Testing at pulp mill underway

John Brannen
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ABERCROMBIE POINT – Testing is underway on the stacks at Northern Pulp to determine what is in the emissions and how much is being released.

According to Lori Errington, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia Environment, the pulp mill is required to have a consultant carry out stack tests twice per year.

“These tests determine what emissions are coming directly from the stacks,” she said. “It’s an indication of how well the equipment in each stack is working to reduce emissions.”

Three Stantec technicians have been hired by Northern Pulp to carry out the weeklong testing and issue the report to NSE.

David MacKenzie, a spokesperson for Northern Pulp, noted that testing takes place at the recovery boiler, power boiler, dissolving tank and lime kiln.

“The testing gear needs to be moved around and re-set up at all the locations,” said MacKenzie. “The regulatory protocol is that three repeat tests of two-hour duration are taken at each of the four sample locations.”

The operating conditions and production rates at the time of are included in the final report and emission rates are provided on a mass per-time basis and a mass per-production-unit basis.

According to NSE, the last tests, carried out in November 2013, indicated particulate matter was 666 milligrams per reference cubic metre. This was 78 per cent above the approval’s limit of 375.

Over 80 people gathered in New Glasgow on Sunday near the Pictou County Health Authority to protest the continued operation of the mill despite its non-compliance with NSE guidelines.

“Tests were to be done in June 2014, but they had begun work when the effluent leak occurred, shutting down the mill. It had to be rescheduled,” said Errington.

While it takes about a week to gather samples, it can take as long as one month for lab tests to be completed. Those results are then supplied to NSE and reviewed to determine if actions are required.

“Staff at Pictou get the results directly from Northern Pulp then determine options for compliance, if required.”

Environment Minister Randy Delorey told The News on Aug. 8 that he’s unsure if the document will be made public, as the mill technically owns the report. A freedom of information request may have to be submitted, though he said he’s looking into it.

MacKenzie wouldn’t speculate on what the results of the testing might be this time.



On Twitter: @NGNews 

Organizations: Nova Scotia Environment, Stantec, Pictou County Health Authority

Geographic location: New Glasgow

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