Power Plant Fined for Air Violations

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 @ 02:01 PM gHale

As a result of failing to properly operate and maintain emission monitoring equipment, Thermal Energy Development Partnership, a biomass electric power plant in Tracy, CA, will pay a $145,000 settlement for Clean Air Act violations, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials said.

“EPA will continue to rigorously enforce against facilities located in the San Joaquin Valley, a geographic focus for our regional Strategic Plan. The message is simple: facilities must comply with the requirements to monitor their pollutants,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “With some of the poorest air quality in the nation, the Valley cannot afford to risk any further deterioration.”

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The permits required the facility to properly maintain and operate a continuous emission monitoring system. Thermal Energy’s monitoring equipment failed to monitor sulfur dioxide for 30 months, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide for 27 months, and opacity for 9 months. There were no known emission violations.

The Clean Air Act violations by Thermal Energy were under the federal New Source Performance Standard which applies to steam generators constructed after June 19, 1984 and have a heat input capacity from combusted fuels greater than 100 million BTUs (British thermal units) per hour. Also considered in the settlement were the federally enforceable San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District permit conditions.

Company failure to operate emissions monitors properly can result in illegal releases of pollutants into the atmosphere. Facilities must properly maintain and operate emissions monitoring equipment to measure the release of pollutants and help protect human health.

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