Tag Archives: Ohio

Bluegrass Natural Gas Pipeline – Moving Forward!

Oklahoma’s Williams (NYSE: WMB) and Houston’s Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE: BWP) have teamed up to develop a new major natural gas pipeline, named the Bluegrass Pipeline, which would cut through Kentucky and connect gas fields underneath Pennsylvania to refineries and export markets on the Gulf Coast.

That means resources from the Marcellus Shale will now be accessible by facilities in Texas and Louisiana, which can then export them around the world. Kentucky.com reports that the pipeline, once completed, would allow for the initial transport of some 200,000 barrels of natural gas liquids per day from the shale operations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia over to the facilities along the Coast. This capacity would later be upgraded to 400,000 barrels per day, chiefly by the addition of liquids-pumping capacity.

The venture also means wholly new facilities, both along the pipeline’s route and in the South where it terminates, would be constructed and developed, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Roughly 40 percent of the project proposal comprises new construction and development, and this is focused largely within the Marcellus region, though no exact locations have yet been decided upon.

An interconnect in Kentucky would connect to origin points of the pipeline located in Ohio and West Virginia. Also in Kentucky, an existing system will partially be reconfigured to allow for the transportation of natural-gas liquids, Kentucky.com reports. The final route the pipeline will follow has not been determined yet.

This project comes as the latest in a series of high-profile pipeline development efforts in and near the Marcellus Shale region, as companies try to exploit the lacking American pipeline infrastructure situation by building new networks that can handle the rush of shale-derived oil and natural gas (and related products), which the existing heavy crude pipelines cannot readily do.

In fact, the situation is so complex that some Marcellus and Utica shale producers have had to slow down their operations as they wait for the pipeline network infrastructure to play catch-up. But natural gas prices have dropped even further, so developers are showing more interest in liquids derived from natural gas, like condensate, ethane, and other natural-gas liquids, Kentucky.com reports, which could be sold in numerous markets both domestic and international.

According to Williams, the present system is likely to be under too much pressure as soon as 2016, with the total volume of natural-gas liquids being produced in the Northeast projected to go over 1.2 million barrels per day by 2020.

Kentucky.com quotes Williams President and CEO, Alan Armstrong:

“We are designing Bluegrass Pipeline to provide these two world-class resource plays with access to one of the largest and most dynamic petrochemical markets in the world,” Armstrong said. “This will help producers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia achieve an attractive value for their ethane and other liquids.”

The way Boardwalk and Williams envision this project is for the pipeline to deliver mixed natural-gas liquids from the shale zones in Ohio, W. Virginia, and Pennsylvania to numerous fractionation plants and storage centers. These have yet to be built, but they will be positioned along the pipeline’s route. They would subsequently link up with petrochem plants and end-product pipelines along the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

No costs have been cited yet, as those are part of the details still being worked out. The problem of moving the shale derivatives out of the Northeast and nearer to the refineries and other facilities is one of the U.S. shale sector’s biggest issues, and this project will undoubtedly do its part in alleviating the pressure.

Roughly 60 percent of existing pipeline can be used, according to Kentucky.com; this is mostly owned by Boardwalk, named the Texas Gas Pipeline. New construction would simply expand on this network. It would allow the project to possibly come online by or in the second half of 2015, while also keeping construction costs down.

Boardwalk has nearly 1,420 miles of natural gas pipeline networking through Western Kentucky and employs 315 out of its 1,200 employees within that state.

Prior to this development, Enterprise Products Partners LLP and Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) came up with a similar plan in 2011 to develop a pipeline that would transport ethane from the Marcellus Shale region, connecting it to refineries and facilities along the Gulf Coast. More such projects will need to be developed before the Appalachian shale bottleneck can see some real relief.

SOURCE: http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/bluegrass-natural-gas-pipeline-approved/3192

Anthony Wayne Bridge (Ohio) to close in 2013 for 2 years

Toledo’s Anthony Wayne Bridge will be closed to all traffic for two years, likely to start sometime in 2013, as part of a three-year, $50 million overhaul of the 81-year-old structure by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The fundamental main-span appearance of the bridge — which carries State Rts. 2, 51, and 65 over the Maumee River and is the last suspension bridge on Ohio’s state highway network — will not change. The first approach span on either side of the suspension spans will be completely replaced during the project with new two-span structures.

