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Athens Generating Company, L.P.

January 19, 2000


Applicant: Athens Generating Company, L.P., (PG&E Generating) One Bowdoin Square, Boston, Massachusetts 02114-2090

Application Number: DEC # 4-1922-00055/00001; SPDES # NY-0261009; PSC Case # 97-F-1563

Project Description: The Applicant, Athens Generating Company, L.P., has applied for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need under Article X of the NYS Public Service Law so that it may construct and operate a state-of-the-art, high efficiency, combined cycle Energy Facility consisting of three Westinghouse 501 G (or equivalent) advanced combustion turbine generators (CTG), three heat recovery steam generators (HRSG), three steam turbine generators (STG) and associated balance-of-plant systems and facilities. The nominal electric generating capacity of the Energy Facility will be approximately 1,080 megawatts (MW).

NOTICE is hereby given pursuant to Section 17-0823 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), that Athens Generating Company, L.P. (AGC), has filed with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), an application for a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) wastewater discharge permit, a request for certification that its proposed intake will constitute the best technology available for its proposed cooling water intake facility, and a request for certification that its discharges will comply with the applicable provisions of Sections 301, 302, 303, 306 and 307 of the Federal Clean Water Act. The application covering the discharges that would result from the operation of this facility was made on August 28, 1998 and was filed in accordance with the Article X Regulations adopted by the NYS Public Service Siting Board, and is consistent with the requirements of Sections 402 and 316(b) of the Federal Clean Water Act for discharges from, and cooling water intake facilities for, new steam electric generating facilities.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has the authority to issue wastewater discharge permits for facilities discharging into the waters of the state, and to enforce the provisions of such permits. Delegation of authority to issue wastewater discharge permits has also been granted to the DEC by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in accordance with Sections 402, 316(a) and 316(b) of the Clean Water Act (the Act).

The application for the wastewater discharge permit includes requests for approval of one discharge to the Hudson River and on-site storm water management basin discharges resulting from the proposed construction and operation of the facility. Three separate point sources are identified for this project which would be combined into one wastewater treatment system discharge for release to the Hudson River through Outfall 001. Wastewater from construction activities from the main plant area will be discharged to onsite drainage areas during both the construction and operation prior to initiation of plant operation. Storm water runoff from the intake/discharge vicinity would be treated by erosion and sediment control measures and then discharged to the Hudson River during the construction period.

The discharges covered under the draft permit are described as follows:

Outfall 001 will discharge to the Hudson River and would discharge up to 1.7 million gallons per day (mgd) of cooling tower blowdown and miscellaneous plant wastewater. The discharge would be through a submerged cooling water discharge facility located in the Hudson River near River Mile 115½ about 7,090 feet up-stream from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and 480 feet offshore from the west bank of the Hudson River.

Discharge 001A will be through Outfall 001 and consists of an average of 1.4 mgd of untreated cooling tower blowdown. The maximum discharge will be 1.6 mgd.

Discharge 001B is low volume wastewater consisting of reverse osmosis system wastewater and zeolite softener regeneration system wastewater. These waste flows would average 64,800 gallons per day (gpd) when the cooling system is operating at five cycles of concentration.

Discharge 001C is an oil/water separator effluent which averages 14,400 gpd.

Outfall 002 will discharge sanitary wastes which are treated by a septic system and then discharging approximately 7,000 gpd to an on-site leach field which percolates into the ground water.

Outfall 003 will discharge storm water from a storm water management basin (SWM Basin 1) to be used during both construction and operation and will discharge to a natural drainage area on the eastern portion of the site.

Outfall 004 will discharge storm water from a storm water management basin (SWM Basin 2) to be used during both construction and operation and will discharge to the drainage area on the western portion of the site. NOTE: Both SWM Basins 1 and 2 have been designed to withstand a 100-year, 24-hour storm event.

Project Location: The AGC Energy Facility will be located approximately 2 miles west of the Village of Athens, in a rural area of the Town of Athens, Greene County, New York, in an area zoned for light industrial use. It is located on approximately 250 acres situated between County Route 74 (Leeds-Athens Road) to the south, U.S. Route 9W to the west, County Route 28 (Schoharie Turnpike) to the north, and the Conrail railroad tracks to the east. An access road will be constructed from Route 9W.

NYS Public Service Law (PSL): This project requires a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to construct and operate, and is subject to review pursuant to Article X of the New York State Public Service Law (Siting of Major Electric Generating Facilities). It has been subject to the following notices, hearings and conferences:

A Notice of Pre-Hearing Conference, was issued on September 28, 1998, a Notice of Public Statement Hearings, was issued on October 22, 1998, a Notice of Change of Pre-Hearing Conference, was issued on October 28, 1998 and a Notice of Evidentiary Hearing, was issued on February 11, 1999. A Pre-Hearing Conference, was held on November 9, 1998, at the Athens Community Center and Public Statement Hearings were held on November 9, 1998, at the Athens American Legion Hall. Evidentiary hearings were held at the NYS Public Service Commission's Albany office, commencing on March 15, 1999 and ending on June 15, 1999.

