Brayton Point Station Fact Sheet by EPADocs


									                 Public Involvement
On July 22, 2002, EPA and the Massachusetts DEP jointly
issued a new proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimi-
                                                               What Impact will this Permit have on
                                                                Electricity Rates for New England
                                                                                                                                                     Brayton Point
nation System (NPDES) Permit to Brayton Point Station
and opened a public comment period on the permit. The         Even after its upgrades, Brayton Point Station’s three
agencies held information meetings on August 5 and 6, 2002,
in Somerset, Massachusetts and Bristol, Rhode Island, re-
                                                              coal and one oil / gas units will continue to be capable
                                                              of producing more than 1500 megawatts of electricity                                                                                  Somerset, MA
spectively, to explain the draft permit and answer ques-      at full capacity, while remaining a low cost producer of                               Final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit                                   October 2003
tions. The agencies held public hearings in Somerset and      electricity for New England’s energy market.
                                                                                                                         EPA has developed a final permit for the Brayton                  Brayton Point Station is the largest industrial source
Bristol on August 26 and 27, 2002, respectively, to accept
                                                              Using conservative (i.e., worst case) assumptions, the     Point Station power plant together with the MA                    affecting Mount Hope Bay. Based on the scientific analy-
comments on the draft permit. The comment period, origi-
                                                              average household, using 500 KWh per month, would          Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and                  ses to date, EPA, MA DEP and others have concluded
nally scheduled to close on September 4, 2002, was ex-        see long-term monthly increases of $0.06 to $0.18 in
tended to October 4, 2002.                                                                                               in close coordination with the RI Department of                   that stronger controls are needed on the power plant’s
                                                              electricity rates as a result of
                                                              the construction of a closed-                              Environmental Management (DEM) to meet require-                   withdrawal of water from the bay and discharge of
During this 2 1/2 month comment period, EPA received          cycle cooling system. The                                  ments of the Clean Water Act. This permit seeks to                heated water back to the bay in order to satisfy Clean
more than 150 comments from elected officials, federal,       short-term impacts of unit                                 substantially reduce the facility’s impact on Mount               Water Act standards. These limits will help to protect
state and local government agencies, private organizations,   outages during the construc-                               Hope Bay. Compliance with this permit will be an                  the bay and give the fishery a chance to recover. The
individual citizens and the permittee. Careful consider-      tion period could result in a                              essential complement to broader public and pri-                   technology exists for Brayton Point Station to both meet
ation was given to these comments in development of the       short-term rate effect of ap-
                                                              proximately $0.70 per                                      vate efforts to restore and maintain the health of                the performance standards required by this permit and
final permit.                                                                                                            Mount Hope Bay and the greater Narragansett Bay                   continue to produce reliable, inexpensive electricity
                                                              month, but only for nine
                                                              months.                                                    ecosystem. These other efforts include fishing man-               for New England.
EPA’s response to these comments, published in a docu-
                                                                                                                         agement, projects to improve sewage treatment,
ment of the same name, specifies which provisions of the
draft permit have been changed in the final permit and the                                                               abatement of pollution from combined sewer over-
reasons for the change, and summarizes and responds to                                                                   flows, and scientific research.
all significant comments on the draft permit submitted dur-
ing the public comment period. This document can be                                                                                                            Mount Hope Bay
reviewed at:
                                                                   For More Detailed Information                                                  Mount Hope Bay Winter Flounder Abundance
                                                                                                                                                    Winter Flounder Abundance and Flow
                                                                                                                                                            versus BPS Station Flow
                                                                                                                             versus Year
                                                              The final requirements for Brayton Point Station’s ther-                      600                                                                1200
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Average annual losses of
                 For More Information                         mal discharges and cooling water withdrawal are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  fish eggs and larvae due
                                                              stated in the Final NPDES permit issued to the plant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Million Gallons per Day)
                                                                                                                                            500                                                                1000
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  to existing cooling water
     Call EPA toll free at 888-372-7341 and ask for           The permit, along with EPA’s response to comments,                                                                                                                                  withdrawals at Brayton

                                                                                                                           Number of Fish
               the following extensions:                      is available for review at the following locations:

