Dominion Virginia Power dedicated a new pollution control system last week at its Dutch Gap power station that will further reduce toxic emissions at the plant.
According to Dominion, the flue gas desulfurization system, or scrubber, removes more than 95 percent of sulfur dioxide and provides an 80 percent reduction in hydrochloric and sulfuric acids. With the scrubber in operation, the unit obtains an 80 percent reduction in mercury.
“Environmental stewardship and responsibility are part of our corporate culture,” said Pamela Faggert, vice president and chief environmental officer. “From our day-to-day operations of all of our power stations and facilities to our community involvement, protecting the environment is one of our top priorities. This new scrubber is testimony to that commitment.”
In 2008, Dominion built a scrubber on its Unit 6 generator which produces 693-megawatts of power. Area residents can see the byproduct of that scrubber, the tallest of the stacks, when it emits a steam plum into the air. Dominion says that it’s clean steam and proof that the scrubber is working.
The new scrubber that was started last week is connected to the 344-megawatt Unit 5. The remaining two coal-fired units at the station, a 110-megawatt Unit 3 and a 181-megawatt Unit 4, are scheduled to be tied into the new scrubber by the end of the year. The station also has two other natural gas-fired units.
“Emissions reductions of the magnitude achieved at Chesterfield Power Station through the additions of new controls make a difference in the quality of the air we breathe and in our environment,” said Maureen Matsen, deputy secretary for Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia. “This is good news for the citizens of Virginia.”
Through its most recent year of reporting, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed the Dutch Gap plant as the number-two polluter in the state. Dominion committed to the scrubbers in 2003 when it signed a voluntary pollution settlement agreement with the EPA. The new scrubber represents the final capital component of that commitment.
Another byproduct of the scrubber is gypsum, which is used to make drywall. Dominion says that in addition to the scrubbers, the company has installed controls to reduce nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog, by 90 percent and a bag house to capture particulate emissions.
By 2015, Dominion will have spent $3.1 billion on environmental projects at its electricity-generating power stations. The result will be an 86 percent reduction in mercury, an 80 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide and a 74 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide from 1998 levels.
Dominion also uses recycled waste water in the scrubber, from the Chesterfield County Procters Creek wastewater treatment plant, which is adjacent to the Dutch Gap plant.