[NEWS] Gainesville, FL Biomass Facility Spills 9,000 Gallons of Wastewater
– October 3, 2016, Gainesville Sun
The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center, or GREC, announced late Monday afternoon that it accidentally discharged some 9,000 gallons of industrial-process water onto the ground.
The water, which contained a higher concentration of minerals than the water the plant uses to make power, spilled because of a power outage that led to an equipment failure at the biomass plant, according to a report by Alachua County’s Environmental Protection Department.
The 9,225 gallons would ordinarily have been pumped to a cooling tower basin, but instead mostly flowed to a storm water retention pond, company officials said.
GREC Plant Engineer Ali Leaphart told the Sun Monday evening the water posed no public health threat.
“There’s nothing in it that you wouldn’t find in groundwater or water that comes from your tap,” she said.
The spill did not leave the GREC property at 11201 NW 13th St., officials said.
The spill was discovered at 10 p.m. Sept. 29, the evening before Gainesville Regional Utilities switched back to biomass power following a major equipment failure at the city’s next-door Deerhaven coal-burning plant. GRU officials alerted the biomass plant Wednesday night that the plant needed to be brought online quickly, Leaphart said.
The governor’s new rules for entities in Florida to quickly report any incidents that might affect the environment led GREC officials to announce the spill, she said.