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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: December 21, 2010
CONTACT: Pam Monroe, 603 271-0882

PSNH Agrees to Pay Fines for Air Pollution Violations

Concord, NH – Commissioner Thomas S. Burack of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) announced today the execution of an Administrative Fine by Consent agreement with Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) for Schiller Station, an electricity generating power station in Portsmouth, NH. The fines resolve alleged violations of the State’s Air Pollution Control Act that occurred at the facility.

The PSNH generating station has three units. In 2005, an existing 50-megawatt coal-fired boiler was replaced with a 50-megawatt wood-fired fluidized bed boiler with coal firing capability, also known as the Northern Wood Power Project. The federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permit for that unit (“Unit #5”) contains emission limits for various air pollutants, including particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. PSNH operates a baghouse with fabric filters for control of particulate matter, a limestone injection system for control of sulfur dioxide and acid gases, and a selective non-catalytic reduction unit for control of nitrogen oxide emissions. Among other things, the PSD permit requires PSNH to conduct annual stack emissions testing to ensure that Unit #5 meets the limits in the PSD permit.

Under the terms of the agreement, PSNH has paid administrative fines totaling $53,000 to the State for alleged violations of its air permit. The fines resolve allegations by DES that violations occurred when stack test results demonstrated that Unit #5 exceeded the particulate matter emission limit. After determining the cause of the problem and performing maintenance, PSNH conducted another stack test, which demonstrated that emissions were subsequently in compliance with the particulate matter emission limit. Both stack tests were observed by DES staff. In settling this case, DES took into account PSNH’s positive environmental compliance history, its cooperation in this matter, and the efforts it took to identify and correct the root cause of the problem in a timely manner.

For information on this settlement, contact Pam Monroe, DES Compliance Bureau Administrator, at 271-0882.

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