NOTICE OF RECEIPT
PETITION TO AMEND THE ENERGY COMMISSION DECISION
for the LA PALOMA GENERATING PROJECT (98-AFC-2C)
TO ALLOW USE OF EITHER THE ZERO LIQUID DISCHARGE SYSTEM
OR NEW INJECTION WELLS FOR WASTEWATER DISCHARGE
On March 23, 2007, the California Energy Commission received a petition from the La Paloma Generating Company, LLC, requesting approval to amend the Energy Commission Decision for the La Paloma Generating Project (Project) to allow use of injection wells as the primary method of wastewater disposal and use of the zero liquid discharge (ZLD) system as a backup disposal option. The 1,124 megawatt project was certified in October 1999, and began commercial operations in January 2003. The power plant is located east of the community of McKittrick in Kern County.
During the siting process for the Project, the Energy Commission evaluated the use of either a ZLD system or injection wells to address wastewater disposal. Both systems were determined to address the impacts from the operation of the project, and Condition of Certification Soil & Water-4 allowed the project owner to select either technology. During the construction phase of the Project, the project owner notified Energy Commission staff that the ZLD system had been selected and construction of the ZLD system was completed. In August of 2001, after experiencing difficulties operating the Project with the ZLD system, the project owner requested approval from the Energy Commission to drill an injection well as a backup system for wastewater disposal. The request was approved by Energy Commission staff on August 24, 2000, and the project owner proceeded to drill the first injection well 600 feet due south of the project site, across Reserve Road. A 1,650-foot, 8-inch wastewater pipeline was constructed from the northeast section of the power plant site, crossing both Skyline Road and Reserve Road to the injection well site. The injection well was never used due to concerns raised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about the water quality in the Tulare formation injection zone (between 385 and 1,000 feet) and the lack of an identifiable confining zone above the injection zone.
DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED MODIFICATION
The project owner proposes drilling up to five injection wells, into the Olig Formation at a depth of over 4,000 feet, to act as the primary wastewater disposal method for the Project. The newly proposed injection wells would be supplied by the same 8-inch wastewater pipeline constructed for the original injection well. This petition would amend the Energy Commission Decision to allow for the use either of the wastewater disposal technologies as opposed to requiring the project owner to select only one of the systems. The project owner anticipates that one to two wells will be sufficient for wastewater disposal, with a third well to be used as a backup during maintenance of the other wells. The new wells would be located across Reserve Road from the power plant site, on the same parcel as the existing injection well. The location of the individual well pads would be determined in consultation with the Energy Commission staff to minimize impacts to environmental resources and any impacts would be mitigated as determined in the Commission Decision. The proposed use of injection wells would eliminate the current annual off-site disposal of approximately 285,000 gallons of brine due to inefficiencies in the ZLD system.
ENERGY COMMISSION REVIEW PROCEDURES
The purpose of the Energy Commission's review process is to assess the impacts of this proposal on environmental quality, and public health and safety. The review process includes an evaluation of the consistency of the proposed changes with the Energy Commission's Decision and if the project, as changed, will remain in compliance with applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards (Title 20, Calif. Code of Regulations, section 1769). Energy Commission staff is currently analyzing the request and will publish a staff analysis in the next few weeks. A public hearing for the purpose of approving or denying the amendment proposal will be held at the Energy Commission Business Meeting scheduled for May 23, 2007.
The petition to amend the Decision is available on the Energy Commission's website at www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/lapaloma/compliance/. The staff's analysis and the Commission Order (if approved) will also be posted on the website. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the petition or the Energy Commission's Order if this change is approved, please complete the enclosed Information Request Form and return it to the address shown.
If you have any comments or questions, please contact Christopher Meyer, Compliance Project Manager, at (916) 653-1639, or by fax to (916) 654-3882, or via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org within 14 days of the date of this notice.
For more information on how to participate in this proceeding, please contact the Energy Commission's Public Adviser's Office, at (916) 654-4489, or toll free in California at (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at email@example.com. If you require special accommodations, please contact Lourdes Quiroz at (916) 654-5146. News media inquiries should be directed to Assistant Director, Claudia Chandler, at (916) 654-4989, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Acrobat file, 1 pg)
Date Posted: March 29, 2007.
ROGER E. JOHNSON, Manager
Siting and Compliance Office
Energy Facilities Siting Division
Enclosure: Information Request Form
Mail List # 713