Banner Photo: Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Mill. (Credit: Bob Turner)

2020 Rating

2020 Rationale

Dioxin and furan contamination in sediment and benthic life is decreasing following regulations but is still detected.

2017 Rating

2017 Rationale

Regulations introduced to pulp mills along Howe Sound have eliminated new input of marine pollutants associated with the industry. Yet lingering concentrations in marine sediment and Dungeness crab underscore the persistent impact of these toxins, so concerns remain.

The following is an excerpt from the full updated article. Download the full 2020 article for all content and references.

Pulp Mill: marine effluent

Author: Jennifer Chapman, Research Assistant, Ocean Watch, Ocean Wise Research Institute 
Reviewer: Siew Sim, Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Ltd.

Excerpt from 2020 article

The Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Corporation (HSPP) was established in 1908. Located near Port Mellon, directly opposite the Woolridge Island Rockfish Conservation Area, today it is the only operational pulp mill in the Sound.

Read the full article to see what else is happening.

Background: Dungeness crab. (Credit: Bob Turner)

What’s been done since 2017?

The table below reports on progress made on recommended actions from the previous 2017 article, where identified. Many of these require ongoing action.

2017 Action Action Taken
Government Action and Policy
Continue with the implementation of source controls and regulations to hamper dioxin and furan pollution from pulp mills in the coastal marine environment of Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound. Environmental Effects Monitoring program is currently running Cycle 9.

What can you do?

A detailed overview of recommended actions relating to climate change is included in The path to zero carbon municipalities. In some cases, no progress was identified on previous recommended actions; these remain listed below. Additional actions marked as NEW also follow.

action-individual Individual and Organization Actions:

    • Avoid the incineration of organic matter and plastics to prevent the release of dioxins into the air and coastal environment.
    • Use and apply “green” or homemade pesticides and organic fertilizers in gardens and agricultural fields to avoid toxic run off (e.g., salmon friendly lawn and/or orca friendly lawn: non-toxic pesticides, non-toxic herbicides, non-toxic fertilizers).

action-governmentGovernment Action and Policy:

    • Help to guide and design creative solution-oriented practices to reduce the levels of dioxins and furans in Dungeness crabs which still exhibit concentrations of dioxin/furans of concern for public health.
    • Promote and sponsor national programs and solutions for marine pollution to protect ocean life from human made chemicals with research, continued education and engagement, and advocacy to succeed with actions.
    • made chemicals with research, continued education and engagement, and advocacy to succeed with actions. • Regulate and control the usage of pesticides containing potential traces of dioxins and furans as impurities to avoid the accidental release of these by-products into the coastal marine environment.
    • Address the appropriate disposal of old tanks and bins and any material containing dioxin-contaminated fluids and/or oil from former military facilities, old refineries, junk yards and harbours.
    • NEW Educate fishers and/or fish consumers about the potential health implications of consuming crab or other foods contaminated with PCDD/Fs so they can make informed choices.
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