|Performance Indicator||2012 Actual|
|Dielectric Fluid Released to Environment (gallons)||27,914|
|Opacity Occurrences not to exceed NYCDEP Standard||54|
|SF6 Emissions (lbs. of gas emitted)||17,292|
|NOX Emissions Compliance (%)||100|
|Wastewater Discharge (SPDES) Exceedances||4|
|Performance Indicator||2012 Actual|
|PCB Overhead Transformer Removals||61|
|EH&S Site Assessments||146|
|Environmental System Improvements||6|
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations require Con Edison of New York to report instantaneous or two-minute opacity (or smoke) events at facilities with boilers and other combustion equipment. We had 25 percent fewer opacity events in 2012 than 2011, with 54 events requiring DEP notification. All opacity events are investigated in detail to determine root causes and to develop corrective measures for reducing the likelihood of recurrence.
Con Edison of New York’s steam business accounts for virtually all nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide released by the company’s combustion of fuel. To minimize the quantity of NOX and SO2 resulting from company operations, we use efficient controls to regulate and monitor combustion equipment and low sulfur fuel oil. Operations are carried out according to rigorous procedural guidelines, and sensors constantly monitor flue gases so that personnel can adjust combustion to curb emissions.
Dielectric fluid is a non-conductive liquid used in steel pipes for insulating and cooling electrical transmission feeder cables. Con Edison of New York’s pipe-type cable system consists of about 630 miles of feeders and contains approximately nine million gallons of dielectric fluid.
In 2012, we exceeded our goal of releasing no more than 22,000 gallons of fluid into the environment. These oil spills necessitate quick and thorough cleanup to avoid spreading the oil into waterways, and can expose the company to increased liabilities. The majority of fluid leaks in 2012 resulted from corrosion of the steel pipe containing the transmission cables and dielectric fluid.
Con Edison of New York continues to make process and equipment improvements to a sophisticated monitoring system for detecting leaks in its fluid-equipped feeders more quickly. As new feeders are installed over time to meet increasing customer loading, the use of solid dielectric cables, where appropriate, will be a preferred means of reducing the potential for feeder leaks. Our research and development department continues to evaluate and pursue new methods to prevent leaks before they occur by potentially detecting corrosion of the steel feeder pipe. In addition, we continue to explore alternative and less expensive methods to predict, detect leaks, and locate the origin of the leak faster, therefore reducing the impact on the public and the environment.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issues permits, and the Department of Environmental Protection issues authorizations to facilities that discharge wastewater or storm water to the environment. These permits and authorizations apply to discharges of wastewater operating under an existing State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit or a DEP sewer system directive. The performance indicator reflects the number of times a facility operates outside of compliance with their SPDES permit and/or their sewer directive (analytical limits, schedule of compliance, violations) as defined by submission of a non-compliance report to the applicable governing authority. In 2012, we met out internal water quality goal of fewer than 14 wastewater exceedances.
During 2012, Con Edison of New York had 23 chemical releases that exceeded federally established reportable quantities. Of that total, 18 were releases of antifreeze exceeding 0.13 gallons. Three were releases of refrigerant in excess of 50 lbs, and the remaining two were benzene releases during annual testing at a compressor station. In 2012, Orange and Rockland had no chemical releases above reportable quantities.
The companies take steps to reduce the likelihood of chemical releases by using a comprehensive electronic database to record, track, and analyze trends in spills. Additionally, chemical releases are investigated to determine their source and cause, and identify safer handling procedures. The database information is also shared with operating organizations to support their efforts at reducing the potential for leak incidents to occur.
During 2012, Con Edison of New York shipped 3,800 tons of hazardous non-remediation waste to licensed commercial waste-handling facilities. This is a three percent increase from 2011 levels.