Nova Scotia pulp company fined $225,000 for effluent spill

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The Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation has been ordered to pay $225,000 for a Fisheries Act offence that occurred in June 2014. The offence relates to a pipeline break that spilled over 47 million litres of untreated pulp and paper effluent into an area leading to the East River/Pictou Harbour.

On June 11, 2014, Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers inspected the site and collected samples near the pipeline break. Analysis of samples taken by both Environment and Climate Change Canada and Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation showed that the untreated effluent was deleterious to fish. Depositing or allowing the deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish is an offence under the federal Fisheries Act.

On May 11, 2016 the Court rendered its final decision regarding the allocation of the total penalty, which will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) program. The Mi’kmaw Conservation Group, the Pictou County Rivers Association and the Pictou Landing First Nation will each receive $75,000 under the program to carry out fish and fish habitat projects in Pictou County.

In 2015, the province of Nova Scotia set aside $50 million to clean up the waste treatment plant in Boat Harbour where effluent from Northern Pulp is piped for treatment. According to the CBC, the treatment facility is scheduled to close by 2020 with cleanup expected to take up to 10 years to complete.

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