News release

Boat Harbour Cleanup Project to Undergo Class II Environmental Assessment

Cleaning up Boat Harbour in Pictou County will undergo a detailed Class II environmental assessment process under the province’s Environment Act.

Environment Minister Iain Rankin concluded that the Class II process is necessary for the cleanup project because of its size and multiple contaminants in the soil and water. The harbour has been used as the disposal site for industrial effluent contamination for 50 years.

Nova Scotia Lands will manage the project.

“This is the biggest cleanup project since the Sydney Tar Ponds and the cleanup itself could have serious environmental impacts,” said Mr. Rankin. “Our process is designed to avoid those impacts.”

The environmental assessment process will consider how ground and surface water could be impacted and how to dispose of contaminants. The process begins when the proponent registers the project, which has not yet happened.

A Class II assessment typically takes 275 calendar days to complete, not including the time it takes the proponent to prepare an environmental assessment report.

The department will appoint an environmental assessment panel through the agencies, boards and commissions process. The panel may hold public hearings or a public review of the project.

Under the Boat Harbour Act, Northern Pulp’s existing effluent treatment facility at Boat Harbour must close by Jan. 31, 2020.

Northern Pulp is currently working to design a new effluent treatment plant to replace it. The project requires a Class I environmental assessment. Unlike the current Boat Harbour facility, the new plant must be designed and built to meet today’s effluent treatment standards.


The Boat Harbour cleanup project in Pictou County will undergo a Class Two environmental assessment.

This is the biggest cleanup project in Nova Scotia since the Sydney Tar Ponds. Environment Minister Iain Rankin said it’s important to make sure the cleanup itself doesn’t have any unintended impacts on the environment.

The environmental assessment must consider how ground and surface water could be impacted and how to deal with the contaminants.

A Class Two environmental assessment typically takes two- hundred-and-seventy-five calendar days, plus time for the proponent to prepare an environmental assessment report.

Mr. Rankin will appoint a panel to review the project. The panel can choose whether to hold public hearings and will review the evidence and make a recommendation to the minister.


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