Deck replacement on all the other spans is planned, along with joint improvements, cable repairs, and corrosion removal on the bridge’s steel girders, said Theresa Pollick, a department spokesman in Bowling Green. A separate painting contract will be issued after all structural and deck work is done.

The shutdown will be required because of the complete replacement of the two approach spans, Ms. Pollick said.

The spans to be replaced, which have deck-truss designs, are “fracture critical,” meaning that if certain parts of their structures were to break, they lack the backups necessary to prevent a collapse.

“The closure duration is necessary for the amount of work we must do and for the safety of those who travel the bridge during construction,” said Todd Audet, the transportation department’s district deputy director.

As the last suspension bridge on the state system, he said, “it’s important to ODOT to preserve it.”

The Anthony Wayne Bridge — also known locally as the High Level Bridge — gained its distinctive status on Feb. 22 when the transportation agency dynamited the Fort Steuben Bridge over the Ohio River between Steubenville, Ohio, and Weirton, W.Va. No other suspension bridges still standing in Ohio, or across the Ohio River, are part of the state system, the agency said.

The Anthony Wayne bridge last underwent major repairs in 1997 and 1998, when its concrete deck was resurfaced, some steel suspender cables were replaced, its main suspension cables were wrapped with weatherproofing material, and other repairs were made.

SOURCE: http://www.wtol.com/story/17457960/aw-trail-bridge-to-close-in-2013-for-2-years

Corrosion threat on Ohio bridge deck discovered

Grout packed into bundles of steel cables that compress the Veterans’ Glass City Skyway’s concrete deck sections together may contain elevated levels of salts that would cause those cables to corrode prematurely, the grout’s manufacturer has warned the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The I-280 bridge over the Maumee River, which opened five years ago, is one of several dozen projects across the United States that used grout made at a Marion, Ohio, plant owned by Sika Corp. U.S. in which excessive chloride compounds, traced to cement the plant bought from an unnamed supplier, have been discovered.

Also potentially affected is the Perry Street bridge in Napoleon, which carries State Rt. 108 over the Maumee and was replaced in 2005, the U.S. 33 bridge over the Ohio River between Pomeroy, Ohio, and Mason, W.Va., and as many as eight other smaller bridges in Ohio. Mike Gramza, the planning and engineering administrator at the transportation department’s district office in Bowling Green, said about 30 projects were affected overall.

Mr. Gramza and a Sika spokesman both said last week they are not yet sure that the particular batches of grout used in the Toledo or Napoleon project contained the elevated chlorides. A company alert identified all grout produced in Marion during an unspecified time that ended in March, 2010, when production there stopped.

In the worst case, they said, chloride presence would not create an imminent — or even short-term — safety hazard on the $273 million bridge built between 2002 and 2007.

But there is the possibility, they said, that as the bridge ages, chloride in the grout could cause the cables — known formally as “post-tensioning tendons” — to corrode and fail sooner than they otherwise would.

Samples will be taken within a few months from the Skyway, Mr. Gramza said, for testing “to see if there is a problem or not.” “It’s not an immediate issue,” he said, “But it could impact the life of the structure.”

More than 3 million pounds of grout from five sources was used on the I-280 bridge to seal ducts through which the post-tensioning strands pass. Those cables, which are distinct from the stay cables that support the bridge deck vertically, compress the bridge’s precast concrete segments against each other and also maintain transverse tension to reinforce the structure.

Grout is a mixture of water, cement, and sand that hardens once mixed. Its purpose in post-tensioning tendons is to protect the steel cables from moisture, road salt, and anything else that would cause them to rust.

Mr. Gramza said the transportation department’s specifications for project materials included an 0.08 percent limit on chlorides in the grout, a normal industry standard. But the suspect grout from Marion, he said, had chloride concentrations as high as 0.5 percent.

Chlorides — the most common of which is sodium chloride, otherwise known as table salt — accelerate the corrosive action of water and oxygen on metals such as steel.

So as long as the grout keeps air or water from reaching the post-tensioning tendons, chlorides’ presence in the grout causes no damage.

But over time, it is likely that tiny cracks will develop in the grout. Any air or water that seeps into it through the post-tensioning tendons’ outer ductwork might eventually reach the cables themselves, delivering the grout’s chlorides — plus any salt already in the water from ice control on the bridge — to the cables and initiating the corrosive chemical reaction that creates rust.

Mr. Gramza said that although grout delivered to the project was tested for strength, it was not tested for chemical composition. The transportation department learned of the problem in “late October or early November,” when it was notified by Sika, he said.

