Plains Escalante Generating Station - Executive Summary
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY |
Plains Escalante Generating Station (PEGS) is a coal fired power plant located in western New Mexico approximately four miles north of the village of Prewitt. The plant is currently owned and operated out of Albuquerque, NM by Plains Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Inc.. A planned merger between Plains Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Inc. and Tri-State G&T Association, Inc. will occur in 1999.
PEGS has been producing power for New Mexico and Arizona since 1984 using local low-sulfur coal. The coal is used as an energy source for creating steam from water. This steam propels the turbine generator, which then produces electricity. In addition to this process, water is utilized as a coolant for the power plant. In order to keep this water clean; various chemicals are used including Chlorine.
REGULATED SUBSTANCES HANDLED
Chlorine is used to disinfect and clean the water utilized in the steam generation pro
cess and in the cooling process. The processes in which chlorine is used are the water treatment facility and the cooling towers. PEGS has a maximum of five-2000 pound cylinders of liquid phase gas chlorine at any one time. Three are located at the water treatment process and two are located at the cooling tower process. At both locations, only one cylinder is valved into a single process a time.
FIVE-YEAR ACCIDENT HISTORY
Within the past five years, the processes at PEGS have had no accidental releases that caused off-site impact.
WORST-CASE RELEASE AND ALTERNATIVE RELEASE SCENARIO
Two perimeters of impact were determined using computer modeling required to estimate the potential effects of a chlorine release. No controls were taken into consideration for either model. The worst case scenario was the rupture of a one-ton container that lead to a liquid spill and subsequent vaporization. The meteorological conditions were set to mimic the worst possibility. The worst case
scenario estimated a radius of 3.0 miles around the accident. Within this radius are the adjacent McKinley Paper Company and a minimal population. The alternative release scenario was a vessel leak of the same rate as the worst case scenario, but under better meteorological conditions. The alternative release scenario estimated a radius of 0.60 miles around the accident. Although this radius does not encompass any residences, it still includes the McKinley Paper Company. Both the worst case and alternative scenarios are unlikely occurrences as the chlorine cylinders are designed to withstand accidental damage.
ACCIDENTAL RELEASE PREVENTION AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE POLICIES
If an accident occurs, the plant employees will not act as first responders, but rather will call the New Mexico State Police. The police will then call the McKinley County dispatcher who will send a local fire department response team.
Plains has adopted a corporate safety policy and is committed to safe
operation and protection of employees, visitors, and neighbors. PEGS has been in operation since 1984 and ahs had no accidents resulting in off-site consequences. The corporate safety policy is:
In the performance of its services, Plains is responsible for the promotion of safety among its employees, members, and the general public. The Board has an interest in providing for the safe working conditions of its employees. The General Manager/Executive Vice President is responsible for he implementation of the safety program including the provision of safety and job training, the maintenance of a safe working environment for the employees and the establishment of reasonable safeguards to protect public life and property
The General Manager/Executive Vice President is directed to formulate safety regulation s for the employees, to keep employees continuously informed of our regulations and to enforce the regulations vigorously.
Management is authorized to join and to work with loc
al, sate, and national safety groups whose aim is the prevention of accidents and improvement of work habits.
In those matters where an employee violates safety procedures, the employee perpetrating said violation shall be subject to disciplinary action or dismissal.
To help prevent releases, PEGS requires all employees who are involved with the Chlorine processes to train for each process and to follow prescribed procedures when working with each process.
PEGS is voluntarily complying with the OSHA PSM program to promote safety in the work place. PEGS also has and maintains an inspection and preventative maintenance program to insure the safety of all equipment.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE PROGRAM
The PEGS Emergency Response Program specifies that, in the event of an accidental release, which will be determined with the help of chlorine sensors located in the vicinity of each process, the employees will contact the New Mexico State Police and meet in a predetermined location for pers
onnel verification. It also specifies that all employees who work with the chlorine processes will be trained and the training will be documented and kept on file.
PEGS maintains a list of all residences and occupied structures within a three-mile radius. This list will be updated annually and made available to accident responders.
PLANNED CHANGES TO IMPROVE SAFETY
As a result of this RMP review, no physical changes to the chlorine systems are expected or required. Once the merger with TRI-States is completed, a review of the organizational structure is expected which may lead to changes affecting the chlorine processes.