Lansing Board of Water & Light
|Headquarters||Lansing, Michigan, U.S.|
|Key people||J. Peter Lark, General Manager; Greg Nelson|
|Products||Electricity (510 megawatts), Water, Steam, Chilled Water|
The Lansing Board of Water and Light is a publicly owned, municipal utility that provides electricity and water to the residents of the cities of Lansing and East Lansing, Michigan, and the surrounding townships of Delta, Delhi, Meridian and DeWitt. The Lansing Board of Water and Light also provides steam and chilled water services within the City of Lansing.
The Lansing Board of Water and Light is a municipal utility, owned by the citizens of Lansing, Michigan. The utility's roots go back to 1885, when Lansing citizens approved a $100,000 bond issue to build a water system to provide for drinking water and fire protection. Electricity was added to its list of utility services in 1892, and steam heat in 1919.
The Lansing Board of Water and light has an electric generating capacity of 510 megawatts. The LBWL's transmission line voltage is 138,000 volts. The LBWL's distribution voltages are 13,200 volts, 8,320 volts and 4,160 volts.
The Lansing Board of Water and Light pumps an average of approximately 23 Million Gallons per Day (MGD) from two conditioning plants through approximately 775 miles (1,247 km) of water main. Maximum daily demand is on the order of 33 MGD, while the maximum hourly demand rate can be on the order of 42 MGD. Raw water is obtained exclusively by pumping from 124 wells located throughout the Lansing area. All system pressure is generated via pumping; the Lansing Board of Water and Light does not maintain any elevated water storage tanks.
The Lansing Board of Water and Light obtains all raw water from a series of 124 wells located throughout the city of Lansing, making it one of the few public utilities for large cities that provides water exclusively from wells. The city sits atop, and draws its water from, the Saginaw Aquifer, a natural, but limited, underground reservoir 4 cubic miles (17 km3), and 550 square miles (1,400 km2) in size. The raw water is pumped directly to two conditioning plants: the John Dye plant located in downtown Lansing and the Wise Road plant located on the southwest side of the city. At these plants, water hardness is reduced by adding lime and soda ash to the water, which reacts with dissolved calcium and magnesium to form calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide floc. The floc then settles out of the water in large settling basins, and any residual floc is removed via sand and gravel filtering. This process reduces the hardness of the water from approximately 411 parts per million (ppm) to about 85 ppm. The finished water is then chlorinated and fluorinated, and sent to storage prior to distribution.
At the John Dye conditioning plant, two pumping stations located on the north and south sides of the plant draw finished water from three ground level storage facilities and pump to the distribution system. The Dye pump station, located on the south side of the conditioning plant, pumps water to the north towards Dewitt Township, Bath Township, and Watertown Township, to the west to Delta Township, and to the local distribution system. The Cedar Street pump station provides supplemental pumping capacity during periods of high demand. The Wise Road conditioning plants similarly pumps water directly into the distribution system, and generally feeds portions of Windsor Township, Delhi Township, and Alaiedon Township. Using a series of normally closed valves and booster stations, a pressure boundary exists roughly along I-96.
The Lansing Board of Water and Light retail customers consist of residential, commercial and industrial customers within the service areas, totaling approximately 56,000 customers. Approximately 48,000 of these customers are residential, 7,000 commercial, while the remaining customers consist of industrial customers. In addition, the Lansing Board of Water and Light sells water on a wholesale basis to the local distribution systems in Delta Township and Meridian Township.
LBWL's largest power plant is the Otto E. Eckert Station, and was named after the utility's general manager from 1927 to 1966. The coal-fired generating station is located in downtown Lansing on the Grand River, adjacent to General Motors' Grand River Assembly Plant and the now-demolished Lansing Car Assembly Plant. Begun in 1922 and completed the following year, the power station has undergone numerous expansions and additions since, with the addition of the three chimneys in 1981. The station has a generating capacity of 351 megawatts, produced by burning coal from Wyoming's Powder River Basin. This plant has three 615-foot (187 m) smokestacks, the tallest self-supporting structures in south central Michigan. These stacks are visible from fifteen miles (24 km) on a clear day. The stacks are known locally by the names of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, after the fishermen in a poem of the same name by Eugene Field. It was announced in May 2008 that the plant is scheduled for a phased decommissioning that is scheduled to begin in 2017 and end in 2025.
The LBWL's secondary generating plant is the Claud R. Erickson Station, named after general manager of the utility from 1966 to 1972. The plant located in Delta Township on Canal Road just south of Mt. Hope Road. This plant, built in 1973, is coal-fired and has a single generating unit with a capacity of 159 megawatts and is connected to the power grid by three 138,000 volt lines.
The utility's power plant inventory once included the 25 megawatt Ottawa Street Station on the Grand River in downtown Lansing. This steam and electrical plant operated from its completion in 1940 until 1992, when it was decommissioned as a power station, with steam and electrical production transferred to the Eckert Station. The station was put back into partial usage as a water chiller plant for the utility in 2001 to cool downtown buildings. In late 2007, LBWL sold the mostly vacant station to Accident Fund Insurance Company, which was renovated into their headquarters. At the end of December of that year, in preparation for the renovation, the iconic smokestack portion of the building was taken down.
In July 2010, the Board of Water & Light announced plans to construct a $182 million natural gas-powered electric and steam generation plant along Washington Avenue in Lansing's REO Town district with a capacity of 100 megawatts. The eight-story, 160,000 sq ft (15,000 m2) facility is expected to create 180 jobs upon its opening in January 2013. Construction of the new power station began in May 2011. The cogeneration power plant became operational on July 1, 2013.
During periods of high demand, the Lansing Board of Water and Light purchases electricity from METC. The LBWL has two 138KV interconnections (Davis-Oneida line and the Davis-Enterprise line) with Consumers Energy/METC from its substation on Jolly Road just east of Pennsylvania Ave on Lansing's south side.
- McKenna, Brian. E-M:/ Study: The Saginaw Aquifer under Ingham County estimated to be 4 cubic miles! That is four times larger than Lake St. Clair (1 cubic mile)!, EnviroMich Listserv, www.greatlakes.net, Feb 18, 2001, retrieved 2012-Nov-4
- Domsic, Melissa. BWL plans $182M power plant in Lansing's REO Town, Lansing State Journal, lsj.com, July 16, 2010, retrieved 2010-Aug-03
- Domsic, Melissa. 'Classy' power plant in REO Town is under way, Lansing State Journal, lsj.com, May 26, 2011, Retrieved May 30, 2011
- Howell, Brandon. Lansing Board of Water & Light's new $182 million REO Town cogeneration plant goes online, MLive.com, July 1, 2013, Retrieved July 7, 2013