UPDATED: Leak shuts down Pictou County pulp plant, protesters from Pictou Landing First Nations at the scene

Staff ~ The News
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

'History has it that it’s an ancient burial site, so they are not supposed to be digging unless we’re consulted first through the proper channels.'


For the first time in a long time, there was no plume coming out of Northern Pulp at Abercrombie, Pictou County June 10, but for those who have longed to see the pollution from the pulp mill stopped, it was only the sign of something worse.

The cause of the closure was a leak: effluent was running from a broken pipe and flowing into the water that feeds into Pictou Harbour.

The leak was detected near the pipe’s landfall on the Pictou Landing side of the East River around 7 a.m., sparking a shut down of the mill and a protest by the Pictou Landing First Nation.

"Our primary concern is the safety of the public, mill employees and protection of the environment," read a media release from the company. "At this time, all resources are focused on ensuring that the shutdown of the mill and containment of any effluent is carried out in a safe and timely manner."

Northern Pulp said there is no danger posed to the public and that the mill has protocols in place and trained staff in the event of these situations. Nova Scotia Department of the Environment was contacted and the mill said they are working with them and others to assess the situation.

Lori Errington, spokeswoman for the department, said an inspector was in the field. She said staff were notified within an hour of the discovery of the leak, which Errington said was running through a wetland, an estuary and onto the river. 

Click here for a video clip.

“Our inspection is ongoing looking for what lead to the leak what steps taken to address and how can this be prevented from happening again,” she said.

Stantec, a monitoring company, is looking at the impact on ground water and surface water.

Protest held

Members of Pictou Landing First Nation, angry that they weren’t notified of the leak sooner, protested in front of a blocked entrance to the site Tuesday afternoon and stopped  any machinery from accessing the site because they say it is on an aboriginal burial site.

Chief Andrea Paul said she found out through social media about the leak.

“I was quite concerned that we were not notified this morning of the leak,” she said.

Paul personally inspected the leak.

“We have some historical claim to this piece of property,” she said. “History has it that it’s an ancient burial site, so they are not supposed to be digging unless we’re consulted first through the proper channels. They need to consult with us.”

Sue Fraser, a resident of Pictou Landing, was also out at the protest. She said it’s troubling to hear of the effluent pouring into the water that her father once fished and her son now does.

“What kind of stuff is going into the water that will affect the fisheries,” she asked.

She has long been bothered by the mill and the pollution coming from it.

“That thing going every day is concerning,” she said.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Department of

Geographic location: Northern Pulp, Pictou County

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • clayton thomas-muller
    June 16, 2014 - 10:53

    Mi'kma'Ki Territory - Pictou Landing First Nations Members Concerned Over Ancestral Burial Ground, Oppose Referendum ‪#‎PoisonNoMore‬ ‪#‎NSpoli‬ ‪#‎CleanUpBoatHarbour‬ link: https://www.facebook.com/notes/clayton-thomas-muller/pictou-landing-first-nations-members-concerned-over-ancestral-burial-ground-oppo/10152560991618573