                                                                                                                                            400                                                                800

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Station Flow
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Point Station include:

    Damien Houlihan                            81586                                                                                        300                                                                600
                                                                  Somerset             Rogers           U.S. EPA                                                                                                                                  n       251 million
    Engineering Project Manager                                Public Library       Free Library     Records Center
                                                                                                                                            200                                                                400                                        winter flounder
                                                              1464 County Street   525 Hope Street   1 Congress Street
    Phil Colarusso                             81506            Somerset, MA          Bristol, RI       Boston, MA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  n       11.8 billion bay
    Biology                                                                                                                                 100                                                                200
    Mark Stein                                 81077             information is also available for review on the                             0                                                                 0
                                                                              world wide web at:                                                                                                                                                  n       375 million

    Angela Bonarrigo                           81034                                                                              Year                 Fish        Flow                                              flounder
    Community Relations                                                                                                   Fish populations declined by more than 87% after 1984 when Brayton Point Station began a
                      or call                                   All documents may be downloaded and printed.                                                                                                                                      n       3.5 billion
                                                                                                                          45% increase in cooling water withdrawal from the bay. (It should also be noted that the
                                                                      (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required)                  facility’s thermal discharge increased by a similar percentage at that time). Despite decreased                                 tautog
     MA Department of Environmental Protection                                                                            fishing, many species have shown no signs of recovery. The above graph shows the decline of
      David Johnston, Deputy Regional Director                                                                            winter flounder relative to the increase in cooling water use. Similarly dramatic declines can be
                  (508) 946-2708                                                                                          demonstrated for other fish species as well.
        Brayton Point Station’s                                                                                               What Does EPA’s Permit Require?                                                                                       Protecting Mount Hope Bay
      Impact on Mount Hope Bay
Located in Mount Hope Bay at the confluence of the                                      Consistent with the Clean Water Act, EPA is requiring thermal             •        Reduce water withdrawal from the bay by approxi-              While many federal, state and local efforts have been under-
Taunton and Lee Rivers, the Brayton Point Station power                                 discharge limits that protect the marine life that should thrive          mately 94%, from nearly 1 billion gallons a day to 56 million          way to protect Mount Hope Bay and the larger Narragansett
plant produces about 6% of the electricity consumed in                                  in Mount Hope Bay. In addition, EPA is setting cooling water              gallons a day. This flow requirement is consistent with well-          Bay estuary, Brayton Point Station has continued to operate
New England. In producing this electricity, however,                                    intake flow limits so that Brayton Point Station’s cooling sys-           established closed-cycle cooling technology using wet,                 with nearly the same “once-through” cooling technology that
Brayton Point Station destroys trillions of marine organ-                               tem reflects the best technology available to minimize the                mechanical draft cooling towers for generating units 1                 was installed almost 40 years ago. Requiring the power plant
isms each year and significantly alters the temperature                                 facility’s adverse environmental impacts. The permit specifi-             through 4.                                                             to meet limits consistent with modern cooling system equip-
of the bay.                                                                             cally requires Brayton Point Station to:                                                                                                         ment complements these other efforts, which include:
                                                                                                                                                                  Compliance with these permit limits will eliminate annual
Each day, the station withdraws nearly one billion gallons                              •         Reduce total annual heat discharge to the bay by 96%,           fishery losses by an estimated 94% and improve habitat                 •       Sewage treatment improvements in Fall River, includ-
of water from the bay and circulates it through the facil-                              from 42 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) a year to 1.7               quality, thereby helping to give the bay an opportunity to             ing a $115 million combined sewer overflow abatement pro-
ity to condense the steam used to produce electricity.                                  trillion BTUs a year, and                                                 recover.                                                               gram, being implemented to meet state and federal water qual-
The water is then discharged back to the bay at elevated                                                                                                                                                                                 ity requirements.
temperatures of up to 95o Fahrenheit. This “once