Diana Pisciotta, the Sika Corp. spokesman, agreed that grout is not routinely tested for chloride concentration.

She would not elaborate on how the problem came to Sika’s attention, disclose the source of the cement used at the Marion plant, nor comment on any theories Sika may have about how that cement came to be high in chlorides. But she said the company had been forthright in notifying the grout’s users once it identified where material made in Marion had gone before production halted in 2010.

“We at Sika are not happy that this has happened. We have tried to be proactive in reaching out to people. This really is a situation where you want to be aware,” Ms. Pisciotta said. An advisory describing the matter on a Sika company Web site, dated Dec. 6, said the company had, “over the past several months,” been “working aggressively to address reports” of excessive chlorides in SikaGrout 300 PT product made in Marion.

“There is a concern that, depending on the level of elevated chlorides in the grout in installed locations, the risk of corrosion in the tendon strands could increase,” the advisory said. “While this issue could affect the long-term service life of certain infrastructure projects [roads, bridges, etc.] where the impacted grout was used, Sika is unaware of any damage to structures to date arising from this elevated chloride issue.”

In November, 2010, Sika began “an enhanced quality-control testing regime” that includes chloride analysis for SikaGrout 300 PT made at other plants.

With one exception, listed by the company, all of the Marion-produced grout had lot numbers ending with the letter “M” on bags of the material.

Mr. Gramza said detailed records were kept showing the sources of grout used on various areas of the I-280 bridge, so sampling will be limited to areas where Sika’s Marion-made grout was used. Samples will be tested at a transportation department laboratory, a Sika lab, and a third-party location, he said.

“If there is a problem, we will have to investigate it, and evaluate the potential impact on traffic,” he said. The transportation department will consider Sika liable for the cost of any corrective measures, Mr. Gramza said.

Asked Sika’s position on its liability exposure, Ms. Pisciotta responded: “Our intention is to collaborate with them [ODOT] as they review this issue. We will continue the conversation with them as to what the appropriate next steps are.”

The grout problem is at least the fourth significant materials problem with the Skyway.

In 2004, about 184 cubic yards of concrete was removed from the bridge’s central pylon after sample testing determined a particular batch was weaker than required. Later in the project, officials discovered cracks in the plastic coatings on the bridge’s stay cables and ordered them replaced at the supplier’s expense.

And in 2008, a year after the bridge opened to traffic, inspectors discovered that epoxy glue holding the stay cables’ stainless-steel sheaths together was not holding up and the sheaths were slipping. The sheaths were welded together to remedy that problem.

The bridge also has had sporadic problems with ice forming on its pylon and stays during winter storms, then falling off in sheets onto the roadway when the weather warms, but so far this winter, such ice has not been an issue.

SOURCE: http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2012/02/06/Corrosion-threat-on-Skyway-bridge-deck-discovered.html

$520 million Marcellus Lateral pipeline project in doubt

A $520 million pipeline project thought to have the potential to support 2,500 Ohio construction jobs might be dead.

The Ohio Power Siting Board, the body that regulates major utility projects in Ohio, rejected the application for the Marcellus Lateral Pipeline more than a year ago. Kinder Morgan, a pipeline developer, owner and operator out of Houston, has made no official moves on the project since it submitted that application in November 2010.

The 16-inch pipeline was to snake 240 miles under Ohio, from the border with the West Virginia panhandle to a connection with larger pipeline just west of Toledo. It was designed to carry natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale formation, a layer of rock rich in oil and gas that sits underneath much of western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the border counties of Ohio.

Its path would have crossed 15 Ohio counties, including Muskingum, Coshocton, Knox, Morrow, Marion, Crawford and Sandusky.

This past spring, the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune and Mount Vernon News quoted a Kinder Morgan spokesman as saying the project still was a go and to expect construction by the end of 2011. The company would first need to get approval from the siting board, which it has not sought, a board spokesman said.

When asked to comment about the project’s status, Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Emily Mir wrote: “We continue to evaluate a number of projects in the Marcellus area but do not have any definite information at this time on the lateral project other than as part of our re-evaluation we are withdrawing our application for the project.”

She declined to answer further questions.

Dale Arnold, director of energy policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau, had been conducting educational meetings with bureau members on pipeline issues in advance of the Marcellus Lateral Project.

