Tag Archives: Utilities

Washington Gas ordered to pay six-figure penalty in home explosion case

Washington Gas has agreed to replace copper lines throughout a Chantilly neighborhood and pay Virginia a six-figure penalty stemming from a explosion in 2010, but the settlement will not compensate the homeowner’s whose loss launched the investigation.

In the agreement between the company and the State Corporation Commission, Washington Gas neither admits or denies violating safety standards. The company has been directed to undertake several safety improvements, including the replacement of all copper service lines in the Brookfield Community where the explosion occurred.

As of Dec. 20, 2010, charred debris was all that remained of Thuan Nguyen’s two-story home in the 4300 block of Lees Corner Road. No one was hurt in the explosion as the Nguyen family was out at the time.

A subsequent investigation and report of the accident by the SCC’s Division of Utility & Railroad Safety cited nine alleged violations of the commission’s gas pipeline safety standards against Washington Gas.

The report states the gas service line under Lees Corner Road leading to Nguyen’s home experienced severe corrosion that resulted in a major gas leak.

However, the report also states that alone is not enough to prove culpability for the explosion on the part of Washington Gas because it cannot be proved that a 1-inch diameter gas fuel line that “terminated on the second floor of the [Nguyen] residence” had been properly capped.

According to the report, the end threads of that fuel line were tested after the explosion for the presence of pipe thread sealant; none was found.

Representatives of the SCC and Washington Gas announced the settlement May 24 during a public forum in the neighborhood.

“We turned over every stone we could,” said Massoud Tahamtani, director of SCC’s Division of Utility & Railroad Safety. “What we found is that there were two sources of the potential leak; one under Washington Gas’s control and one under the homeowner’s control.”

According to SCC safety manager Shane Ayers, Washington Gas will be pay a penalty of $154,800 to the state, with an additional $219,700 due if the remedial actions set forth in the order are not met.

“We’ve got over 200 lines to replace in this neighborhood,” said Steve Price, Washington Gas spokesman.

“So if you don’t think the explosion was caused by faulty copper lines, why all this work?” Nguyen asked during the public forum.

“The corrosion rate for copper pipes is greater than other materials like steel,” Stabler replied. “It is rare to see corrosion and we only see two corrosions per year on average. We will take this opportunity to replace older copper lines in this neighborhood. ”

SOURCE: http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/article/20120601/NEWS/706019697/1117/washington-gas-ordered-to-pay-six-figure-penalty-in-home-explosion&template=fairfaxTimes

 

Bill would earmark PG&E fines for better pipelines

Two Bay Area lawmakers want to use revenue raised from fines leveled against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. – in connection with 2010’s San Bruno gas line explosion – to pay for upgrades to the utility’s transmission system, saying the move will save ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Under current state law, any fine assessed by the California Public Utilities Commission goes to the state’s general spending account, which pays for schools, prisons and other state programs.

Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, on Tuesday introduced legislation that would dedicate money raised from the explosion fines to pipeline upgrades. The measure is co-authored by San Francisco Democratic Sen. Mark Leno.

Hill said state regulators are expected to level at least $200 million – and probably far more – in penalties against the utility in connection with the deadly explosion. If that money is used for pipeline replacement instead of general state spending, he said, ratepayers would save at least $660 million.

“PG&E should not be allowed to profit from what has occurred,” Hill said. “The way it works now … PG&E will borrow the money for capital improvement costs and ratepayers will have to pay the principal back as well as interest.”

But the PUC also has authorized PG&E to grant its shareholders an 11.35 percent profit on its capital improvement projects – money that gets taxed. All these costs are to be paid for by ratepayers unless the bill passes.

Hill said that when you add up all of the additional costs, every dollar of penalty money spent on pipeline upgrades will save ratepayers $3 to $4.

“To me, those ratepayers within the PG&E service area are ones who have suffered the most … by living with an unsafe pipeline system,” he said. “I feel that those are the ratepayers who should benefit, or at least be made whole, from the penalties related to San Bruno.”

The PUC has not yet assessed fines against PG&E in connection with the San Bruno incident, which killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. But the utility’s managers set aside $200 million last year, saying they expect penalties could top that amount when three separate state investigations are complete.

Hill said PG&E is expected to spend more than $5 billion, including interest, over the next 50 years upgrading its transmission system to comply with federal recommendations.

Brian Swanson, a PG&E spokesman, said the utility has not taken a position on the bill but supports the concept.

