October 15, 2018
Irving Pulp and Paper has pleaded guilty to three pollution charges issued under the Fisheries Act and has agreed to pay up to $3.5 million in penalties.
This is the latest development in a case that has been ongoing for almost two years, and that Pulp & Paper Canada previously reported had been settled for a then-undisclosed amount. The mill was originally charged with 15 offences related to a effluent discharged from its pulp mill in Saint John, New Brunswick. Twelve of those charges have been dropped.
The CBC is reporting that a statement of facts and joint recommendation were presented in court last week, with a condition of the agreement being that Irving will build an effluent treatment facility in order to continue its operations.
Early last year, Irving Pulp and Paper pleaded not guilty to all charges that its mill at Reversing Falls had dumped a “deleterious” substance into the St. John River for two years starting in June 2014. The Fisheries Act defines “deleterious” as something, like altered water, that could be toxic to fish, their habitats or the humans that may eat the fish.
The court documents say those substances included green, white and black liquor, as well as sodium hydroxide.
Irving Pulp and Paper self-reported the incidents. While investigators did not detect “actual harm” to the fish or their habitat, the effluent failed acute lethality tests in a lab that revealed four times out of 10, 100 per cent of fish were killed when exposed to the substance.
Sentencing will take place on Nov. 5, at which time the full extent of the penalties will be adjudicated. The proposed breakdown includes $2.34 million in fines paid to the federal environmental damages fund, with another $1.6 million going toward the Collaboration for Atlantic Salmon Tomorrow organization, a non-profit for wild Atlantic salmon research and conservation.
(Pulp & Paper Canada)