About the Project
Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation (NPNS) pulp mill in Abercrombie Point, Pictou County has operated since 1967. NPNS uses water as part of its processing to produce the kraft pulp product it sells both domestically and internationally. After the water is used in production it is treated at the existing effluent treatment facility (ETF) at Boat Harbour. The Northern Pulp mill and ETF are operated under permit (Industrial Approval).
A Replacement Treatment Facility is Needed
The existing ETF needs to be replaced to meet the requirements of the Boat Harbour Act. A replacement ETF is proposed to be designed, built, and operated using current best practices in order to allow the operation to continue. The main components of the proposed new ETF will be located on Northern Pulp property, adjacent to the mill. This means all treatment will occur on-site. The water, once treated and ready for discharge, will be released through a pipe to an outfall location. The technically recommended location for the outfall is in the Northumberland Strait. More information about how we arrived at this being the recommended approach can be found here.
In accordance with the Environment Act, the design and construction of a new treatment facility is a 'modification to an existing undertaking'. The design and construction of a new facility will follow the process of a Class 1 Environmental Assessment (EA). EA approval from the Minister of Environment is required prior to construction and operation.
Purpose of the Environmental Assessment
The detailed design of the ETF, including outfall design and location, has not been finalized. The purpose of the EA study is to identify constraints and mitigation measures to protect the environment (natural and socio-economic), which will be incorporated into the final design and construction of the ETF.
The EA study began in Fall 2017. In December 2017 we had the initial engagement sessions to receive input on the proposed study and understand community/stakeholder concerns. Many meetings, informal discussions, and presentations have followed. In late 2017 and early 2018 environmental studies were being completed to understand the existing conditions in the area. We began evaluating potential for impacts and developing appropriate environmental planning.
In early 2018, significant engineering challenges were found, and the whole design team of engineers had to stop and consider if these challenges could be overcome, or if there were other paths forward.
In Fall of 2018 a new alternative route and marine outfall location were presented to Pictou Landing First Nation, fishermen, key stakeholders and government. The EA team also began looking at this new alternative.
We are now working to submit a Registration Document to Nova Scotia Environment in early 2019.
We thank the many individuals, communities, and groups who have met with us and provided insight and shared their thoughts and ideas on the project.