Wet Flue Gas Cleaning Blowdown Subcategory

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Depending on the fossil fuel sulfur content, an SO2-scrubber may be required to remove sulfur emissions in the flue gases. These scrubbing systems result in a variety of liquid waste streams depending on the type of process used. In all of the existing FGD (flue gas desulfurization) systems, the main task of absorbing SO2 from the stack gases is accomplished by scrubbing the existing gases with an alkaline slurry. This may be preceded by partial removal of fly ash fromthe stack gases. Existing FGD processes may be divided into two categories: nonregenerable FGD processes include lime, limestone, and lime/limestone combination, and double alkali systems.

In the lime or limestone FGD process, SO2 is removed from the flue gas by wet scrubbing with a slurry of calcium oxide or calcium carbonate [3]. The waste solid product is disposed by ponding or landfill. The clear liquid product can be recycled.

Many of the lime or limestone systems discharge scrubber waters to control dissolved solids levels.

A number of processes can be considered double alkali processes, but most developmental work has emphasized sodium-based systems, which use lime for regeneration. This system pretreats the flue gas in a prescrubber to cool and humidify the gas and to reduce fly ash and chlorides. The gas passes through an absorption tower where SO2 is removed into a scrubbing solution, which is subsequently regenerated with lime or limestone in a reaction tank.

The disadvantage of all nonregenerable systems is the production of large amounts of throwaway sludges. Onsite disposal is usually performed by sending the waste solids to a settling pond. The supernatant from the ponds may be recycled; however, according to 308 data, 82% of the plants with FGD systems discharged the supernatant into surface waters.


32.3.1 Characterization

Wastewater produced by a steam electric power plant can result from a number of operations at the site. Many wastewaters are discharged more or less continuously as long as the plant is operating. These include wastewaters from the following sources: cooling water systems, ash handling systems, wet-scrubber air pollution control systems, and boiler blowdown. Some wastes are produced at regular intervals, as in water treatment operations that include a cleaning or regenerative step as part of their cycle (ion exchange, filtration, clarification, evaporation). Other wastes are also produced intermittently but are generally associated with either the shutdown or startup of a boiler or generating unit such as during boiler cleaning (water side), boiler cleaning (fire side), air preheater cleaning, cooling tower basin cleaning, and cleaning of miscellaneous small equipment. Additional wastes exist that are essentially unrelated to production. These depend on meteorological or other factors. Rainfall runoff, for example, causes drainage from coal piles, ash piles, floor and yard drains, and from construction activity. A diagram indicating potential sources of wastewaters containing chemical pollutants in a coal-fueled steam electric power plant is shown in Figure 1.

Data on wastestream characteristics presented in this section are based on the results of screening sampling carried out at eight plants, verification sampling carried out at 18 plants, and periodic surveillance and analysis sampling carried out as part of compliance monitoring at eight plants. These data were stored on a computerized data file [1]. All waste streams discussed in this chapter were analyzed during the screening program, while the verification program focused on the following waste streams: once-through cooling water, cooling tower blowdown, and ash handling waters. The wastewater characteristics of the various waste streams are discussed in the following sections. Where they are available, only verification data are presented. Where verification data are limited or not available, screening and/or surveillance and analysis data are presented. The data source is clearly indicated in each table and in the text.

The following is a summary of all priority pollutants detected in any of the waste streams from steam electric power plants:

• Chlorobenzene

• 2-Chloronaphthalene

• Chloroform

• 2-Chlorophenol

• 1,2-Dichlorobenzene

• 1,4-Dichlorobenzene

• 1,1 -Dichloroethylene

• 1,2-iraws-Dichloroethylene

• 2,4-Dichiorophenol

Stream Power Source Electric
Figure 1 Potential sources of wastewater in a stream electric power generation plant. (Courtesy of USEPA.)

• Ethylbenzene

• Methylene chloride

• Dichlorobromomethane

• Trichlorofluoromethane

• Chlorodibromomethane

• Nitrobenzene

• Pentachlorophenol

• Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate

• Butyl benzyl phthalate

• Diethyl phthalate

• Dimethyl phthalate

• Tetrachloroethylene

• Trichloroethylene

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