Northern Pulp is proposing a new route for its controversial plan to pipe treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait.

The idea comes the day after a leak was found in the current pipeline near Pictou Landing First Nation.

First Nations leaders and fishing groups still say any pipeline is unacceptable, though.

The pipe carrying effluent from the northern pulp mill started leaking Sunday morning, a day after the mill began maintenance shutdown.

It was noticed by someone out for a walk, and reported to the mill.

“We immediately notified authorities, as well as First Nations and, of course, began steps to reduce and cease the flow of effluent as well as water,” said Northern Pulp spokeswoman Kathy Cloutier.

The leak comes as Northern Pulp plans to pump treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait in 2020.

There's growing opposition to the idea and it resulted in a large protest this summer in Pictou.

Monday, a coalition of Maritime fishermen and First Nations officials met with mill management, who proposed a new pipeline route.

The timing, after Sunday's spill, could not have been more awkward.

“The mill did not know the pipe was broken until a citizen out walking discovered it,” said fisherman Allan MacCarthy. “So, unless they're going to get a report from a stray lobster, how are they gonna know if that pipe would've broke under the Northumberland Strait?”

The new proposal would see the pipeline run along highway 106 to the ferry terminal in Caribou. Then it would extend four kilometres out into the Northumberland Strait. Fishermen say that's simply unacceptable.

“The location, yes, may have changed however, the effluent discharge is still in the Northumberland Strait and for that, we are opposing it,” said Chief Andrea Paul of Pictou Landing First Nation.

“We will not accept a pipe in the Northumberland Strait,” MacCarthy said. “We've been very clear about that.”

Meanwhile, remediation and cleanup work continues, at the site of Sunday's leak.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.