The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on March 2 announced it has issued to Birdsboro Power LLC, DTE Midstream Appalachia, LLC, and the Reading Area Water Authority the permits necessary for the construction of a 450 mega-watt natural gas-fired Birdsboro Power electrical generation facility, on the site of the former Birdsboro Army Tank Foundry/Armorcast facility.
Those permits cover the construction of the main power generation facility, an electric transmission line to convey generated power, a pipeline to supply the facility with water and a pipeline to convey natural gas to the facility, which is also regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
“The permit applications for a project of this magnitude require the DEP staff and the Berks County Conservation District to dedicate a great amount of time and effort to the review process,” said DEP South-central Regional Director Joe Adams. “After a thorough and rigorous technical review, it has been determined that the applications meet the stringent regulatory requirements necessary to enable this project to move forward.”
The permits and modification issued include:
• Chapter 105 – Water Obstruction and Encroachment Permits: Required for proposed activities located in, along, across or projecting into a watercourse, floodway or body of water, including wetlands. For this project, the majority of the proposed activities are associated with crossings of wetlands, streams and floodways.
• Chapter 102 – Erosion & Sediment Control General Permit (ESCGP-2): Required for earth disturbances associated with oil and gas exploration, production, processing or treatment operations or transmission facilities when earth disturbance is five acres or greater.
• Chapter 102 – Modification to a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction General Permit (PAG-02): Required for construction-related earth disturbances of one acre or more.
• Safe Drinking Water Permits – Required for the upgrades to the existing Reading Area Water Authority booster pumping station and construction of the transmission main to extend service to the facility.
DEP conducted a public hearing in November 2017 and considered all public comments during the review process.
DEP also issued state water quality certification to DTE for the proposed natural gas transmission pipeline as part of DTE’s application to FERC for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.
DEP had previously issued an Air Quality Plan Approval for this facility in March 2016, and extended it in September 2017. The plan approval contains terms and conditions to ensure that the sources are constructed and operated in compliance with applicable requirements in the Air Pollution Control Act, the Federal Clean Air Act and regulations adopted under the Federal Clean Air Act. The Berks County Conservation District had also previously issued a NPDES PAG-02 for the construction of the power plant in December 2015.