Ga. Power opens lab to reduce water consumption

by Walter C. Jones, Morris News Service

alt

Georgia Power’s Water Research Center opened at Plant Bowen in Cartersville, Ga. 


The utility withdraws water from rivers near its power plants, and returns 90 percent of it back to those streams. But the amount that goes up the cooling towers in the form of steam is still tremendous. Other water is used in capturing emissions created in the burning of coal and natural gas, and that water has to be processed before it can be returned to streams as well.

That gives the company plenty of incentive to discover affordable ways to reduce water usage as the federal government begins the first wholesale revision of the 40-year-old Clean Water Act with the likely result of imposing tougher, more expensive regulations. Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers told the dignitaries and industry executives at the Nov. 19 opening ceremony in the shadow of the giant cooling towers that he supported the $12 million cost of equipping the new laboratory because the company is a good steward of natural resources.

"Why are we doing this? Because it's the right thing to do," he said.

Georgia Power put up half the cost, and the rest came from 14 other utilities and industry research foundations. Companies can sponsor projects with the understanding that the research results will be shared publicly unless they pony up extra. A joint committee will evaluate proposals — even those from Georgia Power — and decide what goes ahead based on likelihood of success and potential benefit in terms of costs or staying one step ahead of regulators.

"The goal of the Water Research Center is to engage everyone, academia, regulators of what we're doing, what the technologies are, where the weaknesses are, where the gaps are," said Jay Wos, water research manager for the Southern Research Institute, one of the largest partners in the center. "... You don't want to get in a situation where you do this, and (regulators) keep changing the rules — where they move the line, move the line, move the line, and the economics come in."

The center's scientists offered tours of the labs scattered around the colossal power plant, although most of the equipment still must be hooked up. Their enthusiasm was on display as well as the gadgets and gizmos.

"These are like toys for a water chemist," said Richard Breckinridge, the center's manager of water technology.



More Local

Main Street Newnan

‘Rio 2’ on big screen at park Friday

Main Street Newnan is holding its second Screen on the Green outdoor family movie Friday as part of August’s First Friday event, &ldqu ... Read More


Effort seeks support for ‘Common Law Grand Jury'

Citizens from across Georgia will be gathering in Ringgold today in an effort to have “Common Law Grand Juries” in each county. ... Read More


Roundabout proposed for Hwys. 54/16 intersection

A traffic roundabout is proposed to replace the four-way stop at the intersection of Georgia Highways 54 and 16 between the towns of Sharpsb ... Read More


Suspect in year-old Troup robbery arrested

By Wes Mayer wesley@newnan.com The man suspected of robbing a barbecue restaurant in LaGrange just more than a year ago has finally been arr ... Read More


Grantville seeks budget solutions

While media from metro Atlanta television outlets were in attendance for Monday’s city council meeting in Grantville about an expected ... Read More

Coweta schools welcome 101 new teachers

The Coweta County School System welcomed 101 new teachers at its annual new teacher orientation earlier this week. In his remarks to the new ... Read More