Northern Pulp held open houses Tuesday to receive feedback on its plan to pump wastewater into the Northumberland Strait.
The over 50-year-old facility was forced to change its operation after the province mandated the closure of the current treatment centre by 2020.
Northern Pulp has started consultation on their new plan which would include a new wastewater treatment facility on the mill's property, then laying a 10.5-kilometre pipeline on the bottom of Pictou Harbour. The pipe will carry the treated wastewater out into the Northumberland Strait.
It's not a popular idea in the area, especially among fishermen who have some questions they say remain unanswered.
“It's also fresh water. So at this point, we know our larvae float. We know our lobster larvae float, and this is a saltwater species that needs saltwater to survive,” says biologist Melanie Giffin.
Giffin says fresh water rises, so the larvae will float in that water. Northern Pulp's consultant Guy Martin says they've looked at that issue
“The results of that mathematical model show that although it is considered fresh water, the impact is minimum,” says Martin.
Protesters say they're not against the mill, just this plan. Many say they don’t understand why government allowed the mill's environmental assessment process to be "fast-tracked," giving the public 30 days to comment rather than 110 days.
No one has revealed who will pay for this new facility. Northern Pulp tells CTV News the cost outline will come in the "next phase of detailed engineering."
The company is holding open houses for the public and asking for feedback until March. They plan to submit their proposal to the government in July.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.