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Air Quality Permitting of New DC Water Biosolids Projects

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The Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (AWTP) located in Southwest Washington, D.C. is a 370 million gallon per day average flow municipal treatment plant that processes wastewater from Washington, D.C. and parts of the suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. The plant is owned and operated by the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). As part of the new Biosolids Management Program (BMP), DC Water has embarked on a 407 million design, construction, and commissioning of new biosolids handling facilities comprised of Main Process Train (MPT), Combined Heat & Power (CHP) and Final Dewatering Facility (FDF). The MPT project will be comprised of the Thermal Hydrolysis Process (THP) which will reduce the quantity of solids hauled offsite, produce Class A pathogen;amp;#x2013;free biosolids and generate a renewable fuel in the form of digester gas. The CHP component of the BMP will use digester gas and/or natural gas in some combination to fire combustion gas turbines to generate about 13 MW of electric power. Heat from the gas turbine exhaust gases will be recovered in Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs) that will supply steam for the THP. The FDF include a new belt filter press system to mechanically dewater the Class A, thermally hydrolyzed-digested biosolids.

The Washington, DC metropolitan area was reclassified from a serious to a severe ozone non-attainment area in 2003. Under the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR), the District Department of the Environment Air Quality Division (DDOE) is the responsible agency for undertaking the State Implementation Plans (SIPs) in Washington DC area. Both federal regulations and the DCMR apply to the MPT, CHP and FDF projects for air quality permitting. Since the DC Water had already submitted Title V application, it is anticipated that the Title V will be amended after the approval of the air quality permit application. The DC Water estimated that the new biosolids projects will constitute a major source for nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and Non attainment New Source Review (NNSR) threshold will be triggered. Since the RFPs for the MPT and FDF projects are already issued and the RFP for the CHP project is already underway, securing the Permit to Construct (PTC) in a timely fashion is crucial to meet the schedule and budget requirements of the projects under the BMP.

DC Water is requesting a permit to construct from the DDOE not later than June 2011 to avoid delays in construction of the Biosolids Projects. This is in concert with DC Water's goal to improve the air quality and environment while complying with the Federal Regulations and the DCMR. Since DC Water is concerned about handling potential project changes during permitting, the permitting team developed conceptual permitting pathways to handle potential project changes during permitting process. It is anticipated that as designs are refined later during preliminary and final design stages of the MPT and the CHP projects, the Potential to Emit (PTE) estimates that will be included in the Permit to Operate (PTO) application are likely to come down. This will be in concert with DC Water's goal to improve the air quality and environment while complying with the Federal regulations and the DCMR.

Keywords: Air quality permitting; DC Water

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-01-01

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