South Bay power plant demolition anticipated to begin late 2012 in Chula Vista, California

The California Coastal Commission last week unanimously approved a Coastal Development Permit for the demolition of the South Bay Power Plant, located at 990 Bay Boulevard in Chula Vista. The issuance of the Coastal Development Permit is a precursor to the City of Chula Vista issuing a demolition permit.

The Coastal Commission approved a motion to demolish the plant and its above-ground structures at its June 14 meeting, held in Huntington Beach, California. Commissioners included special conditions of approval, to reduce potential impacts to nearby sensitive habitats and coastal waters.

The Commissioners agreed that with these conditions, the project would conform to applicable Coastal Act policies and would adequately mitigate for the proposed impacts.

“Over the past decade, there has been great work happening to support the vision of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan and the Commissioners’ unanimous decision today helps us move closer to creating a world-class resort and residential destination on our portion of San Diego Bay,” said Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox. “With the power plant gone, public access to the waterfront will eventually improve and environmental resources will be preserved around future development.”

The proposed project will remove the South Bay Power Plant’s above-ground power block, which consists of two large structures that contain the plant’s boiler and turbine generator. Dynegy South Bay, LLC, would first remove any remaining hazardous materials and the remaining equipment. Remaining equipment includes piping, lights, controls, duct work and tanks. Dynegy South Bay, LLC, has already completed asbestos removal pursuant to Air Pollution Control District requirements.

It is expected that the boiler structure would be demolished using implosion, due to its heavy steel framework. This would be conducted in phases, to reduce the area of disturbance. The project also includes removing warehouses, storage buildings, tanks and ancillary equipment.

The project is expected to generate about 21,000 tons of recyclable metals, including iron, steel, aluminum and copper. It may also generate up to 3,400 tons of other non-hazardous waste, such as wood or plastic, which will be recycled and salvaged when feasible.

Special conditions for approval of the permit require that the project be subject to other regulatory permits and approvals that will address air quality, waste management, noise and other issues and that Dynegy South Bay, LLC, the power plant’s former operator, provide copies of those permits prior to issuance of the Coastal Development Permit. Additionally, the proposed implosion of the plant’s power block must occur outside of sea bird nesting season and require noise monitoring during project activities. Commissioners also specified that project-related lighting be directed downward and away from offsite areas.