HALIFAX -- Northern Pulp is accusing the Nova Scotia government of being "impractical" and showing a lack of understanding of the pulp and paper industry.

The company is responding to a ministerial order issued may 14 which governs how the company will manage its site during its shutdown.

In a release today -- a company spokesman says that absence of water flow will likely contribute to lower water levels and septic conditions -- causing an odour which could affect neighbouring communities.

The Nova Scotia Department of Environment says the company's responsibilities are clear.

"A ministerial order is an enforcement action," said Environment Department spokesperson Rachel Boomer. "The company is required to follow it."

Boomer also said that Northern Pulp is required to hire a third-party professional engineer to develop a plan to keep Boat Harbour from "going septic."

"It also needs to promptly decommission the settling basins and wastewater treatment lagoons and remove the sludges, as the ministerial order directs them to do," Boomer said. "The faster the company gets this done, the less chance Boat Harbour will turn septic. It is their responsibility."

Northern Pulp has until next week to submit the engineer's report.