Northside power park's boilers, stack to be imploded July 19

JEA to finish demolition at St. Johns River Power Park next week

By Jim Piggott - Reporter, Colette DuChanois - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The next big implosion in Jacksonville, which is almost becoming routine, is set for next week.

That's when JEA will finish the demolition at St. Johns River Power Park on the city's Northside, marking the next step in permanently decommissioning the power park. 

The implosion of the two boilers and stack -- the three large structures on the site of the retired power plant off New Berlin Road -- is scheduled for 8 a.m. July 19. 

No roads are scheduled to close, but people who live nearby and those driving in the area may hear loud noises and notice dust in the area. There will be no public viewing area.

The implosion will be directed by the same company that managed the implosion of the power park's two cooling towers on June 8, 2018. That marked the beginning of the demolition of the power park and an end of an era in Jacksonville by the closing of the joint JEA-Florida Power & Light facility.

Then, on April 12, the selective catalytic reactors on the outside of the boilers were imploded at the power park. That had to be done with precision as the explosion actually cut the steel that was holding the reactors.

What was left were two boilers enclosed in what looks like a building and the stack, which actually contains two chimneys.

The overall boiler structures, which were put into service in 1987, are 240 feet high and each boiler, including its support steel, weighs 11,500 tons. The stack is 640 feet high, with its shell weighing 14,325 tons and each chimney weighing 4,300 tons. 

INTERESTING FACTS: SJRPP boilers | SJRPP stack
IMAGES OF UNITS BEING IMPLODED: Boiler set for demolition | Stack and boiler set for demolition with turbine areas remaining | Stack and boiler set for demolition with deaerators and turbines remaining

While next week's implosion won't be as visual as when the cooling towers came down last summer in just seconds, it might have just as big of a bang. It will be bigger and louder than the one in April.

It's unclear whether the boilers and stack will be imploded at the same time, as the contractor has yet to announce the order in which the implosions will take place, according to JEA. But the implosion will be using a lot of explosives -- 600 charges and 600 pounds of dynamite. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department will be standing by just in case.

The future of the site has yet to be determined. Once the last demolition takes place, crews will remove materials from the site in preparation for remediation, cleaning up the contaminated land. That could take another year. JEA said the decommissioning of the power park is currently scheduled to be complete at the end of June 2020. The plan is to then possibly sell the land for redevelopment, but as of yet, there is no word if or when that could happen.  

Community members with questions or concerns about the upcoming implosion are asked to call the JEA Project Outreach team at 904-665-7500 or email projectoutreach@jea.com.

New4Jax will have live coverage of the implosion on The Morning Show on July 19 and on News4Jax.com.

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