impacts are properly addressed.

The ministry said it is reviewing the incident and may take additional steps, which could include regulatory action.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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