Allliant Riverside Generating Station

Lower Costs and Add Sustainability by Optimizing Power Plant Water Management

Comprehensive Water Compliance and Management

Examining your facility’s water use to optimize processes inside the plant.

Take a look at your water processes from the inside out and a lot could be gained. Traditionally, focus has been placed on what comes into or what leaves the plant, because that’s how water usage and water quality is typically monitored. Shifting the focus to how water is used in your operations has the potential to bring significant benefits. 

  • Lower operational costs (chemical usage, electricity, labor, raw cost of water)
  • Lower water use or wastewater production
  • Sustainable approach
  • Community support
  • Regulatory compliance

As someone who worked on the client-side of this equation for 28 years, I know how much every dollar spent or saved can mean. So the potential for significant cost savings has really driven my interest in looking at options for rethinking how water used inside the plant. Often simply by optimizing processes, deeply considering which chemicals you add, and recycling or reusing different wastewater streams in other processes you can achieve significant benefits: cost savings, avoiding capital expenditures on treatment equipment, and gaining sustainability points. 

When it comes to the question of regulatory compliance, all plants are subject to the requirements of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, and these can result in very different requirements for constituents and chemicals at the local or state level. 

For instance, in the Great Lakes Region, discharge limitations on nutrients — particularly phosphorus — are becoming increasingly stringent. For most facilities, the first thought is: “Now I need to add a treatment system to remove phosphorous from my wastewater prior to discharging it.” By taking a closer look at plant processes and examining where phosphorous is added or concentrated in the plant, you may be able to identify more creative and cost-effective means to meet a tighter phosphorous discharge requirement.

Add that to different quality makeup water sources, different cooling mechanisms, varying plant configurations, and a multitude of other factors, and each plant depicts a unique situation. 

Finding the optimal solution at your facility takes hands-on evaluation from water and power experts together. It’s critical to understand the impacts on both elements of your operations in order to make the right choice. 

It might be tough to envision this approach at your facility. Taking a walk-through with a couple of our engineers to get the ideas flowing is a great place to start.