Power plant's smokestack, boilers come down with a bang

JEA completes 3-part demolition at St. Johns River Power Park

By Jim Piggott - Reporter, Colette DuChanois - Web producer, Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The last three implosions of a power plant on the Northside brought down two boilers and a 640-foot smokestack right on schedule Friday morning.

The wrecking company used 600 charges and 600 pounds of dynamite in the choreographed imposition at 8 a.m.

WATCH IT AGAIN: 3 angles of Friday morning's implosion | Drone video of implosion |
GoPro video of implosion

Last summer, two cooling towers came down at the long-retired retired JEA/Florida Power and Light plant off New Berlin. Earlier this year, catalytic reactors on the outside of the boilers were imploded.

No roads were closed, but people who live nearby heard the detonation and noticed dust in the area. The Jacksonville Fire Department and Sheriff's Office were standing by just in case.

Friday's implosion was directed by the same company that managed the implosion of the cooling towers on June 8, 2018. That marked the beginning of the demolition of the power park and the end of an era in Jacksonville with the closing of what had been a 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.

The total bill for all three demolitions ran close to $14.5 million. 

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 smokestack had a shell weighing 14,325 tons and each chimney weighing 4,300 tons. 

While Friday's implosion wasn't as visually striking as when the cooling towers came down last summer in just seconds, it might have been just as big a bang. It was bigger and louder than the one in April.

INTERESTING FACTS: SJRPP boilers | SJRPP stack

Crews will now remove materials from the site in preparation for remediation, cleaning up the contaminated land. That could take another year.

The demolition company said nearly 100% of the debris will be recycled.

JEA said the decommissioning of the power park is currently scheduled to be completed 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.

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