CANADA (From news reports) -- The owners of a pulp and paper mill in Pictou County, N.S., say it's unlikely a new effluent treatment pipeline will be ready in time for the government-imposed deadline of January 2020.
"We are at risk of missing the timelines by a few months," said Jean-Francois Guillot, vice-president of operations at Paper Excellence, which owns Northern Pulp.
"At this point, it's risky," he said. "I don't think so. We can have effluent treatment working by January 2020, it's just the discharge point, we kind of have to do backflips to make that happen."
The deadline matters because the mill's provincial industrial approval expires Jan. 30, 2020, and a functioning effluent treatment system is required.
"If we don't have an industrial permit, we have to stop the mill," Guillot said. "What do we do at that time? What do we do with the employees? What do we do with the asset itself?
"So, yes, we are asking ourselves those questions. For us, it's not how we walk away -- it's how we can make it work."
Guillot said the company intends to submit an environmental assessment at the end of January 2019 for a new pipeline outfall in the Northumberland Strait four kilometres outside Caribou.
That document will provide more detail on when the company believes a new system will be operational.
"We want to stay in Nova Scotia," Guillot said. "We are convinced it can be workable."