 

SOURCE: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/29/BA9E1OP12K.DTL#ixzz1wS1x3g00

State Hearing to Focus on Increasing Funding for CA Public Utilities Commission

The California Public Utilities Commission is seeking to add seven new positions to its gas safety division 

A state assemblyman will be leading a hearing today to talk about possibly beefing up state regulators’ ability to oversee pipeline safety in the wake of the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion.

Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, who chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Resources and Transportation, will be conducting the hearing from 9 a.m. to noon in the state capitol. The legislators will be reviewing the increased funding the California Public Utilities Commission has received to strengthen its safety oversight and enforcement over gas, electric, communications and rail public utilities throughout the state.

In particular, Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposes a budget of $5.896 million for the commission and increasing its staff to 41 people, which would include seven new positions in its gas safety division and an additional $300,000 to build a gas safety database.

Investigators and critics blasted the CPUC after the PG&E pipeline explosion in the Crestmoor neighborhood because it only had nine inspectors, who were each responsible for overseeing the safety of an average of 11,000 miles of pipeline.

The CPUC has since added nine more safety inspectors—a move that reflects a change in the culture of the commission, according to a staff report that explained the increased funding.

The “CPUC admits that policy objectives took priority over safety prior to the San Bruno explosion,” the staff report said. The “CPUC’s reactive safety strategy, premised on the assumption that utilities recognized public safety as their top priority, was inherently misguided.”

SOURCE: http://sanbruno.patch.com/articles/state-hearing-to-focus-on-increasing-funding-for-cpuc

Waterville council considers $80 million natural gas line

Officials proposing to build an $80 million natural gas pipeline through central Maine got both support and questions at a City Council meeting earlier this week.

Mark Isaacson and Anthony Buxton, partners in Kennebec Valley Gas Co., are seeking a tax increment financing agreement with Waterville and 11 other communities on the proposed line, which would extend from Richmond to Madison and include 12 miles of line in the city.

Natural gas, they said, is less costly, cleaner and more efficient than oil.

City Manager Michael Roy said the city’s TIF Advisory Committee reviewed the project and voted to support it.

Councilor Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, said she liked the idea that natural gas is less costly than oil and ultimately, would help companies maintain jobs.

“That’s what we have to look at in this situation,” she said.

Chris McMorrow, who owns rental properties, said heating buildings is costly and the introduction of natural gas would be welcome.

“So, I’m real excited as a landlord who buys a lot of energy,” he said.

But mayoral candidate Karen Heck cautioned councilors to seriously consider Isaacson and Buxton’s proposal, as well as a plan by Madison to build a pipeline.

She said she is concerned about where the gas comes from, how it is extracted and who extracts it.

Isaacson said a “host of companies” extract the gas and it is all mixed in the pipeline.

“We don’t have control over where the gas comes from,” he said.

Mayor Dana Sennett, who is running for re-election in November, said Wednesday that he thought the presentation Tuesday was informative.

“I think having a natural gas pipeline within the city’s limits and accessible to the city’s businesses and residential community is a long term asset as far as reducing energy costs,” he said.

Andrew Roy, who is running for mayor against Heck and Sennett, said he wants to learn more about the proposal before deciding if it is good for Waterville.

“There’s no way you can predict the price of it, 20 years down the road — 30 years down the road,” he said.

Madison is not asking communities along the pipeline route for tax breaks. Besides Waterville, Richmond, and Madison, they include Gardiner, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Augusta, Sidney, Oakland, Fairfield, Norridgewock and Skowhegan.

Isaacson said his company, which was formed last year, completed a preliminary design for the pipeline this year and received conditional certification in August from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, which allows the company to form as a public utility.

The company has completed a feasibility study but has not yet secured all funding needed for the project. Agreements with key users, identified as Huhtamaki, Sappi and Madison Paper Industries, are critical to the project.

The tax increment financing districts would require municipalities to give back a percentage of local property taxes to the developer to help finance the pipeline. TIF districts also act as a tax shelter for towns, so increased property values in the designated areas do not result in increased tax commitments.

Isaacson said the company hopes to get TIF agreements this year, secure financing in 2012 and build the pipeline in 2013.

Councilor John O’Donnell, D-Ward 5, asked what happens if the key users such as Madison Paper and Sappi do not come on board.

“Those commitments are essential for financing of the project,” Isaacson said.

O’Donnell asked what the advantages are over Madison’s plan.

Isaacson said Madison does not propose to provide residential or distribution service, at least in the beginning.

