HATTIESBURG — South Mississippi Electric Power Association’s (SMEPA’s) plant in Purvis has begun a $62-million environmental upgrade project.
Local officials and Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) gathered last Thursday for the project’s groundbreaking at R.D Morrow Generating Station, according to the Hattiesburg American.
SMEPA serves 11 electric power associations that deliver electricity to more than 400,000 homes and businesses in 56 counties in the state.
The project will create 125 construction jobs and pump an estimated $7.5 million in construction payroll into the economy. It’s scheduled to be completed next summer.
The emission control system upgrades will replace existing scrubbers — an environmental control device — that reduces airborne power plant emissions.
Scrubbers use the calcium in limestone to react with and remove sulfur dioxide from the exhaust gas that leaves Plant Morrow’s boilers, said Kurt Brautigam, communication and member services director for SMEPA.
Scrubbers now scrub 62 percent of flue gas, which is exhaust gas from furnaces, and remove sulfur dioxide from exhaust gas that leaves the plant’s boilers.
The upgrade scrubbers will scrub 100 percent of flue gas with a 98 percent removal of sulfur dioxide. Brautigam said sulfur dioxide is a primary cause of acid rain.
“Another big benefit of the plan is that part of this process includes updating viable equipment in the plant,” Nathan Brown, SMEPA chief operating officer, said. “We are continually working to keep our units viable and meet our members needs.”
Built in 1978, the plant employs around 100 and generates enough electricity each year to fully power 146,000 homes.