He said the wording of Kinder Morgan’s statement suggests it is moving on to something else. Arnold said he has seen alternative energy projects (also governed by the siting board) pulled in the same manner.

“From my experience on work with wind and solar projects, when a company withdraws an application, they are looking at something entirely different,” he said.

The state is “still considering the application active, but just delayed,” said Matt Butler, spokesman for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, which oversees the siting board.

As of Friday, Kinder Morgan had made no filing to withdraw its application, which would close the case.

The application was deemed incomplete in 2011 because it failed to include ecological data and enough detail on an alternative route.

Butler said the commission last heard from Kinder Morgan in the fall of 2011. The company relayed it was evaluating options at that point, he said.

Local leaders in the path of the pipeline are curious about Kinder Morgan’s plans.

Jenny Vermillion, a commissioner from Sandusky County, said her office had tried contacting the company in December, but had no success.

Jim Porter and Steve Douglass, commissioners in Muskingum and Guernsey counties, respectively, say they haven’t heard anything new about the project.

“They have not talked to us for a year of maybe longer,” Douglass said.

Douglass said Kinder Morgan had almost daily contact with Guernsey’s county engineer when the Rockies Express Pipeline, a multi-billion dollar interstate pipeline that was built in Ohio in 2009, was in construction.

The pipeline plan was announced by Kinder Morgan in April 2010. At that time, the timeline called for construction to begin in July 2011 and finish one year later.

In a year-end report to investors, filed a month after its application was submitted to the power siting board, Kinder Morgan talked of the need to “continue to pursue commercial agreements with shippers.”

The company, according to an October 2010 investor presentation, was seeking commitments from producers that they would use the lateral. Combined, Kinder Morgan was waiting for a promise of at least 25 million barrels per day for 10 years before it moved forward.

Richard Kinder, chairman and CEO of the company, told analysts during a conference call earlier this month about no fewer than five projects — costing more than half a billion dollars — slated to improve the company’s liquid products transportation. No mention was made of the Marcellus Lateral.

Its biggest investment this year is likely to be the expected closing of a $38 billion deal to buy rival El Paso. El Paso operates a gas pipeline near Glouster that was the source of an explosion that destroyed three homes and a barn and damaged a second barn in November.

SOURCE: http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/BA/20120128/NEWS01/201280305/-520-million-natural-gas-pipeline-project-doubt?odyssey=nav%7Chead

Safety a priority with pipeline operators

MOUNT VERNON — When the natural gas pipeline in Morgan County, Ohio exploded recently, destroying two homes, it immediately raised fears: Could it happen here? There are interstate transmission lines in Knox County. Who owns them and are they properly maintained?

The cause of the Morgan County blast has not yet been determined. Matt Butler, a spokesman for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, said the failed section of the line was excavated and sent to a metallurgical lab for testing and analysis.

Meanwhile, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered Tennessee Gas Pipeline to reduce the pressure in the line to 80 percent of normal and obtain approval from PHMSA before returning the line to service.

“Inline inspections and aerial patrols are used in conjunction with other tools to ensure the safety and reliability of our pipeline systems,” said a spokeswoman with Tennessee Gas Pipeline, in reports after the explosion. “Both the June 2011 inline inspection and the aerial patrol on Nov. 11, 2011, did not show any indication that the pipeline was not operating as it should.”

The transmission lines in Knox County belong to NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage (formerly Columbia Gas Transmission Co.). A multiple main line, consisting of a 20-inch and a 16-inch line, runs north from the vicinity of Homer, veering to the east to pass between Mount Vernon and Gambier. The 20-inch line continues north through Monroe and Pike townships, while the 16-inch main line branches off in the vicinity of Gambier and runs northeast. Another 20-inch main line runs northwest from Homer through Milford Township. A secondary line also runs off of this, extending approximately from Centerburg to Bangs. Other secondary lines extend from a junction with the main line southeast of Mount Vernon up to the vicinity of Fredericktown and from the junction east to Millwood. (The map can be viewed using the PHMSA map viewer at www.npms.phsma.dot.gov)

Nationally, there are 300,000 miles of inter- and intrastate transmission lines and 2.1 million miles of smaller distribution lines owned by local distribution companies.

The line that exploded in Morgan County was a 30-inch transmission line.

“There’s no guarantee an explosion (like the one in Morgan County) couldn’t happen somewhere else,” Butler said, “But we have a comprehensive pipeline safety program.”