“I think their status as a public utility is unclear and their schedule is clearly behind ours,” he said.

Resident Scott McAdoo asked who would be responsible if a gas explosion occurred.

Buxton said gas pipelines are regulated by the local, state and federal government, and the standards are very rigorous.

“I would point out that we tend to hear about a natural gas accident when it happens, but it is extremely rare,” Buxton said.

He said Maine is about the only state in the nation without a natural gas infrastructure.

Council Chairman Charles Stubbert, D-Ward 1, said the city used to have a gas company and most people used gas. To his knowledge, there was never an explosion, he said.

SOURCE: http://www.kjonline.com/news/council-considers-natural-gas-line_2011-10-19.html

PG&E to replace 1,200 miles of plastic gas pipe

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will undertake a multiyear effort to remove more than 1,200 miles of plastic pipeline that has been linked to numerous failures nationwide, including two explosions in Northern California in the past six weeks.

The company’s decision to replace the pre-1973 pipe, marks a departure from a policy that PG&E had reaffirmed as recently as last week to assess its natural gas-distribution system before deciding which lines to replace.

The replacement project is likely to run into the millions of dollars, although PG&E would give no cost estimate. The company is likely to ask the California Public Utilities Commission to pass the cost along to customers.

The plastic pipe is used in distribution systems that deliver gas to homes. The manufacturer of the pipe warned customers nearly three decades ago that pipe made before 1973 was prone to cracking and sudden failure.

In 1998, the National Transportation Safety Board, noting instances in which this particular pipe and other plastic pipes had ruptured, urged pipeline companies to assess their lines and replace those with problems.

Two blasts
PG&E set aside $1.5 million in customers’ money starting in 2009 to assess its plastic pipelines’ reliability, but spent only a fraction of that and made little progress on the studies.

Then, on Aug. 31, one of these specific plastic pipelines in Cupertino that had sprung numerous leaks filled a condominium with gas, which ignited minutes after the owner had left. The building was destroyed. Less than a month later, another line installed in 1981 in Roseville (Placer County) exploded beneath a commercial intersection, touching off a seven-hour fire. No one was hurt.

PG&E said last Friday that it would start replacing pre-1973 plastic lines as soon as next year, after it presents a plan to state regulators. The company expects to take more than three years to complete the work.

First on the list
In the meantime, PG&E will replace 12,000 feet of line around the condominium complex in Cupertino and a 400-foot piece at the site of the Roseville fire. It will also replace distribution pipe at a mobile home park in St. Helena where a leak was discovered last year, PG&E spokesman David Eisenhauer said.

The company said it plans to digitize 15,000 maps of the plastic pipeline systems and create a database to track leaks. PG&E will also replace some of the 6,676 miles of newer lines based on how often they leak.

Eisenhauer said the effort is in the planning stages and carries unknown costs and time frames.

“This is something we have been looking at,” he said. “Part of the plan is determining where in our system there is a higher leak rate, and then prioritizing it.”

Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, has announced plans for legislation to require state regulators to act on National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, which could lead to an order for PG&E to remove its troubled plastic pipe.

‘Great news’
“I think it’s great news – it’s certainly an indication of good will in the future,” Hill said. “But we still need the legislation, to make sure safety recommendations are followed.”

Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline consultant who advises the advocacy group The Utility Reform Network as well as the federal government on safety issues, said PG&E may be able to replace some of its lines without digging up the old pipe.

In some cases, new plastic pipe can be inserted in old lines, and in others PG&E can create a new distribution network around the old one, Kuprewicz said.

“It’s a fairly easy process,” he said, “but the devil’s in the details” – specifically, finding out which lines need to be replaced first.

“It’s very important that it be matched with a well-thought-out leak survey process,” Kuprewicz said.

SOURCE: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/14/BAK51LHQB7.DTL#ixzz1b8KaP1mu

NJ Reservoir Drainage May Affect Local Drinking Water

Officials say water may look, smell differently, but is still safe to drink while the Cedar Grove Reservoir is drained.

While the Cedar Grove Reservoir is drained, workers will go in and repair corrosion damage, inspect its conduits and fix leakage.

The process of draining the reservoir, which is located along Ridge Road, is expected to take three to four months. During that time, water customers in towns supplied by the reservoir may notice some discoloration or changes to the taste of the water, but officials say the water is safe to drink.