                                                               pre-1984 aerial photo.
through” cooling system has contributed to the col-                                                                                                                                                                                          •
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Strict commercial and recreational fishing limits have
lapse of the Mount Hope Bay fishery in the following                                                                                                                                                                             been imposed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for Mount
                                                                                                                  coal pile                                                                                             to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mount Hope Hope Bay in an effort to help restore fish stocks. Mount
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Bay       Hope Bay, and most areas of upper Narragansett Bay, is closed
•        Destroying trillions of organisms. Water                                                                                                                                                                                to commercial trawlers. In addition, recreational fishing for
taken from the bay by the facility contains trillions of                                                                                                                                                                         winter flounder is closed for 10 months of the year. A small
organisms, including billions of fish eggs and larvae.                                                                                                                                                                           recreational fishing effort is allowed for two months of the
These organisms are pulled through (or “entrained”)                                                                                               oil storage tanks

                                                                             water intake
in the facility and killed by severe physical and chemi-                                                                                                                                                                                         •         At the regional level, the National Ma-
                                                                             for units 1, 2
cal impacts and extreme water temperatures. For ex-                          &3                                                                                                                                                                  rine Fisheries Service has spent $160 million
ample, 251 million winter flounder larvae, 3.5 billion                                                                                                                                                                                           in the last 10 years buying back fishing ves-
tautog eggs and 375 million windowpane flounder eggs                                                                                                                                                                                             sels and licenses from fishermen in the north-
are harmed in an average year.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   east to reduce fishing pressure on ground-
                                                                                                                generating units                                                                                                                 fish, including winter flounder. Moreover, ad-
Cooling water withdrawals also create a water velocity                                                                                                                                                               Mount Hope Bay              ditional stringent federal fishing restrictions
at the intake pipes which traps (or “impinges”) many                                                                                                                                                                                             are expected to be put in place next year.
juvenile and mature fish against the intake screens. For                                                                                                                                                                                         79 oF
example, in 1999, more than 75,000 Atlantic Menha-                                                                                                                                                                                               75 oF       •        Enhancing knowledge about the
den were killed during a month long impingement event.                                                                                                                                                                                           72 oF       Narragansett Bay estuary and implementing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 discharge   activities to protect and restore the estuary
Altogether, trillions of organisms are lost to entrain-                                                                                                                                                                                          point       and its resources through the Narragansett
ment and impingement each year, including species of                                                                                                                                                                                                         Bay Estuary Program, which has spent ap-
commercial and recreational importance, and forage fish                                                                                                                                                                                                      proximately $15 million in federal and state

and other organisms integral to the food web.                                                                                                                                                                                                                matching funds on this effort since 1984.
                                                                                                                                                                                               A volume of water equivalent to the
•         Dramatically altering the water tem-                                                                                                                                                 entire 53 billion gallons of Mount Hope       Brayton Point Station’s cooling water system has contributed
                                                                                                                                                                                               Bay is circulated through the facility        to the collapse of the fishery and inhibited its recovery, even
perature in the bay. As a result of Brayton Point                                                                                                                        ge
                                                                                                                                                                      har                      seven times a year. By discharging this
Station discharges of heated water, the temperature in                                                                                                            disc                                                                       as steps to reduce fishing pressure and improve pollution
                                                                                                                                                              ted                              large volume of water back to the bay
the bay is about 1.5 o Fahrenheit greater than other simi-                                                                                                 hea                                 at increased temperatures of up to 30o
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             controls are being taken to facilitate the bay’s recovery. Up-
lar water bodies locally. This is a significant tempera-                                                                                                                                       Fahrenheit warmer, Brayton Point Sta-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             grading the facility’s cooling system with modern technolo-
ture difference in a fragile ecosystem. Altering the natural                                                                                                                                   tion dramatically alters the thermal          gies that cut water withdrawals and thermal discharges will
temperature of the bay has degraded the habitat, mak-                                   water to unit                                                                                          regime of the entire water body. As           enable Brayton Point Station to reduce its harmful effects on
ing areas inhospitable to native fish species, disrupting                               4 intake                                                                                               shown in the satellite photo above, all       Mount Hope Bay while continuing to generate electricity for
normal fish migration, and undermining the balanced,                                                                                                                                           14 square miles of Mount Hope Bay             New England. These improvements are expected to allow
indigenous community of fish that should exist in Mount                                                                                                                                        are impacted by this thermal discharge.       the fishery to recover and restrictions on fishing to be eased.
Hope Bay.

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