Environmental Consulting & Engineering Services - from Concept to Reality
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ESS provided environmental engineering and consulting services to support development and construction of Burgess BioPower, a 75 MW energy project that is repurposing a former pulp mill on a brownfield site in Berlin, New Hampshire. The power plant is a state-of-the-art facility, which can use wood chips and other clean, low-grade renewable biomass materials as fuel, making it among the largest and most environmentally advanced biomass energy generation facilities in the United States.
ESS and the Project development team implemented a comprehensive environmental permitting strategy for the facility. This permitting plan identified all applicable environmental concerns and constraints upfront so they could be considered and addressed during project siting and conceptual design. Effective reuse of the existing facility infrastructure and management of disturbed soils, groundwater, and stormwater on the brownfields site were essential to project success.
ESS performed numerous technical studies to address regulatory requirements for air quality, wetlands and shoreland protection, redevelopment on a brownfield property, water supply, wastewater, stormwater, noise, traffic, materials storage and management, and overall facility operations. Air emissions and dispersion modelling, predictive noise impacts modelling, and visual simulations of the new 300-foot cooling tower were of particular importance in community reviews of the project.
ESS developed concept plans, preliminary civil/site design, and engineering plans. Working closely with the City of Berlin, ESS and the Project team developed a mutually beneficial layout for re-use of the existing site that mitigated potential environmental impacts to the greatest extent practicable. ESS also engineered cost-effective solutions for stormwater management during construction and long term operation, an important component of site design given the project’s location on the Androscoggin River.
ESS prepared permit documents and provided expert testimony to the New Hampshire Energy Facility Site Evaluation Committee (NHEFSEC) and obtained additional permits from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) not included in the comprehensive energy facility siting process. The permitting effort included numerous meetings with state and local officials to discuss construction and operating impacts and develop mitigation strategies. The EFSEC permit application was submitted in December 2009; conditional approval was granted in November 2010.
ESS provided on-site environmental compliance and monitoring services and assisted with soil characterization and management for 24 months during Project construction. These services ensured that construction complied with the project’s NHDES Alteration of Terrain and Shoreline Permits, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction General Permit, NPDES Remediation General Permit, and NHDES Waste Management Division regulations.
Burgess BioPower was successfully completed in late 2013 and began commercial operation in May 2014. Permitting was completed in just over 12 months with support of the local community thanks to upfront identification and quantitative assessment of potential environmental impacts. The plant is a certified renewable energy facility that features state-of-the-art air emissions controls. ESS continues to provide regulatory reporting and monitoring support to ensure ongoing environmental compliance.