After three years of coming in well below limits for environmental testing, OPPD will be reaping the rewards in cost-savings and some labor costs.
Bryan Lorence, OPPD’s lead environmental specialist, took some time out of a busy day of emission testing, something that has taken up a lot of Lorence and his colleague’s time this year, to answer some questions. He and Kerri Teter, senior environmental specialist, were at Cass County Station, OPPD’s 324-megawatt (MW) peaking station for several days of testing during a stretch of blistering hot days.
OPPD recently attained what’s known as “low-emitter status” at Nebraska City Station Unit 2, what does that entail?
This testing is related to the MATS regulation (Mercury and Air Toxics Standards) which required OPPD to either install real-time monitors, or conduct quarterly testing. We opted for quarterly testing because we thought it gave us more flexibility and was more cost-effective for the long term. To get “low-emitter status,” you have to be less than 50 percent of the MATS limit for 12 consecutive quarters.
With this status we are only required to test once every three years. Of course, there are other regulations we must comply with so there will still be different kinds of testing required each year on the unit.
Are any other OPPD units close to earning this status?
Yes, both North Omaha Station’s coal units and Nebraska City Station Unit 1 are on track to do the same. There only a few quarters left for each to reach the 12-quarter mark. All of our units at OPPD have comparatively low levels of emissions.
How is this testing done?
We contract with a company called TRC Environmental out of Illinois to conduct testing. They go up on the stack and place a probe in the stack, which collects a representative sample. They then analyze it in their mobile laboratory. Other testing can involve real-time sampling and comparing data to our own to ensure the accuracy of OPPD’s monitors.
What has OPPD done to be compliant with the MATS ruling?
Emissions controls are in place in all the coal units. Those controls vary from scrubbers and a baghouse on Nebraska City’s Unit 2 to activated carbon injection systems installed at North Omaha Station and Nebraska City Unit 1.