The new industrial approval for Northern Pulp was granted Friday by the province and focuses on improvements for air emissions, water usage and wastewater emissions that are expected to bring it in line with other kraft mills across the country.
Environment Minister Randy Delorey said Friday that he believes the province has taken steps to address the concerns of Pictou County residents over the mill’s emissions.
“I believe that by any account and by the movement and progress we made in the past year and half, by addressing these concerns, we are first trying to understand the details and challenges that have been historically around and we are addressing them in a significant movement in this direction,” he said. “Will we address all the concerns of the residents? We will find out later today and coming days, I am sure, but certainly we have taken an appropriate approach. The best way to address the concerns of the community was to take a clear evidence-based scientific approach to establishing, in a transparent manner, the industrial approval. That is what staff do, that is what they did in this case and all we did was bring in a little bit more transparency.”
High particle emissions and Northern Pulp’s inability in the past to meet provincial standards received national media coverage his past summer as a grassroots group, Clean the Pictou County Pulp Mill, started voicing its concerns over social media sites and holding events that drew the public’s attention to the mill’s emissions.
Highlights in the industrial agreement as it relates to air issues include reductions in particulate matter emissions expected once the mill’s new precipitator is operational in May 2015. The new industrial approval requires strict adherence to new tighter limits including:
• Reduction of total particulate matter in stack limits on the recovery boiler – from 375 mg/ Rm3 to below 77 mg/Rm3.
• Annual facility emission caps for particulate matter and sulphur dioxide, starting Jan. 1, 2016
• Stack testing of the recovery boiler and power boiler doubled to four times a year.