COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 8, 2002 — American Electric Power (AEP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ohio EPA (OEPA) have agreed on the comprehensive testing, monitoring and reporting schedule the company will employ to evaluate the effectiveness of the company’s program to reduce sulfur aerosol emissions from the Gen. James M. Gavin power plant in southeastern Ohio.
“We are entering into a voluntary cooperative agreement with U.S. EPA and OEPA that provides for extensive monitoring of ambient air quality and frequent testing of stack emissions at Gavin during the operation of the Unit 2 SCR beginning next month and continuing through the summer,” said Dale E. Heydlauff, AEP’s senior vice president of environmental affairs. “This agreement allows us to collect and share information on a timely basis as we deploy the full-scale mitigation systems and demonstrate their successful operation.”
Heydlauff confirmed that the recently announced acquisition of land in the community of Cheshire will not affect the company’s decision to move forward with the planned mitigation program. “It has always been our intention to fix the problem.”
He also emphasized that at no time during the plant’s operation did measured air quality exceed any health-based standards or permissible exposure limits established by federal or state regulations. In fact, the emission levels were well below these limits. AEP plans to use the property to enhance the operations at the Gavin Plant.
The company and the agencies developed the agreement to address changes in the exhaust plume from the plant’s two 830-foot-high stacks. The same mechanism used in the SCR systems to reduce nitrogen oxides produced a small increase in the level of sulfur trioxide (SO3), which can appear as a bluish or brown haze under certain weather conditions.
Company officials have worked closely with federal and state environmental agencies to understand the cause of the phenomenon and develop a plan to mitigate it.
As announced earlier this year, the company will install three separate injection systems at a cost of approximately $7 million on Gavin’s Unit 2. The systems will inject water, magnesium hydroxide and calcium hydroxide at specific points along the combustion and emission control path to produce the chemical changes required to reduce the SO3 levels. The systems will be completed in May. Flue gases from Unit 1 will bypass its SCR system during the upcoming May-September ozone season.
Among other elements of the agreement:
* AEP will perform mass particulate matter (PM) and sulfuric acid (H2SO4) stack testing on Unit No. 2 beginning two weeks after the SCR begins operations. The stack tests will be repeated three other times during SCR operations at Unit No. 2 during 2002.
* AEP will collect ambient air samples for H2SO4 for a one-hour duration, four times per day, five days per week. The sampling will include a location where the plume is mostly likely to have the greatest impact — based on visual observation of the plume.
* AEP will install and continuously operate and maintain an SO2 ambient air monitor at a site approved by USEPA and Ohio EPA. The company will operate the monitor at least through October 31, 2002.
* AEP will assume responsibility for providing various data reports outlined in the agreement on weekly and/or semi-monthly schedules.
* The company will be prepared to take additional short-term measures to mitigate SO3 emissions if at any time the data indicates that emissions from the Gavin units during SCR operations do not meet the standards applicable to the plant under the Clean Air Act and/or the approved Ohio State Implementation Plan (SIP).
Gavin is a two-unit, 2,600-megawatt power plant, capable of generating enough electricity to power 2.6 million average homes.
American Electric Power is a multinational energy company with a balanced portfolio of energy assets. AEP, the United States’ largest electricity generator, owns and operates more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. and select international markets. AEP is a wholesale energy marketer, ranking among North America’s top providers of wholesale power and natural gas with a growing wholesale presence in European markets. In addition to electricity generation, AEP owns and operates natural gas pipeline systems, natural gas storage, coal mines, and the fourth-largest inland barge company in the U.S. AEP is also one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with almost 5 million customers linked to AEP’s wires. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio.
News releases and other information about AEP can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.aep.com .