Delaware’s Air Quality Threat: Know How Pollution Affects You
Despite improvements to our air quality, air pollution remains a pervasive public health threat. And even people with healthy lungs can suffer the effects.
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A Powerful Contributor
Delaware’s electric-generation facilities also are top contributors to in-state air pollution. According to DNREC’s latest emissions report, 79 percent of the state’s annual NOX emissions can be attributed to power plants, including NRG’s Indian River facility near Millsboro.
But recent improvements have drastically cut emissions from Indian River.
“We closed down two coal units, one in 2010 and another in 2011,” says David Gaier, NRG spokesman. “We invested $360 million in environmental controls on unit 4, on top of initial investments of about $50 million in controls on both units 3 and 4. Finally, we’ll close down unit 3 by the end of 2013.
“Taken together, these steps reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 91 percent, mercury by 90 percent and nitrogen oxides by 82 percent, and make the Indian River plant one of the cleanest coal plants in the country.”
The upgrades at Indian River were prompted by DNREC’s enactment of “regulation 1146” in 2006. Regulation 1146 set lower sulfur dioxide, NOX and mercury emissions limits for coal-fired and oil-fired power plants in Delaware.
NRG also recently converted its coal-fired plant in Dover to natural gas, reducing NOX emissions there by 92 percent.