DOVER, DE, Dec. 6, 2011 -- The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has authorized a water discharge permit for Indian River Power LLC's Millsboro plant that requires a 95 percent reduction in cooling water use when the plant goes from three generating units to operating a single unit in 2013. The vast reduction in cooling water use was a critical component in a consent agreement the company signed earlier with DNREC.
Indian River Power LLC's application is for reissuance of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to discharge once-through cooling water, once-through service water, screen backwash and stormwater to Island Creek and Indian River from a generating station located at 29416 Power Plant Road in Dagsboro.
When the consent agreement was signed, DNREC Secretary O'Mara hailed it as "virtually eliminating the use of water and impacts on our fisheries from the Indian River power plant."
The cooling water use reduction requirement is expected to eliminate more than 143 billion gallons of water annually withdrawn from and discharged to the Indian River -- which in turn will dramatically reduce fisheries impacts on blue crabs, bay anchovy, Atlantic menhaden, Atlantic croaker, winter flounder and weakfish in the Inland Bays.
Indian River Power LLC will make significant reductions in the amount of water needed at the plant by eliminating units that do not have a closed-cycle cooling water system. Unit 4 -- the newest and scheduled to be the plant's last operating generator -- is already equipped with closed-cycle cooling.
Indian River LLC submitted an updated application in 2004 for renewal of its NPDES permit. Working with DNREC, the company later agreed to retire Units 1, 2 and 3 at the plant. The consent agreement with DNREC and the NPDES permit require the following schedule:
• Unit 2 was retired, effective May 1, 2010 (once-through cooling water (OTCW) intakes and discharges have already been eliminated),
• Unit 1 was retired, effective May 1, 2011 ((OTCW intakes and discharges have already been eliminated) and
• Unit 3 retirement is scheduled for January 1, 2014 (with OTCW to be eliminated by March 1, 2014).
The Secretary's Order for the NPDES renewal can be found at: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/Info/Pages/SecOrders.aspx
The draft NPDES permit can be found at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/wr/Information/GWDInfo/Documents/IRGS_Permit_20111205.pdf.
A factsheet for the NPDES permit can be found at: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/wr/Information/GWDInfo/Documents/IRGS%20FactSheet_20111205.pdf.