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Nova Scotia to pay up to $10 million to assist cleanup of Northern Pulp site

The Northern Pulp mill in Abercrombie Point, N.S., is viewed from Pictou, N.S., December 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
The Nova Scotia government says it is providing a maximum of $10 million under an agreement with the Northern Pulp mill to help with the cleanup of the site while the mill is in hibernation.
The province says the money provided to the mill’s parent company, Paper Excellence, is about half the cost of the work and will pay for removal of the leachate, decommissioning of effluent pipes and cleanup of ditches and aeration basins on the site.
The province owns the pipe that runs from the mill to the now-closed effluent lagoon in Boat Harbour, near the Pictou Landing First Nation.
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The pulp mill stopped production on Jan. 31 after the province rejected its request to continue pumping treated effluent into the lagoon.
The province says the company has estimated the total shutdown process will cost about $20 million and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2021.
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It says the company’s work plan is in line with orders from the minister of environment and needs to be completed before work can begin to remediate Boat Harbour in 2021.
The company is to provide reports to the province, and all costs are to be validated by the outside firm Grant Thornton.
“We are committed to seeing the cleanup is done right, and through the funding agreement, we will hold the company accountable to make sure it does,” Premier Stephen McNeil said in a news release Tuesday.
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“Completing this work is an important part of the process to return Boat Harbour,… to its original state for the people of Pictou Landing First Nation and surrounding communities.”

McNeil’s Liberal government made the commitment to Pictou Landing in 2015 after five decades of the wastewater flowing into the estuary on the edge of the reserve.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2020.

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