Local fishermen concerned about a local pulp mill’s plans for effluent treatment plant will have their say this weekend on the proposed project.
Nova Scotia Environment Minister Iain Rankin will meet with fishers as well as Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane Sunday at 11 a.m. at Fraser’s office to discuss the project.
Fraser said the environment minister has been meeting with stakeholders about the proposed new effluent treatment facility at Northern Pulp in Abercrombie and it is important to hear from fishers who have expressed concern about the possible release of effluent into the Northumberland Strait.
“It is an important issue to our community,” he said. “This helps bring the right people together in the room and get feedback.”
The design of the new replacement facility is being done by consultant KSH Solutions, which is tasked with creating a comprehensive study that would include all civil, mechanical, electrical and instrumentation required for construction of a new effluent facility located within Northern Pulp’s existing mill site.
Northern Pulp said in an earlier statement that the new technology will be the activated sludge treatment process involving an aeration stage and a clarification and recycle stage, which is different from the current aerated stabilization basis process, with lagoons. Once treated, effluent would be discharged into the Northumberland Strait, but since the project is still in the design stages no one is exactly sure where or how this will be done.
Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane said the project has raised concern among local fishermen.
“I was inundated with calls from fishers concerned about the proposal to put effluent pipeline in the strait,” she said. “After some discussions they (the province) offered to have a meeting.”
She stressed the project is still in the preliminary stages but it is important for stakeholders such as fishers to have their say now.
The meeting is strictly for fishermen and politicians because they want a format where each can speak freely and frankly. Members of the public will have opportunity to provide input during sessions further into the environmental assessment process.
The province announced in June 2015 that the current effluent treatment facility will close in January 2020. The current treatment facility has been operating for almost 50 years and planning for the remediation of Boat Harbour is already underway. This is being handled by Nova Scotia Lands and preliminary budgets for the cleanup are estimated at just over $88 million.