Decision made on appeal of N.S. pulp mill's water use
HALIFAX -- The operator of a Pictou County pulp mill has withdrawn its appeal of an industrial permit approved by the provincial government following decisions by the environment minister to resolve some of the outstanding issues.
The province issued a new five-year industrial approval for Northern Pulp's mill in January 2015, introducing tighter restrictions on emissions, wastewater effluent and water consumption.
The mill's general manager, Bruce Chapman, said at the time the permit was not acceptable, vague and could place the long-term viability of the facility in jeopardy.
In a news release Monday, the government says Environment Minister Margaret Miller has now resolved outstanding issues on the mill's water use, including a maximum daily average consumption rate.
That release was followed by a statement from the company confirming it has notified the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia of its withdrawal of the appeal of its permit.
The company must report results on reduced sulphur levels in wastewater to the department by June 30 every year, and submit proposed capital water reduction projects for review a year before their proposed implementation.
As well, a third-party engineer must be hired to study the impact of the projects on the quality of the effluent entering and being discharged from the effluent treatment system.
"Government has worked very hard these past two years to ensure a cleaner and safe, operating mill, and to ensure we support Nova Scotians in their desire for an environmentally healthy and prosperous Pictou County," Miller said in a statement Monday. "The limits outlined in this decision remain lower than the limits in the mill's 2011 approval."
The government says the new requirements are in addition to changes made last July to the permit's terms and conditions.
"There is no benefit to being involved in a lengthy court process," said Chapman in the company's statement.
"Working together to ensure the best environmental protection possible, while maintaining the long term stability and profitability of the mill, is the best scenario for Northern Pulp, our suppliers and our employees and their families."
Under the latest changes, the mill must achieve a maximum daily average water consumption rate of 92,310 cubic metres by Jan. 30, 2020.
The mill at Abercrombie Point has come under fire by residents of Pictou County for exceeding pollution limits and emitting a foul stench.