As demand for water increases nationwide and around the globe, tougher restrictions have been placed on several industries to incentivize reuse and repurposing and discourage contaminant discharge. Across the country, regional power companies are turning to outside experts for solutions that meet their competing needs of being environmentally friendly and economically feasible.
For example, GE will supply its advanced wastewater treatment equipment for an upgrade of Indianapolis Power & Light Company’s (IPL) Petersburg Generating Station. GE will provide its brine concentration (evaporation) technology to treat flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater discharge, enabling IPL to meet its U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements. Additionally, the power plant’s wastewater will be recycled into clean water for reuse in the facility.
GENERATING STATION TO RECYCLE WASTEWATER FOR REUSE
“IPL is taking steps to meet current Indiana water quality standards, as included in the facility’s NPDES permit, by incorporating brine concentration (evaporation) technology at our Petersburg Generating Station. This technology will also ensure compliance with the U.S. EPA’s final Effluent Limitation Guideline, or ELG, regulation,” says Shams Chishti, director of environmental construction, Indianapolis Power & Light Company. “Our company remains focused on cleaner, affordable, and more efficient generation options, and this project will help eliminate the FGD wastewater discharged into the environment and recycle water for reuse in a manner compliant with the final ELG regulation.”
Located in Pike County, Indiana, the Petersburg Generating Station is a 1,760-megawatt coal-fired power plant. GE will provide the equipment to Indiana Water Partners (IWP), the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the project. IWP is a joint venture between Bowen Engineering and Burns & McDonnell.
BRINE CONCENTRATION (EVAPORATION) TECHNOLOGY
Specifically, the Petersburg Generating Station will be enhanced with GE’s technology solution for FGD wastewater, scrubber blowdown equipment, softening clarifiers, thermal brine concentrators, and associated auxiliary equipment. The new treatment system is expected to begin commercial operation in 2017.
Indianapolis Power & Light Company will eliminate FGD liquid discharge to waterways to meet current state water quality standards, which will ensure compliance with the final ELG regulation. The FGD wastewater treatment solution offers power plants maximum flexibility to treat FGD wastewater generated from any type of coal.
ZERO DISCHARGE TECHNOLOGY MEETS NEW EPA GUIDELINES
Other electric power plants will face similar requirements as IPL. Compliance with the new EPA effluent limitation guidelines will reduce or eliminate metals and other pollutants from entering surface waters from steam electric power plants. The new rules specifically address FGD wastewater from coal-fired power plants and identify chemical precipitation followed by biological treatment as the best available technology for treating and discharging the waste from existing plants and evaporation for new facilities.
In addition, the guidelines identify the evaporation approach as a best available technology for eliminating FGD waste streams from existing power plants under a voluntary incentive program if such technology is not already being implemented due to other requirements. Soon, standards such as these will become the “new normal” for water reuse and repurposing.