Coal Pile Runoff and Air Quality

Electrical, Power & Energy | Wisconsin | Back


The We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant is the most efficient coal-powered plant in the Midwest and is required to be operating virtually non-stop. However, during recent harsh winters, coal supplies became unreliable, and the plant nearly ran out of fuel.

Since this type of disruption of service would be unacceptable to We Energies, the company decided to construct a new larger coal pile area for increased fuel reserves. A larger coal pile area required new systems to ensure it did not impact surrounding natural resources.


Kapur provided site design, power design, pump station design, pond design, and construction management for this substantial expansion. The design included a water pumping station to provide water to the dust suppression equipment, eight large spray nozzles to water down the coal pile, and six Dust Boss fogging systems to capture airborne coal dust.

The power originates from a nearby 4160 VAC substation and is converted via an outdoor transformer to 480 VAC. This is fed to a state-of-the-art motor control center with arc flash protection for personnel safety.

The control system is mated to the plant’s control systems using fiber optic cable, and variable frequency drives to control the pumps.

The control system also includes a weather station to measure wind speed and direction and alerts operators to possible high dust situations. Algorithms or operators can reorient the spray nozzles and Dust Boss systems to maximize the dust suppression efforts.

Services Provided

  • Field survey
  • Electrical engineering
  • Pump station design
  • Process piping
  • Construction inspection

Industries Covered

  • Power & Energy
  • Electrical


The power plant can now store more coal than ever, ensuring the plant operates at full efficiency without worry of air or dust contamination from coal piles.