Illinois EPA approves water permit for hydropower facility

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency said Jan. 29 that it has made a final decision to issue a 401 Water Quality Certification to Northern Illinois Hydropower LLC for a revamped facility on the Des Plaines River.

The company had applied for Section 401 Water Quality Certification for impacts associated with the construction of a new powerhouse at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam at Des Plaines River mile 286 in Will County, Illinois. The applicant is proposing to install four turbine/generator units in the power station. The design will comply with requirements set forth by Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and Illinois EPA for a two-inch trash rack spacing, an approach velocity of 1.5 feet per second, and a range of flows that are in excess of the first 1,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) available in the Des Plaines River.

The project will be operated as a “run of the river” facility and pose no effect to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ operation of the lock and dam. The powerhouse will be controlled with an automated system that would automatically start-up, run, and shut down the turbines. The automated system would allow the Corps to modify hydroelectric operations instantaneously in response to emergencies related to lock operation or flood control. All materials will be removed from the floodway at the end of the project.

The proposed new powerhouse would contain four generating units with total installed capacity of 7.8 MW with new intake and forebay structures, configuring headrace channel, new tailrace, new transmission lines and appurtenant facilities.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.