Northern Pulp will shut down to install air pollution equipment

Northern Pulp in Abercrombie Point, N.S., will begin a 15-day maintenance shutdown on May 30 to install a new electrostatic precipitator. But the mill’s general manager has said it will not restart until the precipitator is operational, which could be in late June or early July. The new equipment is necessary to meet the air pollution reductions required by the mill’s new operating permits.

“It’s a big job. There’s a lot to do,” Bruce Chapman, general manager of the mill, told CBC News. “We will go down on May 30 and we are committed not to restart, we will finish the work. We will restart when the precipitator is ready. That is our commitment to the people of Pictou County.”

Chapman is quoted in the Chronicle Herald newspaper saying: “While we are behind schedule on the final stage of construction, we expect to have the precipitator available for startup late June or early July.”

“Right now, final completion of the precipitator is a work in progress and we’re confident we can pick up most of the lost time, but it’s a wait-and-see,” says Chapman in the Chronicle Herald. “This new unit will meet present, as well as future, Canada-wide environmental standards.”

According to the CBC report, the $22 million precipitator project has faced some challenges. Winter storms caused delays, and the U.S. supplier for the project, Clyde Bergmann Group, backed out of its contract to install the precipitator, causing the mill to take over installation.

The Herald reports that the maintenance shutdown will also include several other projects. Boiler inspections and repairs are expected to cost $1.5 million, and $500,000 each has been budgeted for digester repairs, pulp machine roll changes and pump replacements. Another $400,000 will be spent on steel repairs and inspections of critical equipment, valves, tanks and pipes.

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