Plant Jack McDonough
Plant Jack McDonough, a 315 acre site, is owned by Georgia Power, a unit of Southern Co., and is located on the north side of the Chattahoochee River on S. Cobb Drive in Smyrna. The 850 ft. tall smokestack can be seen for miles.
Plant Jack McDonough was built in the 1960’s to provide electricity to Atlanta. It is capable of producing about 4 billion kilowatt- hours of electricity annually. Plant Atkinson a 60 year old coal plant, was at the same site, but was demolished.
The Ga. Power site continuously takes water from the Chattahoochee to cool the steam from the coal burned. The river water, now containing coal ash, and 15 to 18 degrees warmer, is then returned to the river at Ash Pond Four Dam. Higher water temperatures hamper a river’s ability to dissolve oxygen and support life. This makes the river more susceptible to degradation. Cooler water dissolves more oxygen which makes for a more robust river. This is good news for our environment.
Ga. Power is to replace the coal fueled plant with a natural gas fueled generating unit, which will produce cleaner energy. Two new cooling towers, which are actually long rectangular structures, will require approximately 20 million gallons of water each day to flush the ash and to compensate for water that disappears in vapor plumes. About 10 million gallons will evaporate each day The total project should be done by 2012, and cost about $96 million.