Paper company fined $250K for Madawaska River contamination from New Brunswick

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Madawaska
The Madawaska River is home to Brook Trout, Yellow Perch and Atlantic Salmon. The river flows out of Lake Temiscouata in Quebec and meets the Saint John River at Edmundston. Michael Connor Photo, stock.adobe.com

The Twin Rivers Paper Company Inc. has been fined $250,000 by the New Brunswick Provincial Court after pleading guilty to a 2021 incident of depositing pulp and paper process water (white water) into the Madawaska River.  

The U.S. company’s Edmunston-based pulp mill had been operating a pipeline that cracked and resulted in the deposit of groundwood white water into the fish-bearing Madawaska River, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers who witnessed the Fisheries Act contravention. 

The pipeline leak into the river deposited approximately 102,000 litres of groundwood white water over 24 hours, according to a federal enforcement notification. An investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada determined that the pipeline failed due to “extensive external corrosion”.  

The white water consists of the liquid in the pulp slurry that is left over after filtration at the paper mill. It is normally returned to the pulp mill to be reused or recycled. Testing of the groundwood white water samples determined the substance to be deleterious or harmful to fish.  

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The Madawaska River is home to Brook Trout, Yellow Perch and Atlantic Salmon. The river flows out of Lake Temiscouata in Quebec and meets the Saint John River at Edmundston.  

The company’s Edmundston pulp mill provides bleached softwood sulphite and bleached groundwood pulp to the Madawaska paper mill for the manufacture of specialized packaging, technical, label and publishing papers.  

As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. 

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