The PUCO does not have jurisdiction over interstate pipelines, but is an agent for enforcing PHMSA regulations. They make sure inspections are done and spot-check them.

“It’s more of an audit function,” Butler said. “The operator is responsible for inspections. Federal requirements are for inspections every two years; we check the paperwork and do spot checks in the field to verify inspections are accurate.”

Read more: http://www.mountvernonnews.com/local/11/12/03/safety-a-priority-with-pipeline-operators

How safe are Dayton’s buildings…No group regularly checks structural integrity of buildings.

DAYTON — Despite the dozens of aging buildings in the Dayton, Ohio area and recent cases of dangerously crumbling exteriors, there is no group regularly checking the structural integrity of downtown buildings.

“In Ohio, the laws are very much geared toward property rights for individual owners,” said Maury Wyckoff, building regulation manager for Montgomery County. “We don’t go around looking at buildings that are old, and say, ‘You have to do something.’ ”

Michael Cromartie, building services director for the city of Dayton, said his department inspects new construction and renovations, but not long-standing historic buildings.

“Once we issue an occupancy permit, we’re out,” Cromartie said. “The burden shifts to the owner.”

But sometimes an owner doesn’t realize there’s a problem until there’s a collapse.

On Aug. 19 in Springfield, part of a decorative stone façade fell from the third story of a vacant, 100-year-old building, sending one woman to a hospital.

Dayton had a near-miss last fall, when a 20-foot section of stone fell 10 stories to the sidewalk at First and Main. And the city closed sidewalks at Fourth and Ludlow last month when deteriorated windows fell from a building on the southeast corner.

In both (Dayton) cases, you’re looking at the effect of deferred maintenance and corrosion,” Cromartie said. “If the owners had made sure the building was sound, it would not be an issue.”

Dick Meyer, a longtime local structural engineer, said building deterioration is often a long, slow process and can be difficult to see before an incident.

“When water penetrates into the joints of the parapets and façades, then freezes, it will expand and cause the façades to move,” Meyer said. “The joints open up and move, and it’s a progressive issue.”

Pam Miller Howard, a board member of Preservation Dayton, said several downtown buildings with rare terra cotta façades were restored last decade — the Kuhns Building at Fourth and Main, the Liberty Bank building, and the old Reynolds and Reynolds headquarters — making those façades safer.

But Miller Howard pointed to others — the old Key Bank building on Main, the Center City Building and the Arcade — as buildings with decorative features on higher stories that deserve examination.

“These are the three buildings that come to mind that would benefit from renovation, engineering evaluation, adaptive re-use, and further investment of funds to preserve their unique contribution to the downtown streetscape, ensure public safety and add to downtown’s economic vitality,” she said.

Cromartie said the economic slump has complicated maintenance and renovation of some buildings.

“Finding that responsible party can be difficult, especially with all the foreclosures going on,” he said. “It’s not a problem too often downtown, but ownership can become cloudy and can be hard to chase after.”

Wyckoff said owner maintenance is more important than age when it comes to the structural soundness of older buildings, and Cromartie said it’s important for owners to do more than a quick visual once-over.

Donna Martin, president of Preservation Dayton, said the city could do more, pointing out that some cities (Miami and Boston, among others) require structural inspections of large older buildings every 10 years.

That’s not the case currently, but Wyckoff encouraged residents to report unsafe conditions.

“There’s nothing wrong with calling your building department and talking,” he said. “We want to make sure the public is safe, and if there’s risk, we’ll take steps.”

SOURCE: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/how-safe-are-daytons-buildings–1245545.html

Coal scrubbers are corroding

Ohio pollution controls are showing wear after as little as a year.

Coal-fired power plants across the country are being checked for corrosion problems on billions of dollars’ worth of equipment that is supposed to cut air pollution. And the results from three power companies in Ohio show that the  scrubbers are corroding at a much faster rate than was expected.

Coal scrubbers – some 15 stories tall — spray a slurry of water and limestone into coal flumes to capture most of the pollutants before they’re released into the air. The scrubbers cost up to $500 million, and are supposed to last 25 years.

But Akron-based FirstEnergy discovered corrosion in three new scrubbers at its plant along the Ohio River. None of is older than a year.  American Electric Power also found corrosion at four plants in Ohio and West Virginia. And Duke Energy found it at its Southwest Ohio plant.

A national inquiry is now underway by The Electric Power Research Institute.

