Gulf Power uses ECUA water

Press Release: Gulf Power using millions of gallons of reclaimed water from ECUA

Millions of gallons of reclaimed water now are flowing from ECUA to Gulf Power, affirming a partnership that is bringing cleaner air and water to Northwest Florida.

Gulf Power’s Plant Crist has started receiving up to 10 million gallons a day of reclaimed water from ECUA’s new Central Water Reclamation Facility through a four-mile pipeline connecting the two facilities in Cantonment. The water is being used for the scrubber system at Plant Crist and for generating electricity.

The scrubber system, which cost $645 million and started operating last December, reduces regulated air emissions from Plant Crist by more than 95 percent. And, because of the partnership, Gulf Power will reduce the amount of water it takes from the Escambia River by about 10 million gallons a day.

“We’re giving this reclaimed water a beneficial use while conserving a valuable natural resource,” said Sandy Sims, Gulf Power Public Affairs manager. “While our scrubber has been providing cleaner electricity for almost a year now, this innovative project shows how partners can work together to benefit our customers and the environment — with cleaner air and water.”

The partnership earned Gulf Power and ECUA a 2010 Sustainable Florida Best Practices Award from the Florida Collins Center for Public Policy.

Gulf Power eventually will use up to 17 million gallons a day of reclaimed water, of which more than 80 percent will be evaporated as part of the scrubber, cooling tower and plant operations.

The new ECUA facility eventually will replace the Main Street Wastewater Plant, which had been discharging up to 20 millions of gallons of effluent daily into Pensacola Bay, and stands in a coastal flood zone, vulnerable to storm surge. The new wastewater treatment plant is a zero discharge facility.

How it works:
The scrubber system uses a simple reaction to neutralize gases produced while generating electricity. Water cools the gases piped from the four generating units, which are then bubbled through a swirling bath of crushed limestone in the scrubber’s Jet Bubbling Reactor vessel.

1. Reclaimed water is piped from the ECUA facility to Plant Crist, where a network of pipes and pumps and water treatment systems divert water to the scrubber.

2. Water cools the gases from the four generating units, which are then bubbled through a swirling bath of crushed limestone in the scrubber’s Jet Bubbling Reactor vessel.

3. Sulfur dioxide gases react with limestone slurry and are neutralized, forming gypsum. The scrubber emissions are released through the stack, along with steam evaporated during cooling. Steam released through the scrubber stack is the most visible sign of the system at work.

4. The byproduct of the scrubber process is market-quality gypsum, which can be sold to cement or wallboard manufacturing companies.

5. More than 80 percent of the reclaimed water is evaporated. Most of the remaining water is treated at Plant Crist and piped back to ECUA facility for spray-field application, and a small portion is treated and injected into a sealed deep well in a saline aquifer.

The scrubber system is only the latest in a series of Gulf Power environmental projects.

* Gulf Power is partnering with Escambia County to operate a landfill gas-to-energy facility at Perdido Landfill, producing a capacity of 3,200 kilowatts of renewable energy.
* In 2005, Gulf Power opened the Mercury Research Center, a first-of-its kind facility to provide advanced research in mercury detection and control technology.
* Gulf Power installed systems to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions at Plant Crist, and recently on both coal-fired units at Plant Smith, near Panama City earlier this year.
* In 2009, Gulf Power began operating a meteorological tower on Navarre Beach, which will be used to research viability of wind energy and provide wind data used in the science curriculum for Santa Rosa County schools.