The City of Newark owns the reservoir and the city’s Department of Water and Sewer Utilities for the City of Newark along with Mayor Cory A. Booker, explained that the discoloration occurs when valves are opened and closed during the drainage process. The Great Notch reservoir, owned by the Passaic Valley Water Commission and located in Woodland Park, will supply additional water to customers, so there is no interruption in the supply or quality of water while the repair work is being done.

“We are working to upgrade and modernize our water system and to provide residents with the highest quality water supply in the nation,” said Booker. “This repair work will require us to drain and inspect the Cedar Grove Reservoir, which may cause temporary discoloration or a change in the water’s taste. But the water provided will be safe to use.”

City officials say there is a leak in the outlet tunnel and corrosion damage to the 60-inch water main. The main also needs a new valve.

The reservoir provides water for Newark, Belleville, Bloomfield, and some areas of East Orange. Every decade or so, the reservoir is drained and cleaned of debris. Its pipes are inspected, and then it is re-filled. The project is expected to finish on April 30 of next year, according to Township Manager Thomas Tucci, who said the project will not create any issues to residents.

The city has not drained the reservoir since 1990 to perform repairs. Water samples are taken daily from the reservoir and tested to make sure the water quality complies with safe water drinking standards. Discoloration does not make the water unsafe, officials say, but could cause discoloration while washing clothes.

“There may be some slight color changes during the switchover,” said Andrew Pappachen, Director of Operations for the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp. “However, we will ensure the potability by maintaining sufficient chlorine residual in the water. We will be monitoring the water quality more often.”

SOURCE: http://southward.patch.com/articles/reservoir-drainage-may-affect-local-drinking-water

Zinc Ribbon or Copper for AC Mitigation – that is the question…

Team members of MATCOR have been involved in several online discussions (LinkedIn) about the pros and cons of Zinc Ribbon for use in AC Mitigation. So we thought we would share our expertise in this subject on our blog.

Below are 4 reasons why we believe Copper (and our AC Mitigation product, “The Mitigator“) is a superior solution to Zinc Ribbon.

  • Formation of passive films on the surface of the zinc can cause a significant electropositive shift in the zinc potential over a period of time; this generally occurs over a period of days or weeks. The general rule of thumb is that the concentration of chlorides and sulfates must be measurably greater than the sum of the concentrations of bicarbonates, carbonates, nitrates and phosphates; otherwise with time the zinc corrosion potential will shift electropositive. Plattline’s Web site notes that zinc ribbon is “generally used with gypsum backfill”; however, too often for AC Mitigation applications, no consideration is given to placing the zinc ribbon in a specially prepared backfill (this should be general practice).
  • Zinc faces high consumption/corrosion rates in the presence of AC. A.W. Peabody has noted that AC can “create an especially high corrosion rate with buried aluminum, magnesium and zinc”. Testing of zinc electrodes at an AC Current density of 155 A/m2 found a 15-20 fold increase in the consumption rate of zinc. R.A. Gummow, a corrosion engineer and a NACE International accredited Corrosion Specialist, notes that “accelerated corrosion of zinc ribbon AC mitigation facilities must be expected and needs to be accounted for in the cathodic protection design despite the lack of information on the magnitude of the accelerating effect”.
  • The effect on existing impressed current CP systems: the use of zinc anodes directly connected to the pipeline for AC mitigation can interfere with existing impressed current CP systems in a way that is both difficult to model and to predict. In some cases, the zinc anodes can become an additional load, particularly if the zinc is not located in a prepared backfill and has shifted to a more electropositive potential. In other cases, the zinc anode may be providing and/or supplementing galvanic current to the CP system in which case it will be consumed over time – note that the presence of AC often increases significantly the consumption rate. This could result in premature consumption of the zinc ribbon as an AC Mitigation system.
  • The effect of the zinc ribbon on potential surveys when directly connected to the pipeline can be erratic and difficult to interpret, rendering these surveys inconclusive or invalid. Given the emphasis on integrity management and the additional risks posed by AC Induced Corrosion in collocated right-of-way (ROW) corridors, the negative impact that the zinc ribbon might have on survey data could make CIS surveys invalid and increase the need for and frequency of Inline Inspections (ILI).

In addition to these 4 key reasons, MATCOR’s ‘The Mitigator‘ is the pipeline industry’s first engineered AC Mitigation grounded system, with greater ease of installation and lower overall cost.

Corrosion at root of water line failure

Amarillo — A tiny crack led to a big blowout of the pipeline carrying half the city’s water supply.

About 2 million gallons of water started gushing up to 50 feet in the air because the Carson County Wellfield transmission pipeline had corroded from the outside in.

