Geothermal/Air Quality

From Open Energy Information

Geothermal Air Quality

Air Quality
Present, Potentially Affected

  • BLM-NV-WN-ES-08-01-1310, NV-020-08-01 (Blue Mountain Geothermal Well Field and Power Plant EA)
  • Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission (Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission Project Environmental Impact Statement)
  • CA-96062042 (Fourmile Hill Geothermal Development Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) / Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Geothermal/Power Plant, Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Transmission)
  • DOE-EA-1621 (Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) Deep Geothermal Well and Power Plant Project EA at Klamath Falls Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • DOE-EA-1733 (Calpine Enhanced Geothermal Systems Project EA at Geysers Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Well Field)
  • DOE-EA-1759 (EA for Geothermal/Exploration at Southwest Alaska Regional Geothermal Energy Project Naknek, Alaska)
  • DOE-EA-1849 (EA for Northern Nevada Geothermal Power Plant Project at McGuinness Hills Geothermal Area)
  • DOI-BLM-CA-017-05-051 (Basalt Canyon Geothermal Pipeline Project Environmental Assessment and Draft Environmental Impact Report for Geothermal/Well Field)
  • DOI-BLM-CA-C050-2009-0005-EA (Engineered Geothermal Enhancement System Demonstration Project EA at Geysers Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Well Field)
  • DOI-BLM-CA-EA-2002-??? (Glass Mountain Exploration Environmental Assessment/Initial Study for Geothermal/Well Field)
  • DOI-BLM-CA-ES-2013-002+1793-EIS (Casa Diablo IV Geothermal Development Project EIS at Long Valley Caldera Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • DOI-BLM-ID-220-2009-EA-3709 (Raft River Geothermal Drilling Project EA for Geothermal/Exploration)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-063-EA08-091 (Jersey Valley and Buffalo Valley Geothermal Development Projects EA for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-B020-2011-0026-EA (Clayton Valley Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Drilling and Well Testing)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-B020-2012-0214-EA (Silver Peak Area Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Drilling and Well Testing for Geothermal/Exploration)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0006-EA (Gabbs Valley and Dead Horse Wells Geothermal Exploration Projects EA for Geothermal/Exploration)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0010-EA (EA at Coyote Canyon and Dixie Meadows for Geothermal/Exploration Drilling and Well Testing)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-0001-EA (Coyote Canyon Utilization Project EA for TGP for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-0501-EA (EA for Development Drilling and Well Testing at Patua Geothermal Project Phase II for Geothermal/Well Field)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2012-0051-EA (Coyote Canyon South Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Geothermal/Exploration)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-CC-ES-11-10-1793 (Salt Wells Geothermal Energy Projects EIS for Geothermal/Power Plant Development Drilling)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-CO10-2011-0501-EA (EA for Phase II Production Wells and Thermal Gradient Holes at Patua Geothermal Project for Geothermal/Well Field)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-W010-2010-0004-EA (New York Canyon Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Exploration Drilling and Well Testing)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-W010-2011-0001-EA (EA of the Leach Hot Springs Geothermal Exploration Project at Grass Valley Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Exploration, Geothermal/Well Field Drilling and Well Testing)
  • DOI-BLM-NV-W010–2012–0005–EA (EA for Development Drilling at New York Canyon Geothermal Utilization and Interconnect Project for Geothermal/Power Plant, Geothermal/Transmission, Geothermal/Well Field)
  • DOI-BLM-OR-P040-0021-EA (EA for Exploratory Wells at Midnight Point and Mahogany Geothermal Exploration Projects, Glass Buttes, Oregon for Geothermal/Exploration)
  • DOI-BLM-OR-V040-2009-0059-EA (Department of Energy Loan Guarantee for U.S. Geothermal's Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Facility in Vale, Oregon for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • DOI-BLM-UT-C010-2010-0042-EA (EA of Cove Fort/Sulphurdale Geothermal Utilization Plan for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • DOI-BLM-UT-W020-2009-0028-EA (EA for Thermal Gradient Holes at Drum Mountain Exploration Project for Geothermal/Exploration)
  • DOI-BLM-UT-W020-2010-042-EA (EA for Exploration and Development Drilling at Drum Mountain Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Exploration)
  • EA for Well Field Development at Patua Geothermal Area - DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-00016-EA (EA for Phase II of Patua Geothermal Project for Geothermal/Exploration, Geothermal/Well Field)
  • EA-NV-030-07-006 (EA for Exploration Drilling at Carson Lake Corral Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Well Field)
  • LLNV-WO1000-2009-0002-EA (EA for Observation Wells at Jersey Valley II Geothermal Exploration Project)
  • NV-020-03-26 (Desert Peak 2 Geothermal Project Environmental Assessment for Geothermal/Power Plant)
  • NV-020-07-EA-01 (EA for Observation Wells at Jersey Valley Geothermal Exploration Project for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Exploration)
  • NV-063-EA06-098 (Reese River Valley Geothermal Exploration Project Environmental Assessment)
  • NV-EA-030-07-05 (EA for Thermal Gradient Holes at Salt Wells for Geothermal/Exploration)

In the United States, air quality is regulated by the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) pursuant to the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. §7401 et seq.)

The Clean Air Act requires:

  • EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment. 42 U.S.C. §7409(a). The EPA has set primary and secondary NAAQS for six principal pollutants, called “criteria” pollutants. These “criteria” pollutants include ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and lead.
  • States to develop State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to attain and maintain the federally established NAAQS. 42 U.S.C. §7410. These plans are developed by state and local air quality management agencies and submitted to EPA for approval.
  • The EPA to regulate emissions of toxic air pollutants from certain industrial sources, referred to as “source categories.” 42 U.S.C. §7412.

The EPA has set National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) for all major sources of air toxics. 42 U.S.C. §7412. States may set their own toxic air pollutant standards, however they may not fall short of the federal standards. 42 U.S.C. §7412(d)(7).

Note: The National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) houses a database to find the city, county, state, and federal regulations and office contact information.

Air Quality Impacts & Mitigation

Hydrogen Sulfide: (H2S) is a hazardous and deadly chemical found in well testing. To find H2S saturation levels, measure the underground water temperature, how fast the water is flowing, and the pressure before testing a well. This information can predict the concentration and duration of H2S. Mitigation of this gas includes purchasing Stretford and LO-CAT systems to convert 99.9% of hydrogen sulfide into “elemental sulfur”. This element can then be sold as a supplement to fertilizer companies.

“Fugitive dust” or “gravel grinding”: This is often found during the construction phase of a project when heavy machinery is operated. The following practices mitigate dust and gravel :

  • Re-grade the dirt surface area and water down transportation areas.
  • Enforce an on-site speed limit, and reduce idle times to maximize equipment usage times.
  • Apply non-toxic soil stabilizers or hydro seed in areas of inactivity (10+ days).

Paint: The paint found on the exterior of pipes could contain VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) such as methylene chloride or paint fumes. To mitigate these fumes, ventilate the area before painting. Not all paint will pose long-term air quality threats. To best assess the situation, determine the duration, concentration, and chemical structure of the paint before citing it as a major source of air pollution.