Additional evidentiary hearings have been scheduled for January 26, 2000, to be held at the NYS Public Service Commission's Albany office at the Empire State Plaza, Albany, and will continue as necessary from day to day. These hearings will address some SPDES-related issues.

NYS Environmental Conservation Law: In addition to the specific regulations cited above, the subject SPDES application is being processed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) Article 3, Title 3 (General Functions), ECL Article 17 (Water Pollution Control) and 6 NYCRR Parts 621 (Uniform Procedures) and 624 (Permit Hearing Procedures).

SEQRA Status: The NYSDEC has determined that the proposal is a Type II action as specifically designated by 6 NYCRR 617.5(c)(35). A comprehensive environmental review, however, is conducted pursuant to PSL Article X.

Tentative DEC Staff Position: NYS DEC Staff have reviewed the application and determined it is complete pursuant to 6 NYCRR Part 621. Staff have determined that all statutory and regulatory criteria can be met through the imposition of special conditions. A draft SPDES permit and fact sheet are available for review.

Legislative Public Hearing: Legislative hearing sessions to receive unsworn statements from the public on the application and the draft permit will be held before Administrative Law Judge Daniel P. O'Connell, on February 28, 2000, beginning at 3:00 P.M. and 7: 00 P.M. at the Catskill High School on West Main St., Catskill, NY. All persons, organizations, corporations, or government agencies which may be affected by the proposed project are invited to attend the hearing and to submit oral or written comments. It is not necessary to file in advance to speak at the legislative hearing. Lengthy statements should be in writing and summarized for oral presentation. Reasonable time limits may be set for each speaker to afford everyone an opportunity to be heard. Equal weight will be given to both oral and written statements. The hearing location is fully accessible to persons with a mobility impairment. Interpreter services shall be made available to deaf persons at no charge upon written request to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at least 10 days prior to the hearing, pursuant to the State Administrative Procedures Act.

Written Comments: All comments must be filed with the NYSDEC Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, 50 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12233-1550, attn.: ALJ Daniel P. O'Connell. Parties to the Article X proceeding are requested to provide all other Article X parties with one copy of their written comments. Written comments must be filed with the ALJ not later than the next business day following the legislative public hearing.

All public comments on the SPDES application including the draft SPDES permit will be forwarded to the Commissioner for final determination. Accordingly, all public comments will be reviewed to determine whether they raise substantive and significant issues that warrant further review through adjudication. The Article X evidentiary hearing record is hereby incorporated by reference into this proceeding.

Issues Conference: A pre-adjudicatory hearing Issues Conference will be held at the Town of Catskill Building, 441 Main St., Catskill on February 29, 2000 at 11:00 A.M. At the Issues Conference, the ALJ will determine what issues, if any, require adjudication, and will define the scope of such issues. The Issues Conference may be canceled if no filings for party status are received by the deadline listed below. Participation at the Issues Conference will be limited to the DEC Department Staff, the Applicant and those persons requesting party status pursuant to 6 NYCRR §§624.4 and 624.5 in advance of the Issues Conference.

Filing for Party Status and Proposed Issues: To participate at the Issue Conference, parties must file a written petition requesting party status including the facts intended for presentation pursuant to 6 NYCRR §§624.4(c) and 624.5(b). In addition, any petition must fully identify the proposed party and the name(s) of the person(s) who will act as the party's representative(s), the party's environmental interests, the statutory considerations relevant to the project, whether the request is for full party status or amicus status, and the precise grounds for opposing or supporting the project. Mere opposition to the project is not a sufficient basis to be granted party status.

If seeking full party status, the petitioner must propose issues that could result in permit denial, major modification of the proposed project or the imposition of significant permit conditions. The petition must identify all statutory and regulatory requirements which may not be met, and explain why. If a party intends to rely upon expert testimony, the petition must also include an offer of proof that specifies the witness(es), the nature of the arguments and other documentary evidence that the party intends to present at the hearing, and the grounds upon which the assertions are based regarding the proposed issues.

For amicus status, the filing must identify the nature of the legal or policy issues to be briefed, and provide a statement explaining why the proposed amicus is in a special position with respect to those issues.

All petitions requesting either full party status or amicus status must be received at the DEC Office of Hearings and Mediation Services by 4:00 P.M. on February 25, 2000. Such filings must be submitted to the following: Administrative Law Judge Daniel P. O'Connell at the address provided above, Meghan Purvee, Senior Attorney, Office of General Counsel, NYSDEC 50 Wolf Road, Albany, New York 12233-1500, and Richard M. Cogen, Nixon Peabody, LLP, Omni Plaza, 30 South Pearl Street, Albany, New York 12207-2650. Any petitioner who is also a party to the PSL Article X hearing (PSC Case # 97-F-1563) must also serve one copy of their respective petition upon all parties identified on the Active Party List for that matter. Service by fax is NOT authorized.

Document Availability: All filed application materials, the SPDES draft permit and the SPDES fact sheet are available for public inspection at the following locations: 1) NYS DEC Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, 50 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12233-1550; and 2) NYS DEC Region 4 Headquarters, 1150 North Westcott Road, Schenectady, NY 12306. Contact Michael Higgins, Project Manager (518) 357-2069.

Daniel E. Louis
Chief Administrative Law Judge

January 19, 2000

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