Tests Prove Air Quality Safe After Power Plant Explosion
A spokesperson for USPowergen last week told the Gazette that extensive air testing has been completed at the Astoria power plant rocked by a July 27 boiler explosion.
All tests indicate the explosion did not release any contaminants into the environment, an attorney representing USPowergen said.
The explosion cracked windows and rattled the 11-story power plant at 20th Avenue and Shore Boulevard in Astoria on July 27, sending smoke billowing over the East River. A tube rupture in one of the plant’s reheat boilers caused the explosion, USPowergen senior vice president John Reese, said in a prepared statement.
USPowergen, Con Edison and NRG Energy each operate facilities at the Astoria complex, according to USPowergen. The unit involved in the explosion underwent asbestos abatement in 1990, but the company conducted extensive testing after the blast to ensure that no contaminants were released into the surrounding atmosphere. Tests also indicated that no natural gas was released into the atmosphere during the explosion, USPowergen said.
Engineers are presently assessing what structural damage may have been caused to the building by the blast.The power plant, dubbed the Astoria Generating Station, supplies Queens and a portion of The Bronx with electricity, Reese said.
Reese said the plant has applied for re-powering to achieve operational and fuel efficiencies that “would improve generating capacity and environmental performance”.
FDNY officials revised their original statement, saying no plant workers had to be decontaminated as a result of the blast.
Fire officials said some firefighters at the scene were decontaminated, in line with FDNY procedure for this type of explosion.
One plant worker was taken to a nearby hospital with symptoms of heat dehydration, fire officials said.