For the last six years, employees at Georgia Powers Plant Bowen, near Cartersville, have diligently worked to conserve water and reduce the amount of chemicals needed at the plant. Their efforts have resulted in conserving more than 132 million gallons of water, a reduction in the use of acids by more than 400,000 gallons, and saving some 365,000 gallons of sodium hydroxide each year. All this was done while saving Georgia Power nearly $365,000.
Gov. Roy Barnes recognized those efforts during the 2000 Governors Pollution Prevention Awards ceremony today at Georgia State University. Plant Bowen received an Honorable Mention award in the medium industry category.
The centerpiece of Plant Bowens conservation program was the installation of a reverse osmosis filtering system into the demineralization process. As part of the power production process, Plant Bowen treats water to remove mineral impurities, then heats the demineralized water into steam and forces it through turbines to generate electricity. In the water treatment process, build-up occurs in the demineralizer and must be removed by the acid/base rinse.
The new system significantly reduced the buildup. In fact, the cleaning of the system went from a daily occurrence to every 21 days, which greatly reduced the amount of chemicals needed. The filtering system also allowed the wastewater to be recycled.
Motivated by the success of the filter, plant employees then installed other recycling methods, including a new method for handling ash in a dry state, to further reduce the amount of water consumed each day at the plant.
The recycling systems have allowed Georgia Power to reduce the average daily waterwithdrawal from the Etowah River by approximately 30 percent over the last six years. This conservation effort has resulted in greater flows in the Etowah River, which have enhanced its recreational use and allowed for continued economic growth in the region.
Leadership from Plant Bowen has contributed to pollution prevention measures becoming a major part of the goals and operations at all Southern Company power plants.