The pulp and paper industry in British Columbia discharges significant quantities of chemicals and organic matter into rivers, lakes and oceans. In this province, fish, other aquatic biota, and sediments have been impacted by these mill effluents. For example, commercial fishery closures have been announced by the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and fish consumption advisories have been issued by the provincial Ministry of Health due to dioxin contamination. Serious concerns have therefore been raised about the discharge of effluents from kraft pulp mills in British Columbia. The overall vision of BC Environment is to ensure that its goal of zero pollution is achieved, for all kinds of discharges, including those from pulp mills. This is accomplished through the application of pollution prevention techniques and the precautionary principle. The latter holds that it is better to prevent contamination before there is conclusive proof of harm. The tools the Ministry uses to achieve its goal of zero pollution include up-to-date regulations, pollution control criteria and objectives, and other controls such as market-based incentives. The main objectives of the plan are to: (1) describe research which will enable discharge and environmental quality criteria to be developed or amended to control effluents, elements or compounds in pulp mill discharges; (2) check the adequacy of the current and target control levels of chlorinated organic compounds as measured by AOX; (3) propose changes to controls for effluent discharges, if appropriate; and (4) base these efforts on scientific methods by considering the impacts of effluents on human health and the environment.
Industrial Waste and Hazardous Contaminants Branch. 1994. Conceptual Plan: Research for the Regulation of Effluents from Pulp Mills in British Columbia. BC Ministry of Environment
Topic: Solid or Liquid Waste
Keywords: pulp mill, paper industry, human health, environmental health, contaminants, pollutants, water quality, toxicity, indicator compounds,
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