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Project Experience: Air Quality Draft ISR for Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric, Alaska

The Challenge
Working in collaboration with the prime consultant and the Alaska Energy Authority, HMMH is providing air quality support services on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing process for a proposed 600 MW hydroelectric project in the Susitna River in south central Alaska. In this role, HMMH prepared the air quality section of the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project Initial Study Report (ISR) as part of the initial submittal to FERC this past June.

The Solution
The primary goal and objective of the air quality study portion of the ISR is to ensure that the proposed project does not violate National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and state air quality standards.  The ISR will assess the existing conditions of the study area based on the Environmental Protection Agency attainment designation of the area as well as summarize nearby air quality measurement data including meteorological and climate data collected by the Alaska Department of Environmental ConservationNational Park Service and the National Weather Service

Construction and operational emissions were summarized including identifying best management practices (BMP) to minimize emissions during construction activities and fossil fuel generation emissions were estimated and summarized to determine baseline emissions from the nearby Railbelt electrical generating facilities.  HMMH continues to review other study areas and information developed by the engineering team for use in the Final ISR, expected to be released in 2015.

Map for the air quality study in the Susitna River in south central Alaska.