Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No smoking!

UMass/Amherst new $130 million Power Plant 9:00 AM, 34 degrees
Side view. Yeah, I think it is supposed to be doing that. Security? What security.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's called steam. The plant generates steam. Duh.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I know that. Duh. I was looking for a catchy title (obviously I found one.) And it seems to produce that much steam rather intermittently.

And I should add the plant is known as the 'Central Heating Plant' although I’m told it is also or will be capable of production about 80% of the electricity required to run the campus. Hence the term cogeneration plant.

And of course it also saves 200,000 gallons of fresh water per day because the town now gives them effluent water for free, when two years ago they paid us $37,000 for what they used that year (at the discount rate of 50 cents per 1,500 gallons, while normal potable water rates are 7 times that.)

Ed said...

Actually, it is ammonia. Seriously.

As I understand it, to remove something bad from the stack gasses, they pump in ammonia - and I am not making this up. (Maybe the NH3 strips off the oxygen from nitrogen compounds, forming water and pure nitrogen instead of bad things.)

And while the sewerage plant may be in Amherst (and may not be, the land was deeded over by the UM BOT), the Hadley line is real close, going through the Mullins Center. (I am not sure which town the new plant technically is in).

Now the outflow of the sewerage plant is going through Hadley to the Connecticut river. Initially over/under land that UM owns, IN HADLEY. So Amherst has abandoned this water and it is outside of the town on land owned by the university -- what authority does Amherst have to charge for this?

This would be like Amherst trying to charge for methane generation at the Northampton dump because that is where Amherst dumped its trash. No, the methane belongs to Northampton....

Oh, and as to security, it is there. They just apparently use better judgment than the ARSD and don't bother people like you. Besides, you apparently didn't get close enough to encounter their most ingenious security device that separates real threats from just drunken kids wandering around.

LarryK4 said...

The town treats the water and creates the effluent at the Water Treatment Plant, located in Amherst.

Umass once paid for the effluent thus--like Amherst College paying twice market value for a downtown building--establishing a market with a fair market price.

And the main value is the effluent replaces regular water. The year they paid us $40-k it would have been $250-K to use potable water, which they occasionally have to do when the, err, sludge is a tad too thick.

Coalmines used to give away that sludge-like byproduct that later became Vaseline.

And I believe that new snow/ice treatment gunk the town now uses on our roads was also a by-product that was once thrown away (into rivers and lakes where somebody noticed they no longer froze over in the winter.)

And I'm glad--at $130 million and counting--they have security.

But I certainly got close enough to do some real damage with the RPG I keep under my bed.

Ed said...

The town treats the water and creates the effluent at the Water Treatment Plant, located in Amherst.

As they are required to do by FEDERAL law before they can dump it overboard. Or they could have this really big tank of indefinite capacity that all the sewerage could be pumped into, indefinitely....

The days of toilet paper (and worse) floating down the Connecticut River are over, and you can't blame UMass for that, I think this is a good thing but you want to blame the Federal Govt for this...

Umass once paid for the effluent
and people like me were raising questions about it at the time. With increasingly visible effect...

And the main value is the effluent replaces regular water.

For which the university is billed TWICE what everyone else in town is billed. Even though it (a) costs more to deliver a gallon of water to other parts of town and (b) the town has no water towers, relying on the UMass ones to maintain pressure and (c) no one can really tell me what happens when the UM water towers empty out to maintain pressure elsewhere in town (as is the purpose of a standpipe). Water meters can't run backward so UMass gets to buy the water twice - the first time to keep the tank full and the second time to replace that which went back to keep pressure up in town.

Let's take it one step further -- if UMass treated the town with the indifference it treats the students, it could simply bypass the town and pipe directly from Quabbin. Gravity fed so no need for pumping stations, and unlike the Amherst water, no need for treatment.

Property owners may wish to remember the way that the state built the Quabbin and the Turnpike -- we are taking your property, it is worth $1, sue us if you think it is worth more.

Coalmines used to give away that sludge-like byproduct that later became Vaseline.

And coal mines could continue to store it on site in their slag piles if they wanted to. However, Amherst is in a different situation - they have millions of gallons of water that they have to dump *somewhere* because it physically isn't possible for it to be stored, indefinitely, within the town. Seriously, with no water table and no drainage because of the unique geography, is there anything that Amherst could do with its sewerage effluent other than have it flow out of its jurisdiction and downhill to the Connecticut River?

And I believe that new snow/ice treatment gunk the town now uses on our roads was also a by-product that was once thrown away

Don't get me going about this stuff. It corrodes the living daylights out of your brake lines, fuel lines and oil pan. It has screwed up the railroad signals in the Boston area (railroad crossing roads) and the two hour Amtrak trip from Portland to Boston often takes 4-5 hours because all the track signals are corroded to hell and not working right.

This stuff is BAD NEWS!!!

And I'm glad--at $130 million and counting--they have security.
Don't get me going about UMass' ability to waste money. Worse because it is MY money...

But I certainly got close enough to do some real damage with the RPG I keep under my bed.

There are far softer targets on this campus. Several of which I have identified to the authorities, one of which was actually addressed....

LarryK4 said...

Come to think of it, I did get pretty close to Chancellor Holub's nifty old tax-exempt house on campus when I did that photo shoot upload about his two kids in the Amherst public schools (at $14-k each)

Ed said...

Larry, the principle here at UMass - which people like me try to defend - is that this is a public university and law abiding citizens have the right to be here and go places here.

You go up to the Chancellor's house with a crowbar and start prying the downspouts off so you can steal the copper, hopefully someone would say something. But you want to take a picture of what is a historic building, well why not?