Skookumchuck Pulp Mill. Courtesy Paper Excellence

Skookumchuck Pulp Mill. Courtesy Paper Excellence

Kootenay pulp mill receives more than $100,000 in fines

Skookumchuck Pulp Mill is located just north of Kimberley/Cranbrook

The Skookumchuck Pulp Mill, located just north of Kimberley and Cranbrook, has received a series of fines from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy Environmental Protection Division for exceeding permitted discharge limits of treated wastewater ($52,000); non compliance with air emissions ($18,800); and landfill non-compliance ($40,000).

The first fine was levied in January 2021, and the second and third in April 2021.

The fines reflect various incidents of non-compliance between 2017 and 2020.

Margie Jamieson is a Wildsight board member, who lives in the Skookumchuck area. She says it concerns here that it took three years after the first incident to levy a fine.

”Lab tests on trout showed that 70-100 per cent died when exposed to pulp mill effluent for four days. This happened four times in 2018 and 2019,” she said.

The pulp mill was provided an opportunity to respond to the penalty in September 2020, and did not dispute the contraventions, but did provide additional evidence regarding efforts taken to prevent the contraventions and re-occurrence of the contraventions.

A statement from Paper Excellence Canada, which operates the pulp mill said that for each incident the mill has undertaken changes so the exceedences won’t happen again.

In the case of exceeding waste water discharge Paper Excellence says that the problems occurred during a time when the mill was experiencing “upset conditions”, which forced shutdown several times during cold winter months. It was during start-up that cold air temperatures impacted the removal of contaminant from the effluent.

Changes made include:

▪ reducing mill liquid discharges during upset mill conditions,

▪ installing additional aerators in the plant’s aeration basins, and

▪ installing equipment that allows additional bacteria to be added to the treatment system to enhance its performance.

There have been no further issues since these actions were taken, Paper Excellence says.

For the air emissions non-compliance, the $18,800 fine was issued for events between November 2017 and January 2020. The Paper Excellence statement says the mill is in compliance 99.99 per cent of the time.

Changes undertaken include:

▪ Maintenance work was immediately performed on the power boiler along with operating adjustments which resulted in a significant improvement in discharge opacity.

▪ The mill has instituted a yearly preventative maintenance program for the bleach plant scrubber whereby regular inspections and cleaning is performed.

The mill continues to monitor its performance in these matters closely, the statement said.

The third fine was for landfill non-compliance in the amount of $40,000. The mill’s permit requires maintaining a leak detection system, and although Paper Excellence intended to pursue a permit amendment that would eliminate the need for the system, it didn’t do so immediately and the requirement for the leak detection system remained in the permit.

The mill will now seek the permit amendment to reflect that its current landfill operations meet industry standards.

Graham Kissack, VP, EHS and Communications for Paper Excellence, says that the company is disclosing all fines in an effort to be entirely transparent with the community. He also said, all together they add up to 45 minutes of non-compliance over a number of years.

He said there are three separate fines and he doesn’t believe the Ministry has released details on the second two yet.

“This is the entirety of the fines,” he said. “At the end of the day, we are interested in being as honest and transparent as possible. It’s an opportunity for us to improve.”

He said all the changes to prevent these incidents from happening again have occurred, although amending the landfill permit with the Ministry will take some time.

Just Posted

1914
It happened this week in 1914

May 9 - 15: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

The Salmon Arm RCMP seize hundreds of grams of drugs in a raid in Sorrento on March 20, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
RCMP have suspect identified in rash of local thefts

Police have a suspect in a rash of recent thefts from local… Continue reading

Rotary Way is being repaved from 4th Street South to the second bridge, just past St. Mary’s School. (Barry Coulter photo)
Rotary Way being repaved along Joseph Creek

The Rotary Club is having a portion of its namesake trail repaved.… Continue reading

The Libby Dam on the Kootenai River in Montana. The dam created the Koocanusa Reservoir, which straddles the B.C./Montana border. (photo courtesy Wikipedia)
Outflow at Libby Dam to be increased

Volume increase to aid migration and spawning conditions for endangered white sturgeon in the Kootenai River

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read