Directive issued to Northern Pulp after ash leak earlier this month

Plan required to prevent further discharges of power boiler ash slurry into a ditch.

HALIFAX — An ash leak at the Northern Pulp mill earlier this month prompted a cleanup directive from Nova Scotia’s Environment Department.

The directive says the mill, located at Abercrombie Point near Pictou, must submit a plan to prevent further discharges of power boiler ash slurry into a ditch northwest of the facility’s power boiler ash pond by June 29.

Environment Minister Iain Rankin said Tuesday the spill was “small” and “low risk to the environment.”

“The actual material itself, the fly ash, is not toxic,” he said. “So … we were basically comfortable with the directive and happy that they self-reported it to the department.”

Under the directive, the mill must also inspect its Pictou Harbour shoreline bi-weekly and clean up any boiler ash and submit bi-weekly reports on its activities.

In an email, Kathy Cloutier, communications director with the mill’s parent company Paper Excellence, said a leak occurred in the mill’s ash line that sent wood ash to a ditch in front of the mill on Feb. 9.

Cloutier said the cleanup began the same day and the mill also notified the Environment Department.

“This line takes a mixture of wood ash and water from the power boiler to the ash pit located on the mill’s property. Immediate action was taken to remove the line from service.”

Cloutier said the line had since been repaired, inspected and returned to service.

“To avoid any wood ash reaching the ditch in the future, Northern Pulp will redirect the trench carrying the line under the employee parking lot directly to the ash pit when weather permits,” Cloutier said.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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