“It was real obvious when we cut into it,” said Director of Utilities Emmett Autrey. “A microcrack in the cement layer on the outside had let in air and moisture over the years. That water only had to go through 1 inch of cement.”

The pipe consists of a cement layer inside a steel pipe that is wrapped with steel cable and coated with cement.

“On one edge all the thickness of the steel was there,” Autrey said. “Ten inches away, there was paper-thin, rusty metal. It was almost like looking through a fish net.”

When the cable, the last line of defense, also corroded, the pipe opened up on the side of Texas Highway 136 just northeast of the city.

The crack could have happened during the manufacturing process or installation, said City Manager Jarrett Atkinson, but the exact cause is unclear.

“Does it mean we have to be careful and watch it? Yes,” he said. “And if we see an increase in frequency, we’ll look closer, but we’ve only had three failures of this nature on the entire pipeline.”

Because the 45-inch-wide pipe is no longer a standard size, the city is having four sections made to have on hand.

“Despite how big an issue it was when it happened, our standard response has to be to be prepared,” Atkinson said. “Most important will be to have the interconnect that will be the ultimate safety valve.”

The interconnect will run between the Carson County line and the transmission line from the new Potter County Wellfield that is set for completion in November. It will allow the city to send water from one pipeline to another in case of a failure in one, keeping the water flowing.

The cost of repairs, which took just more than two days including disinfecting and testing is unknown at this time.

SOURCE: http://amarillo.com/news/2011-08-30/corrosion-root-aug-21-water-line-failure#.Tl4uRHMf-NE

PG&E Proposes Spending $769M To Test Gas Pipelines, $2.2B Overall

PG&E Corp. (PCG) on Friday proposed spending $769 million over three years to test its natural gas pipelines as part of a $2.2 billion pipeline safety program, following a deadly pipeline explosion last year.

PG&E said it will pressure-test all of its untested pipe segments and expand use of automated pipeline shut-off valves. The utility has proposed passing on the cost of the project to its customers, with a $250 million rate increase in 2012 and subsequent increases of $30 million and $80 million in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Overall, the utility said it plans to spend $2.2 billion through 2014 on pipeline safety costs.

In June, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered PG&E and the state’s other natural gas utilities, owned by Sempra Energy (SRE), to file by Friday plans to test or replace their gas transmission pipelines that haven’t been tested with high-pressure water techniques.

The plans are part of the CPUC’s effort to beef up the state’s pipeline safety regulations and improve its own oversight over the state’s thousands of miles of natural gas pipelines.

On Sept. 9, a PG&E pipeline in San Bruno, Calif., exploded, igniting a fireball that killed eight people, injured several others and destroyed 38 homes.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which has been investigating the cause of the explosion, is scheduled to issue a final report on its findings Aug. 30.

The NTSB has suggested in interim reports that poor record-keeping and a lack of safety tests by PG&E likely masked manufacturing defects in the 55-year-old San Bruno pipeline. The agency also found that the company didn’t provide the local fire department and other emergency responders with information they needed to react properly to the pipeline explosion.

The U.S. Department of Justice has been leading a criminal investigation into the explosion, and several lawsuits have been filed against the utility.

In June, an independent panel of experts concluded that PG&E had a “dysfunctional culture” that gave little heed to public safety or the high level of technical expertise needed to safely operate a gas pipeline system.

The CPUC has launched a separate probe to determine whether PG&E’s poor record-keeping violated any rules or laws that might warrant penalties. The CPUC also is considering new pipeline-safety rules for PG&E and other pipeline operators in the state and has promised to beef up its oversight of PG&E and the state’s pipelines.

Earlier this month, PG&E announced it hired a new chief executive, Anthony Earley, to replace former CEO Peter Darbee, who left the company in the wake of the disaster.

The company has said damage claims from the accident could total as much as $400 million, and that other costs associated with the accident could total $1.1 billion through 2012.

In July, credit rating company Fitch Ratings lowered its outlook on the company, saying continued fallout from the accident has added uncertainty to its credit status.

The utility said Friday it will enhance electronic monitoring of its gas system to quickly identify ruptures and replace segments in need of new piping. It also plans to transition to electronic records from paper documents to streamline the testing and repair process.

“This plan represents a clear break with the way PG&E and other gas utilities once approached pipeline safety,” Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E’s new executive vice president of gas operations, said in a statement.

SOURCE: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110826-714596.html

‘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