Sludgy cloud in Thompson River is normal effluent discharge: Domtar

By James Peters
February 2, 2018 - 3:17pm Updated: February 2, 2018 - 5:31pm

KAMLOOPS — A spokesperson for Domtar says a sludgy brown cloud in the Thompson River does originate from its Mission Flats pulp mill - but it's nothing out of the ordinary.

Local fishing enthusiast Derek Molter posted photos and video of the effluent in the "BC Fishing Addicts" Facebook group Thursday.

Molter called the sight "horrifying."

Domtar spokesperson Bonny Skene says that's the exact same effluent its mill pipes into the river every day.

"We've verified that the mill's effluent treatment system is operating normally. That means that the effluent that comes out of the mill process is fully treated before it's released into the river. We're operating in accordance with all of our environmental requirements."

But Skene says what's different now is that the liquid waste is typically not visible on the surface.

"What is unique is that the water level in the river is very low. That means it may be visible from shore that you can see the tops of the diffusers. This is what reintroduces the effluent into the river after it's been treated and cleaned. That's typically not visible."

Skene couldn't say if the presence of the effluent near the surface and shoreline would have any environmental impact.

She adds the river is normally low this time of year, but Domtar's measurements show it is even lower than usual right now.

UPDATE: The BC Ministry of Environment confirms the effluent noticed by Kamloops residents is treated and meets environmental standards.

According to the ministry, "the authorized outfall is near the surface and due to low water levels is resulting in a visible discharge."

RIH opens new clinic for quick access to specialists