CHESTER, Va., June 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE: D), dedicated a new pollution control system Thursday at its Chesterfield Power Station south of Richmond that will further clean Virginia's air.
The system – formally known as "flue gas desulfurization," but informally as a "scrubber" –removes more than 95 percent of sulfur dioxide and 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."
The new scrubber has been commissioned for the 344-megawatt Unit 5 and joins the scrubber on the 693-megawatt Unit 6 that was placed into operation in 2008. The remaining two coal-fired units at the station, 110-megawatt Unit 3 and 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."
Dominion committed to the scrubbers in 2003 when it signed a voluntary pollution settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Unit 5 scrubber represents the final capital component of that commitment. While designing the scrubber for Unit 5, Dominion concluded that it made economic and environmental sense to build it large enough to also clean the emissions from Units 3 and 4.
The scrubbers also produce a usable byproduct – calcium sulfate, better known as gypsum, which is used to make wallboard. The scrubbed exhaust is released from the scrubber's stack as a billowy cloud of water vapor.
In addition to the scrubbers, the company has installed controls at Chesterfield Power Station 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, eliminating the need either to draw water from the James River or use drinking water. The amount of effluent from a nearby Chesterfield County wastewater treatment plant will increase from 1 million gallons to about 2 million gallons a day when all of the scrubbers are operating.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 28,200 megawatts of generation, 11,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,300 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system with 947 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com