The station is named after Roy Tolk, who was president and chairman of the board when Southwestern Public Service Company (one of the predecessor companies to Xcel Energy) decided to build coal-fueled plants. Coal for the plant is unloaded from rail cars by a rotary dumper, which rotates each rail car upside down to empty it of coal.
Air emissions are controlled at Tolk Station with the use of low-sulfur coal and baghouses. Baghouses act like giant vacuum cleaners, removing particulate emissions from the flue gas by more than 99 percent. The particulate or ash collected at Tolk is recycled as byproducts for construction, oil well “mud,” and other uses rather than sending it to a landfill. Tolk Station is a “zero discharge” plant, which means no process waters are discharged off-site.
Operating in an arid region, we have developed a unique solution to reduce water supplies at Tolk and nearby Plant X. A pipeline sends Plant X blowdown water (used water from plant operations) for recycling and more fresh water to Tolk Station for treatment. As a result, the combined plants’ water consumption was reduced by about 180 million gallons per year. The arrangement also erased the need for new sludge and disposal ponds and a waste water treatment system at the facility.
Tolk Station is a strong supporter of the local United Way. Employees from the plant are also involved with volunteer fire departments and EMS departments as well as Women in Science Endeavors (WISE), Rotary, 4-H, and Meals on Wheels.
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