The Knickerbocker Demonstration Project was issued a Waste Demonstration Permit in 1998. The demonstration project was initiated to study a wet-to-dry method of ash placement that had up until that point not been utilized.
The original system used a 10” transport line and gravity to hydraulically convey the slurry to the Knickerbocker test cells. As the cells filled up, however, gravity did not lend to enough velocity to keep the 10” line clear from pluggage. Centrifugal pumps were installed to aid in transport velocity, but as the discharge point got farther from the plant, plugging again became a problem. Pumping was more or less abandoned in 2007/2008.
In the fall of 2008 all of the original ash slurry system equipment was removed from under the ash silo to allow installation of a new ash transfer conveyor. The equipment was put in the bone yard.
In December of 2008 we resurrected the ash slurry system so we could resume pumping ash to the Knickerbocker Pit. We decided to use a 6” transport line along with salvaged slurry system components to rebuild the slurry system
In early January 2009 the new 6” transport system was commissioned.
As the system proved viable, automation was added including slurry tank level control, pump discharge pressure, etc. Prior to this the system was a “Flintstone’s” model! As time went on the system was able to transport approximately 40 to 50 tons per hour of ash to the Knickerbocker Pit with limited operator interface.
SER is now waiting for the PA DEP (Wilkes-Barre) to grant closure of the demonstration project and allow slurrying to the Knickerbocker Pit under the surface mining permit. This will lend to completion of filling in the Knickerbocker Pit and commencement of filling of the other proposed pits, including the Shen Penn pit, at sometime in the near future.
As soon as the green light is given by PA DEP to proceed with slurrying under the surface mining permit, SER plans on installing a fully automated, multi-pump, slurry system. The new system will be capable of transporting 100% of the plant ash generated, which is approximately 120 to 150 Tons per Hour. The new system will be designed such as to be able to transport ash to the farthest pit from the plant (South Jackson) or to the Shen Penn Pit without having to make major changes to the system.
Some of the benefits of the full scale slurry system will be: 1.Provide for a cost effective way to transport ash for beneficial use in filling in dangerous and unsightly strip mining pits. 2.Reduce taxpayer involvement in local abandoned mine reclamation projects. 3.Dramatically reduce emissions from diesel fueled equipment presently used with the current ash transport and placement scheme. Current overland conveyor system deposits ash approximately 6000’ to the west of the plant.
The new system may also eliminate a repeat of this! (D11R Dozer Sunk at base of ash placement area.. Required the excavator shown, along with another D11 and a D10 dozer to pull it out!)
For more information on the Knickerbocker Pit and other projects visit: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/minres/bmr/beneficial_use/Index.htm