Brayton Point Energy Penalized $11,212.50 by MassDEP for Air Quality Violations at Somerset Power Plant in 2012-2013
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized Brayton Point Energy, LLC, formerly Dominion Energy, $11,212.50 for repeated air quality violations that occurred at the electric-generating power plant in Somerset over a span of seven months. A review of the plant's records indicated that opacity limits were exceeded nine times between June 23, 2012 and January 23, 2013.
"Under the plant's operating permit and amendments, the owners must operate continuously and effectively within established permit levels," said Phil Weinberg, director of MassDEP's Southeast Regional Office in Lakeville, "and MassDEP will ensure that the plant does so and corrects any problems that might arise."
An opacity violation, or visible emission, is evidence that fine particles, smoke or other air pollutants has occurred either due to insufficient combustion, inadequate filtration or other operating malfunction.
The violations were discovered during an investigation that began during an August 8, 2012 inspection of the plant and a subsequent review of the facility's records. The Brayton Point Energy facility is equipped with continuous emission monitors and continuous opacity monitors to record and log data about the plant's emissions. The data revealed violations on June 23 (twice) and July 18, 2012. Also, during the investigation that followed the plant inspection, the facility recorded additional violations on August 15, October 28 and December 4, 2012, as well as on January 4 (twice) and 23, 2013.
In addition to the penalty, Brayton Point Energy is required to propose improvements to its operations and maintenance plan, focusing on what efforts the company will make to mitigate future opacity violations. Within 45 days, the company must submit to MassDEP a verifiable plan to return to compliance, including corrective steps the company has already taken, or will take to address the violations. All corrective steps must be implemented within 90 days of the plan approval.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.