Dealing with FGD wastewater in Indiana

11 July 2016

GE is to supply its advanced wastewater treatment equipment for an upgrade of Indianapolis Power & Light Company’s 1760 MW Petersburg coal fired power plant. GE will provide its brine concentration (evaporation) technology to treat flue gas desulfurisation (FGD) wastewater discharge. Additionally, the power plant’s wastewater will be recycled into clean water for reuse in the facility.

“IPL is taking steps to meet current Indiana water quality standards, as included in the facility’s NPDES [EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System] permits by incorporating brine our Petersburg generating station. This technology will also ensure compliance with the US EPA’s final Effluent Limitation Guideline, or ELG, regulation,” said Shams Chishti, director of environmental construction, IPL. “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.”

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.

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,” said Kevin Cassidy, global leader, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power.

Other US electric power plants will face similar requirements to those being addressed by 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. 

Power and Water GE brine concentrators at a US power plant

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