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Columbia power plant plans to upgrade boiler, cut pollutants

Monday, February 3, 2014 | 8:12 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The Municipal Power Plant is planning to upgrade its natural gas boiler to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, a smog-producing pollutant.

Right now, two of the power plant's boilers burn coal and one burns natural gas. The natural gas boiler was installed in 1970.

Although burning natural gas produces less nitrogen oxides than burning coal, the upgrade would help the power plant comply with the EPA's proposed rules to limit emissions.

"This maximizes the utility of the boiler within emission regulations," Power Production Superintendent Christian Johanningmeier said.

The upgrade would cost about $2.5 million, but an engineering firm still needs to work out the details, said Connie Kacprowicz, the Communication and Marketing Supervisor for the Columbia Water and Light Department.

The upgrade would also extend the boiler's lifespan, she said.

Replacing a boiler could cost more than $100 million, Johanningmeier said.

Johanningmeier said he thinks the construction on the project will start in early 2015 and take about a year. The project would be funded through electric utility rates.


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