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Jax Daily Record Friday, Mar. 9, 201806:40 AM EST

Cooling towers to start falling

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JEA seeks permit to begin demolition of Power Park structures with implosion likely in July.
by: David Cawton Staff Writer

Work to decommission the St. Johns River Power Park in North Jacksonville could begin soon now that JEA has filed plans with the city to begin demolition work.  

The utility applied for a permit that shows a $14.5 million construction job for the demolition of two 464-foot-tall cooling towers at the power park at 11201 New Berlin Road. 

JEA and Florida Power & Light co-own the plant that ceased operations in January after receiving shutdown approval in September from the Florida Public Service Commission.

Utility spokeswoman Gerri Boyce said taking down the cooling towers is the first phase of the estimated $68 million plan to decommission and remediate the site. 

The St. Johns River Power Park was built in the early 1980s and cost $1.45 billion, according to JEA.

After receiving 15 submissions Oct. 4 from contractors outlining their qualifications, the utility narrowed the field to seven companies, which then submitted all-inclusive bids with pricing and the scope of work. 

On Nov. 16, New York-based Total Wrecking & Environmental Inc. was awarded the job with a bid of $17,737,420. 

Boyce said the contractor will start removing the packing from inside the cooling towers and disposing of it. She said the towers are scheduled to come down with explosive charges sometime in July.

According to the Sept. 25 Request for Proposals, the job includes demolishing equipment and structures at the power park, removing regulated materials, remediating contaminated soil and restoring the site to an industrial standard.

Total Wrecking & Environmental will begin with work on the cooling towers and then address the solid waste areas, according to Boyce. 

The 1.43 million-square-foot park comprises 46 single- and multistory buildings, along with the two cooling towers and a 640-foot concrete stack. 

Boyce said after the structures are demolished, the site will be remediated from the end of December 2019 through April 2020. 

JEA owns 80 percent of the park, while FP&L has the remaining 20 percent interest in the 1,600-acre site. 

The park was in operation from the 1980s through January, with the first of two turbine generators coming online in March 1987. 

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