Luminant advisory panel hears emissions, reclamation reports

An annual emissions report and the status of mining land reclamation were the main topics when the Luminant Community Advisory Panel (LCAP) met in Elgin in November.

The panel of community members advising Luminant’s Sandow Power Plant and Three Oaks Mine of public expectations will meet again from 6-8:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in McDade.

LCAP uses two inventories reported to regulatory agencies to track Luminant emissions from year to year, dating back to 2003. In 2008, with respect to Sandow Unit 4, Luminant reported 17 chemicals on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Of these, 92 percent was ash that remains after coal is combusted to make heat. The ash is then recycled or safely disposed of in landfills. The ash is classified as a “land release,” which also consists of reportable quantities of barium and manganese.

Air emissions were 8 percent of the power plant’s Toxics Release Inventory. These are classified as “air releases” and include diluted concentrations of sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and hydrogen fluoride. Three Oaks Mine did not meet the threshold for making TRI reports. TRI releases in 2008 were the lowest since LCAP reports began with 2003 data.

With respect to Sandow Unit 4, sulfur dioxide was the largest release reported in the annual air emissions inventory to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Carbon monoxide was second. Sandow Unit 5 is expected to capture up to 98 percent of its sulfur dioxide emissions.

Selective catalytic reduction is expected to reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at Unit 5. Investments in additional processes at Unit 5 are expected to reduce mercury emissions.

Reclamation

Mining reclamation means restoring the land to its original or better condition. At Three Oaks, mining began in 2005, so implementation of land reclamation requirements spelled out in the permit is still in its infancy.

Revegetation begins with a temporary cover, currently being applied in mining areas A and B. The first permanent cover was planted in 2005 along FM 696. Permanent cover is typically a mixture of bermuda and native grasses.

Reclamation must support a variety of ecosystems. Luminant, the largest coal mining company in Texas, has had an Environmental Research Center since 1971.

Reclamation specialist James Birkhead was proud to announce the company recently won its fifth reclamation award from the federal Department of the Interior, making it the first mining company to win the award five times.
CONTACTS
For details about LCAP or its
meetings, contact the facilitator
at 800-484-9212 x 4127.
Visitors are welcome. Rockdale
residents may contact
CAP member John Hughes at
512-947-3191.


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