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Army Air Quality Upgrade at Fort Wainwright Reduces Air Pollutants by 800 Tons a Year

Release Date: 4/11/2005
Contact Information: John Pavitt
(907) 271-3688

April 11, 2005

EPA Calls Fort’s Power Plant Emissions Reduction “Dramatic”

Thanks to recently-installed pollution controls at the U.S. Army’s Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska, at least 800 tons of particulate matter will be captured rather than released to the atmosphere around the facility. Particulate matter is the generic term for the coarse particles - from sources such as wind blown dust and unpaved roads - and fine particles - those from industrial fuel combustion and vehicle exhaust closely linked to respiratory disease.

The Fort’s investment of close to $20 million in the pollution control project was part of a multi-million dollar settlement reached with EPA in 1999. An EPA complaint accused the Army of years of major violations of the federal Clean Air Act at its Fort Wainwright installation in Alaska.

According to Marcia Combes, EPA Alaska Operations Director in Anchorage, the Fort’s new equipment translates directly into cleaner air for Fairbanks.
"By upgrading their power plant, the Army has come to terms with a long-standing local air quality challenge,” said Combes. “Test results have demonstrated a dramatic drop in particulate matter which is great news for Fairbanks. We look forward to working with the base in the future to maintain this high level of performance."

The Fort Wainwright Central Heat and Power Plant (CHHP) burns 300 tons of coal per day in the summer and up to 1200 tons a day in the winter. Most of the violations in the EPA's 1999 complaint occurred at the facility’s CHPP which operates coal-fired boilers originally constructed in the 1950s. Fort Wainwright operates six coal-fired boilers that are part of the largest coal-fired power plant operated by the U.S. military in the world.

For years, the plant has self-reported violations of State opacity limits, often numbering in the hundreds of violations per month. With the upgrade, the Fort is now able to comply with the limits.

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