Environmental Permitting for Baseload Coal-Fired Units

Location: Sussex and Dendron, Va.

Client: Old Dominion Electric Cooperative

Completion Date: Ongoing

Burns & McDonnell is providing environmental permitting and licensing services for a new coal-fired power plant for Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) at two potential sites. Burns & McDonnell is also providing public relations and public engagement support and counsel in all aspects of the project. As currently proposed, the plant will fire up to 2 percent biomass fuel. The primary site is near Dendron, Va., and the alternate site is in Sussex County, Va. The current focus of the support efforts are for the actual power plant site and the associated 15-mile water supply/discharge pipeline and 10-mile railroad spur.

If the alternate site is eventually selected for development, additional permitting efforts will be pursued. The preliminary efforts currently are focused upon performing due diligence field surveys to accurately categorize what qualities exist on the site and the potential impacts that the proposed power plant footprint would have on those resources. The associated 30-mile water supply/discharge pipeline and adjacent railroad spur that would need to be constructed to the project site will also eventually be part of those future efforts.

The critical services for the project site include the preparation the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) air permit application to be submitted to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ), the preparation and submission of other environmental permits/clearances for the project site, and the routing and permitting of the associated railroad spur and water supply/discharge pipeline route from the James River to the project location. All services are being completed with sensitivity to public perceptions and concerns.

Burns & McDonnell completed field surveys and studies for the project including: discharge plume modeling, noise studies, traffic studies, habitat surveys, cultural resources surveys, and wetland surveys. ODEC will use these surveys and studies as technical reports in support of the lead federal agency's efforts to generate the required National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation (an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement). Other services associated with the project include data collection from local municipalities, preparation of figures using GIS, water pipeline routing, railroad routing, natural resources analysis, and preparation of the environmental permit applications.

  • Air permitting
  • Cultural resources survey
  • Discharge plume mapping and modeling
  • Environmental site assessment
  • FAA/VDOT notifications
  • Geotechnical services
  • GIS services
  • Habitat survey
  • Noise monitoring and modeling
  • Public involvement 
  • Pit/trench dewatering permit
  • River basin water loss approval
  • Section 10 permit
  • Section 404 permit
  • Section 401 certification
  • Stormwater management plans
  • Threatened and endangered species clearance
  • Traffic impact analysis
  • Water pipeline routing study
  • Wetland surveys
  • VPDES construction permit
  • VPDES industrial discharge permit

PSD air permit applications for the preferred site will be prepared by Burns & McDonnell and include air dispersion modeling, agency consultation and permit application preparation. A detailed Best Available Control Technology analysis will be prepared. Burns & McDonnell will also perform Class I and Class II area air quality analyses to determine potential emission impacts from the proposed sources.

Other permitting services associated with the project include a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, Federal Aviation Administration/Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) notifications, high-capacity dewatering well permits, hydrostatic discharge permits, pit/trench dewatering permits, Section 10 permit, Section 404 permits, Section 401 certifications, Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) industrial discharge permits, and VPDES construction permits. Plume modeling to provide potential impacts from the on-site cooling water tower plumes as well as using CORMIX to model the water pipeline effluent discharge into the James River will also be performed.

Burns & McDonnell will perform a water pipeline routing study to identify the most preferred route to the proposed water supply source, the James River. In conjunction with the routing study, Burns & McDonnell will prepare the land use permit application and required plans for submittal to VDOT.

Burns & McDonnell will also perform a routing study to identify the most preferred route to the project site for a new railroad spur to provide solid fuel. This will include a series of public meetings to gather public concerns and gauge issues related to the final route selection. In conjunction with the routing study, Burns & McDonnell will prepare the land use permit application and required plans for submittal to VDOT, as well as all the other necessary due diligence permit efforts and clearances (wetland permit, transportation and export clearances, cultural resource clearances, etc.).