Twin Rivers Paper Company Inc. was recently fined $250,000 in New Brunswick Provincial Court after pleading guilty to one charge of contravening subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act by permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance, namely pulp and paper process water called groundwood white water, into the Madawaska River. The fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

On March 10, 2021, during a routine inspection at Twin Rivers Paper Company Inc. in Edmundston, Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers noted that a pipeline owned and operated by the company had failed, resulting in the deposit of groundwood white water into the fish-bearing Madawaska River.

Twin Rivers Paper Company is a specialty paper company manufacturing high-quality paper, pulp and lumber. The company has three mills and is one of the largest employers in Northern New Brunswick and Maine with over 1,100 full-time equivalent jobs.

The groundwood white water deposited into the Madawaska River is the liquid in the pulp slurry that is left over after filtration at the paper mill. It is normally returned to the pulp mill to be reused or recycled.

The Madawaska River is home to several species of fish including Brook Trout, Yellow Perch and Atlantic Salmon.

An investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada into the cause of the pipeline failure later determined that it was due to extensive external corrosion, resulting in the release of an estimated 102,000 litres of groundwood white water into the Madawaska River for a period of approximately 24 hours. Testing of the groundwood white water samples determined the substance to be deleterious or harmful to fish.

As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Registry contains information on convictions of corporations for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.

Source: Environment Canada and Climate Change