Environment Minister Iain Rankin has issued a ministerial order to Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation today, Oct. 10, requiring the company to address issues with its power boiler.
The mill’s industrial approval requires it to operate within a measure of 150 milligrams per referenced cubic metre of particulate matter when stacks are tested. The June 2017 stack test showed the power boiler tested at 224 milligrams per referenced cubic metre.
In part, the order requires the company to make public, on its website, stack test results until its industrial approval expires in 2020.
“The communities surrounding the mill have asked for more information about these stack tests and this order should help address these concerns and enhance transparency,” said Mr. Rankin.
Under the order, the company must provide the department with its external consultant reports, as well as any reports for the two audits completed on the power boiler and the power boiler emission control equipment in the summer of 2017. The company must also provide the department with all training records related to the power boiler.
The mill will undergo a scheduled shutdown in October. The order requires the company to provide the department with detailed reports about what is planned for the shutdown, when the shutdown is completed and what the company achieved to bring the power boiler into compliance.
In addition to the order, the company was served a summary offence ticket for $697.50 for failing to comply with the terms and conditions of its industrial approval. These enforcement measures follow an investigation by the department after the June stack test.
“As a regulator, my focus is making sure companies comply with provincial regulations and within their industrial approvals,” said Mr. Rankin. “In the past, if the Northern Pulp mill exceeded its limits, we have worked with the company to get the mill back into compliance. This recent stack test result is evidence that more work and enforcement are needed to ensure the power boiler is operating properly.”
As part of its industrial approval, Northern Pulp is required to conduct power boiler stack tests four times a year. These tests are a proactive way to catch and address any problems with the boiler before it potentially causes a larger environmental issue. These are not health-based tests.
Pictou’s ambient air measures are well below the national average, according to Health Canada’s guidelines, when it comes to health measures, and have been since 2014 when the new precipitator was put in place.
The ministerial order can be viewed at www.novascotia.ca/nse/issues/northern-pulp.asp.