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By JENNIFER RAYMOND
The price of cleaner air in Roane County will come in a billowing white cloud.
It’s part of the newest scrubber project for the Kingston Fossil Plant, which offiicials say is moving along as scheduled.
Rick Christensen, scrubber manager, said the project involves the construction of two scrubber towers to remove sulfur dioxide emissions — a major source of pollution from the plant.
The first scrubber will be online by the middle of November 2009, with the second following about five months later.
“We’re two years away from firing this thing up,” Christensen said.
The project is designed to help ease air pollution, which is created by the burning of coal at the plant.
According to Robert Rehberg, maintenance manager, the installation of the new scrubbers would remove about 98 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions.
One change residents may notice once the scrubbers are operating is a white plume coming from the towers.
“People are going to go from not seeing anything, or very little, to seeing a white, billowy cloud,” Christen-sen said.
But Christensen said not to worry — the cloud is simply water vapor and a sign of clean stack emissions.
An unexpected benefit of this project is that mercury emissions will also be reduced by about 80 percent, Rehberg said.
“This is the best available control technology for all these constituents,” he said.
“This is the best technology to meet TVA’s clean air standards,” added Gil Francis, a spokesman for the Tennessee Valley Authority.
The project will also involves the creating of one or two, gypsum collection ponds, which will cover 125 acres on the west bank of the penin-sula on Clinch River and Watts Bar Lake.
“When you add a scrubber, there is a chemical reaction that creates gypsum,” Francis said.
Gypsum is a slurry-like material that can be used for wallboard and concrete.
About 560,000 tons of gypsum will be produced per year at the plant.
It will be pumped out and sent to the pond where TVA officials say it can be stacked in landfills for 25 to 30 years.
Residents concerned with the project distorting their views have nothing to worry about, according to Christensen — least not for 15 years or so.
“A 50-feet barrier of trees will remain” on the waterfront, Christensen said.
After several years, the pond may reach above the tree line and people will then be able to see the site.
“You aren’t really going to see much of a change in the view, but you will be able to see the elevation of gypsum,” Francis said.
However, TVA is trying to find a market to be able to sell the gypsum.
“If we can sell it, you won’t even see a containment area,” Christensen said.
Kingston and Bull Run fossil plants will be joining efforts to try and market the gypsum.
“Between Kingston and Bull Run, it would be enough to support a company that produces sheet rock,” Christensen said.