HALIFAX -- A draft of an industrial approval for Northern Pulp would require the Nova Scotia paper mill to reduce air emissions, water consumption and waste water effluent.

The province's Environment Department has released the draft industrial approval, which the government says would bring the Pictou County operation in line with other mills in North America.

It would require the company to bring down water usage and waste water by 40 per cent by 2020.

Comments on the draft industrial approval, which is posted on the department's website, will be accepted until Jan. 5.

The mill's existing approval expires Jan. 30.

The facility has been working in recent months to bring down emissions levels by May 30 after a government compliance order was issued in August.