John Shingledecker is the senior project manager for the institute. He says he’s seen corrosion in as little as 11 months, and in wide variety of scrubbers.

“There was some initial thought that there was only one particular alloy that was being affected,” he said.

“But there are now different types of alloys, some that have been used in the past as well. And we’ve seen it in multiple designs and multiple manufacturers.”

Shingledecker says figuring out the cause of the corrosion could  take two years, and  in the meantime coal-fired power plants can use protective coatings or clay tiles to try to stop the corrosion.

But American Electric Power spokesman Pat Hemlepp says his company’s scrubbers are operating safely.

”We are working with the industry to address what happening. As far as an environmental standpoint, the equipment does what it’s supposed to do,” he said. “The equipment is taken down for maintenance routinely just like the plants are. And we’re doing whatever is necessary during those maintenance periods to take care of the corrosion issue. It’s not a safety issue, it’s not a health issue.”

Hemlepp says the cost of maintaining the scrubbers has already been calculated into customer bills.

The Columbus Dispatch reported this week that AEP negotiated a confidential settlement with, a contractor on the scrubbers to address corrosion at its central Ohio plants.

SOURCE: http://www.wksu.org/news/story/28895

‘Aggressive’ corrosion eats at power-plant scrubbers

When American Electric Power installed a pollution scrubber at its Cardinal plant along the Ohio River in 2007, it was supposed to last 25 years.

About a year later, an inspection found that something was eating through its steel walls.

“There were some areas in the tank vessel itself that ultimately corroded all the way through,” said Bill Sigmon, AEP’s senior vice president for engineering, projects and field services.

It wasn’t a freak occurrence.

The Electric Power Research Institute, which is funded by utility companies, is investigating reports of “aggressive” corrosion in scrubbers across the nation.

“Our findings, so far, show it’s fairly widespread through the industry,” said John Shingledecker, senior project manager in the research institute’s fossil materials and repair program.

Without a fix, corrosion threatens plant shutdowns and costly repairs, both of which could affect Ohioans’ power bills.

Scrubbers are key weapons in the fight to reduce pollution at coal-fired power plants.

They were installed to help meet a federal mandate that coal-fired power plants cut 71 percent of their sulfur-dioxide emissions by 2014.

They also were required by settlements FirstEnergy signed in 2005 and AEP agreed to in 2007 to end separate federal air-pollution lawsuits.

Central Ohio AEP customers already are paying for the scrubbers. State regulators permitted the company to increase base fees as much as 7 percent in 2009, 6 percent in 2010 and another 6 percent this year.

Estimates kept by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio show the average Columbus residential electricity bill for the month of June rose from $87.90 in 2008 to $95.21 this year.

There are about 360 operating scrubbers at U.S. power plants. They are used mainly to catch sulfur dioxide, a key ingredient in the smog and soot pollution that plagues U.S. cities, including Columbus.

Research Institute officials are focused on 166 scrubbers installed since 2006.

As many as 70 are made of a type of stainless steel that appears particularly vulnerable to corrosion.

In addition to Cardinal, AEP found corrosion in new scrubbers at its Conesville plant in Coshocton County and at its Mountaineer and Mitchell plants along the Ohio River in West Virginia.

The company spent $1.7 billion to install five scrubbers at those four plants, said Melissa McHenry, a company spokeswoman.

Duke Energy found corrosion in two Miami Fort plant scrubbers in Hamilton County, which cost $365 million. Akron-based FirstEnergy found initial signs of corrosion in three new scrubbers at its W.H. Sammis plant along the Ohio River in Jefferson County.

“They became operational in January,” FirstEnergy spokesman Mark Durbin said.

It cost $1.8 billion to install scrubbers and other pollution filters there.

A scrubber can hold as much as 1 million gallons of lime slurry, a solution that captures sulfur compounds in hot power-plant smoke before it goes up the stack.

Although no scrubber has “failed,” utility officials say they want to know why some are corroding. Duke Energy spokeswoman Erin Culbert said the company, so far, has spent more than $5 million on short-term repairs.

“We do not want to be applying Band-Aids,” Culbert said.

Sigmon said AEP negotiated a confidential settlement with a contractor, to address corrosion at its Conesville and Cardinal plants.

Shingledecker said it could take as long as two years to identify a root cause of the corrosion and find a solution.

SOURCE: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2011/07/10/aggressive-corrosion-eats-at-power-plant-scubbers.html?sid=101#story-continues